An anthology of stories exploring the secret history of the world’s most iconic monster
That the cruel, ambitious monster of Bram Stoker’s most famous novel was once Vlad III Dracula, Voivode of Wallachia – the Impaler, to his enemies – is known. A warleader in a warlike time: brilliant, charismatic, pious, ferociously devoted to his country. But what came of him? What drove him to become a creature of darkness – an Un-Dead – and what use did he make of this power, through the centuries before his downfall?
Decades after the monster’s death, Jonathan and Mina Harker’s son Quincey pieces together the story: dusty old manuscripts, court reports from the Holy Roman Empire at its height, oral traditions among the Szgany Roma people who once served the monster.
Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my all time favourite books and I love reading different versions of the stories around Vlad the Impaler. This book is an anthology of stories about the famous Vlad Dracula, written by five different science fiction/fantasy writers. I enjoyed this so much as each story was from a different time period, giving a different perspective and a different side to the infamous vampire.
Surrounding the stories are a series of emails between Dani, the person trying to piece together the story and Quincey Harker, son of Jonathan and Mina from the original story. I thought this was an excellent touch and really brought the five stories together. While there’s only five stories in the book, I read through them pretty slowly, taking my time to really enjoy the different ideas.
I’m not going to go into each story but many of them are told as though from letters and extracts from diaries. I really enjoyed this way of telling the stories, making it seem like Quincey and Dani have uncovered secrets from history. The stories differ in topic and theme, dealing with war, families, friendships and even a bit of romance. The stories were all well written and paced excellently, making this a really fantastic read.
I enjoyed each of the stories in their own right, but there were two in particular that really stuck out for me. First Nobelesse Oblige, which was the story of Dracula’s encounters with the infamous Countess Erzsébet Bathory. I thought she was a fascinating character, strong and determined to fight against Dracula. I also really enjoyed Children of the Night which is written as a long letter recounting the events that leads to Dracula falling in love with a mysterious young woman who is not all that she seems.
If you’re a fan of Dracula this is a must read. If you love anthologies and short stories with a bit of twist, you’ll absolutely love this.