Eerie and authentic, DRACUL is a full blooded prequel to Bram Stoker’s celebrated vampire novel, Dracula, impaled with impeccable heritage by being co-written by Dacre Stoker, the great grand nephew of Bram, manager of the Stoker Estate, and internationally recognised authority on his celebrated ancestor’s extraordinary legacy.
The stakes are always high in trying to emulate and capture the style and ambience of the original classic and Dacre and his co-author, J.D. Barker have suck-ceeded admirably.
Grabbing the reader by the throat from its first page, DRACUL is drenched in dread from go through and to woe with a brilliant evocation of Victorian Gothic that throbs like a carotid artery with verisimilitude, vigour and verve.
DRACUL traverses two time zones a third person Now featuring an adult Bram Stoker and a first person Journal kept by a child Bram.
The Journal of Bram Stoker focuses on his nanny, Ellen Crone, a mysterious woman with peculiar powers, cryptic chronology and a penchant for sleeping in a bed of soil.
“The peculiarities of Ellen Crone. That is, of course, where I should start, for this is as much her story as it is mine, perhaps more so. This woman, this monster, this wraith, this friend, this…being. Her hand always reaching out, even as the prick of her nails drew blood”
Dare one say that this journal is as, if not more, chilling and blood curdling as Jonathan Harker’s journal, or any of the other diaries and letters that was the spine of Dracula.
Stoker and Barker’s narrative gallops from gruesome and grizzly, the uncanny and unsettling in a sequence of unease that is compelling in a page turning whirl closer akin to page tearing.
The chill of the chase is their acumen, the thrill of the unnerving, an exhilarating exhumation of deep seated fear and an exploration of the margins of private experience and popular tradition at the frontier of the natural and the supernatural.
DRACUL is seriously creepy and enthralling, made all the more compelling with the references to Makt Myrkranna splattered throughout the narrative. Makt Myrkrann is an Iclandic version of Dracula, only recently translated. In it, Dracula had a love interest, a woman his equal in many ways, a woman he knew as Countess Dolingen von Gratz, whom Bram believed to be Ellen.
When Dracula was first published in 1897, the first 101 pages had been cut, numerous alterations made and the epilogue shortened.
The authors of DRACUL have picked up Bram’s breadcrumbs and followed them on a bewitching journey, a trail that has resulted in a sublimely spooky origin tale.
DRACUL by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker is published by Bantam Press.