Dracul, by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker

Dracul, Putnamby Dacre Stoker and JD Barker book coverGenre: Horror
Publisher: Putnam
Published: 2018
Reviewer Rating: four and a half stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

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Dacre Stoker is a real-life descendant of Bram Stoker, the great-grandnephew of the author who penned Dracula, the book the introduced us to Count Dracula, arguable one of the most famous horror icons in modern culture.

Because of Dacre Stoker’s involvement, Dracul is billed as the first authorized-by-the-Stoker-estate prequel to Dracula. Back in 2009, Dacre also penned a sequel to Dracula titled Dracula: The Un-Dead that generated lukewarm reviews. Dracul, however, even in pre-release, has generated considerable buzz. Already the film rights have been purchased by Paramount.

Dacre claims there are more than 100 pages missing from the original draft of Dracula, pages that have never been located. To reconstruct them (and more), he and Barker did extensive research using the the original and unedited draft, as well as Bram Stoker’s notes and journals.

The twist here is that the authors write Dracul from the assumption that the vampires Bram created later in Dracula were actually real. There are also some author comments that lead us to believe that the original Dracula manuscript was delivered to the publisher as non-fiction, and that Bram Stoker believe in the creatures he wrote about.

Dracul chronicles the story and events of Bram’s early life, those that ultimately led him to author Dracula. Dracul introduces us to a young Bram Stoker (pre-Dracula) as he battles one of the now-famous vampire creatures he would later write about. Trapped in a tower room, besieged by evil, and anticipating his own death, Bram desperately scribbles down the events that led him there, including his sickly childhood and the mysterious nanny who kept him alive and ultimately restored his heath.

The narrative goes back and forth between Bram’s attempt to survive and his journal entries, giving both an enjoyable immediacy and tension. Although arguable a period piece, the prose is modern, energetic, and easy to read. Dracul reveals not only Dracula’s “true” origin, but Bram Stoker’s as well. More than just a Dracula novel, it’s a great addition to the entire vampire genre.

If horror is your thing, and vampires specifically, you’re sure to enjoy this one.

Dracul is due to be release in October 2018.

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