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It is believed that the strongest of them can assume any form, be it bat, wolf, swirling mist, even human They can appear young, old, or any age between Some can manipulate the elements, producing fog, storms, crashing thunder Their motives remain unknown, but one thing is clear they leave a trail of death in their wake, thinking noof a human life than we would the life of a fly Dacre Stoker knows a thing or two about vampires, Dracula in particular, given that his great grand It is believed that the strongest of them can assume any form, be it bat, wolf, swirling mist, even human They can appear young, old, or any age between Some can manipulate the elements, producing fog, storms, crashing thunder Their motives remain unknown, but one thing is clear they leave a trail of death in their wake, thinking noof a human life than we would the life of a fly Dacre Stoker knows a thing or two about vampires, Dracula in particular, given that his great grand uncle was none other than Bram Stoker Dacre has had non literary careers of his own, but for a while now has picked up the family business and been writing, not only about his illustrious ancestor, but with some assistance from writing partners fiction relating to you know who He wrote a sequel to Dracula a few years back, incorporating Bram as a character This time he has written a prequel Bram image from GotIreland.comWe spend time with Bram Stoker at age seven, a sickly child since birth as was the real Bram , but with a particularly interesting nanny, one Ellen Crone the actual name of the Stoker nanny She does not eat with the family, preferring to dine alone But she is very caring toward the Stoker children, most particularly Bram The family summons a medical relation when Bram seems to be getting worse But the application of leeches is not what Bram needs Ellen has a better idea, and takes care of him Soon after, he begins a true recovery, bounding from sickly child to a very active one Shame about that scabby itch on his arm though Young Bram and his sister, Matilda, sink their teeth into this mystery and engage in a bit of field research.Dacre Stoker and friends Image from ValeOfGlamorgan.comPart of the fun of this book is seeing the usually pretty clear lines between the real Bram s novel and Dacre s prequel Where did the notion of Dracula originate How about Van Helsing Damsels in distress or were they maybe enjoying themselves a bit too much for Victorian s Dacre has a lot of original material from which to draw, Bram s, at least what has not been lost to the sands of time or maybe preserved in a coffin somewhere for safe keeping Dacre has also written non fiction books about his esteemed ancestor, and had a bit of a road show, Stoker on Stoker, in which he lectured about Bram and his book.Another fun element, for me anyway, was the opportunity looking into this book offered to dig up some dirt on the real Bram The one piece of intel that I found most amazing was that when Bram first submitted his manuscript, it was as a work of non fiction Because of tender sensibilities at the time about a relatively recent bout of wide scale mortality, it was thought better to present it as fiction In doing that, the first 101 pages of Bram s manuscript vanished like a sated bloodsucker on a foggy night I have put some fun materials in EXTRA STUFF if you are irresistibly drawn to diving down those rabbit holes.The 1922 German Nosferatu image from Smithsonian MagazineSo, the story of Dracul, sick boy and sis try to find out what the real deal is with the beloved, if decidedly odd, nanny Fortune may have blown her into the Stoker family s life, but no, she did not arrive on the East Wind There are times when she looks quite young Others when she seems rather aged Dacre brings in an old Irish Stoker was born and raised in Ireland legend, about a failed love that turns gruesome The tale of the Dearg Due is used to wonderful, and meaningful effect There are two timelines We open with adult Bram in a castle like place trying to keep a monster of certain sort locked in a room Problem is that the various substances he is using to keep the thing from escaping are running out, and there is a real question of whether the aid he is expecting will arrive in time This contemporary 1868 piece includes the tale of Bram, his family, and others, including a pre Van Helsing trying to track down people, follow clues, and do justice against dark foes The other line is Bram and his sister, Matilda, as young sibs, with scant understanding of what they have seen, attempting to figure it out Both lines were fun, although I am not sure there would be many children of the ages portrayed who would be quite so resourceful, even in the mid 19th century Feel free to suspend your disbelief and let it hang by its toes from the ceiling, as it stares at you with red, hungry eyes Bela Lugosi defined Dracula for a generation Image from Smithsonian MagazineIn keeping with great grand uncle s form, Dacre tells the story through several sources The Journal of Bram Stoker, Letters from Matilda to Ellen Crone, and The Diary of Thornley Stoker are the primary views There is also The Notes of Arminius Vamb ry, a patient case record, and a few sections that are pure omniscient narrator All of it made me bare my teeth, in a good way Dacre adds some nice interpretations of the rules of vampirism, what works, what doesn t, what their limitations might be They can change into what And eye color shifting, some telepathy, an interesting item on the separated parts of the undead There are plenty of classic vampire tropes, and for the big guy himself, a reminder of his Carpathian rep for how he disposed of his enemies Dacre tosses in a few refs to relevant lit of the era, a bit of E.A.Poe, The Woman in White, one or twoThe book closes with a lovely reference, a name that will be familiar There were also some pretty nifty plot twists, that worked well Gripes Well, I mentioned the age vs competence thing No big whoop, really I confess to occasionally getting an image in my tiny mind of Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, and a certain pooch, when the adult crew was deciding on a dime to dash to this or that place to pursue the latest clue I am not saying that I minded this In fact, it contributed to the fun aspect of the book But some might not enjoy what seems a bit of lightness in what is supposed to be a horror story A horror story is supposed to be scary, right Measured in hours of sleep lost, perhaps, or alarming dreams that jolt one awake But no, not for me Take that with a grain of garlic salt, though I tend to be a fair bit less sensitive to horror than many readers So it is entirely possible that this is a fairly scary book and I just didn t notice.But really, this is such an enjoyable read And that is the bottom line here It was truly fun reading Dracul I enjoyed as much the learning it sparked, about Bram in particular Whether you are type O, A, B, or AB, whether you are positive, negative, or undecided, I strongly urge you to swoop in and see what you can dig up, as you flap along with this fast paced, engaging and very entertaining book.Review posted 9 17 18Publication date 10 2 18Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Dracul, but it may be a few years before anything is done with it I received the e book from Penguin Random House s First to Read program I did not have to consume or surrender any bodily fluids to get it PS It was my intention to have a particular bit of fun with this review Losing time this week to an out of town trip and some other non review related activities made incorporating that on time for the usual deadline, or undeadline in this case,than I could manage If I can, I will try to get that completed by Halloween None of this STUFF alters my core review of the book, which is what you see above 10 30 18 So sorry, it was not meant to be If I find myself with some extra days at some point I might have a go at this, in time for Halloween 2019 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pagesThe author s site link is actually to Bram Stoker Official Website for the Bram Stoker Estate Definitely check this one out There are a lot of fascinating material and useful links.Items of Interest Northern Life MagazineDacre Stoker on the mysteries behind the writing of Dracula by Mark Davis 18 July 2017 Dacre Stoker, author of Dracula The Un Dead Interview with Don Smith definitely worthwhile Irish Faerie Folk of Yore and Yesterday The Dearg Due by Kim The Guardian The Icelandic Dracula Bram Stoker s vampire takes a second bite by Colin Fleming April 19, 2017 Smithsonian Why Does Dracula Wear a Tuxedo The Origins of Bram Stoker s Timeless Vampire by Jimmy Stamp October 31, 2012 Lithub Gothic Themes Bring Us Together by Catherine Cavendish A fun piece for fans of gothic literature, with excellent recommendations It was good and that s all that matters Read all the long reviews because I m not doing them anyMel It was good and that s all that matters Read all the long reviews because I m not doing them anyMel Dracul is a dark gothic horror novel It is the prequel to Dracula I never was a fan of Dracula and I usually don t read books about vampires, but this one is so different The book mainly is about the life of Bram Stoker, his childhood and adulthood Bram was a very sick child He lived with his parents and his nanny, Ellen Crone in Dublin He gets very sick and a doctor comes to his house to see why he is so sick and his nanny watches over him while the doctor is there and he suddenly recover Dracul is a dark gothic horror novel It is the prequel to Dracula I never was a fan of Dracula and I usually don t read books about vampires, but this one is so different The book mainly is about the life of Bram Stoker, his childhood and adulthood Bram was a very sick child He lived with his parents and his nanny, Ellen Crone in Dublin He gets very sick and a doctor comes to his house to see why he is so sick and his nanny watches over him while the doctor is there and he suddenly recovers There then is a lot of strange deaths that happen in a town very close to them Bra m and his sister find a pattern of strange behavior of Ellen Ellen then suddenly disappears and is not the person that she seems to be She does appear years later while Matilda is studying in Paris and Matilda then returns to let Bram know that the nightmare that they thought no longer existed is just beginning and she has seen Ellen.I just loved this book I still was reading this on Halloween night It was the perfect Halloween book I never paid attention to this book, since I didn t like Dracula I then saw a lot of five star reviews and one of them was from one of my friends I then commented on her review that I didn t care for Dracula and if it was different I received a comment back that the author was Dacre Stoker and J.D Barker I loved J.D Barker s books, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth To Die So I just had to read this I am so happy that I did This book just thrilled me It is a creepy scary read and just Wowed me It is one of my favorites for this year I loved the Gothic gothic atmosphere and thought the characters were done so well The writing style was amazing.This one made my Favorite top 10 list for 2018 I want to thank the publisher, G.P Putnam Sons for contacting me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D Barker is a 2018 Putman publication When the very first early reviews for this book started popping up on Goodreads and other book sites, I scrolled right on past it, not even giving it a cursory glance Of all the genres to choose from, horror is at the bottom of my list, and has been for several decades, with the exceptions of ghost stories or the classics, like Dracula an all time favorite, and like many other people, I do have a weakness for Stephen King a Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D Barker is a 2018 Putman publication When the very first early reviews for this book started popping up on Goodreads and other book sites, I scrolled right on past it, not even giving it a cursory glance Of all the genres to choose from, horror is at the bottom of my list, and has been for several decades, with the exceptions of ghost stories or the classics, like Dracula an all time favorite, and like many other people, I do have a weakness for Stephen King although I rarely succumb to temptation The title of the book, however, did make me curious Because if it s not a ghost story, then I might consider a vampire novel if the vampire doesn t sparkle However, I still wasn t tempted enough to click on the title forinformation In the meantime, I discovered J.D Barker and was very impressed by his writing I mean really, really impressed After Dracul was officially published I noticed the book was generating a little buzz It was nearing Halloween and I was on the hunt for a good creepy tale, so I after months of avoiding the book, I clicked on the title forinformation I could have kicked myself for letting it slip by me I only recently realized Dacre Stocker had written a sequel to Dracula I have not read that one, but will have to check it out someday If someone is going to write prequels or sequels to such an enduring classic, it is only fitting that the honor should go to a descendant of the author I also felt relieved by that idea, since I felt that surely Dacre would do itjustice But it was the second author s name that popped out at me J.D Barker THE J.D Barker Yes, the author I had raved and ranted about to everyone who would listen, co authored this book But, still A Prequel to one of the best horror novels ever Well, the ratings very favorable, so I decided to throw caution to wind and take the plunge Besides, who could resist buying a ticket for a J.D Barker show However, because I didn t bother with it sooner, I had to get into a long, long, long, long line at the library, and it was well past Halloween before I finally got my greedy little hands on a copy Was it worth the wait REVIEW So, there are no vampires in Transylvania No Count Dracula Fictions, my friend The vulgar fictions of a demented Irishman Daniel Malloy and Louis Interview with the Vampire by Anne RiceWell, I wouldn t be so sure of that, Louis Bram Stoker is the main protagonist in this story It is really his tale to tell, but his siblings are also very involved and are an intricate part of the story In Bram s early life, he is confined to his room, weak and sickly and occasionally near death He is administered to and care for by his beloved Nanna, who keeps him alive through questionable and unusual means As Bram matures and grows out of his childhood maladies, he and his siblings begin to piece together a terribly troubling and sinister mystery, involving the puzzling deaths of people in a neighboring town, and the possibility they areinvolved than they would like to admit Their own family, perhaps grateful, but also complicit, lived with a certain amount of denial for a long time The siblings unravel a lurid and chilling tale, one that pits good against evil, with all those psychological shades of gray, that occasionally leaves the reader with a feeling of understanding in some places, and occasionally, sympathy, even where none should seep through Yet, the reader is not the only one tempted in this way The Stoker s are also accepting of certain truths and make their own compromises However, there is still a force out there a formidable opponent one Bram must eventually face And so, it begins Wow, the eerie suggestion that Bram s masterpiece was not all the vulgar fictions of a demented Irishman is enough to leave one sleeping with a cross under your pillow, and maybe a little garlic over your door for good measure Just in case This book is very creepy and atmospheric However, it is mostly a historical mystery, albeit a paranormal one It is the solving of a series of crimes, and the personal ramifications the truth reveals It does lose much of its initial momentum, however, settling down into a seemingly less eventful, and much slower rhythm But, upon reflection, this was most likely by design, and was perhaps necessary But overall, this is a fascinating piece of fiction The authors did a very good job with the material they were given exclusive access to, and in weaving such a believable, and quite unsettling, precursor toDraculaThe book was worth the wait most definitely Although, I didn t get to read it during October, it is a perfect book to read on any long, dark winter night Sweet dreams 4 stars Dracul starts off with Bram Stoker s childhood years, when he was a sick boy confined mostly to his room, until one night on the cusp of death, he somehow makes a miraculous recovery at the hands of his beloved nanny Ellen Thereafter, his illness completely disappears After this unexplainable event and a series of strange deaths in town, Bram and his sister Matilda starts digging around to find out what is really going on with their nanny But Ellen vanishes without a trace, and the years go b Dracul starts off with Bram Stoker s childhood years, when he was a sick boy confined mostly to his room, until one night on the cusp of death, he somehow makes a miraculous recovery at the hands of his beloved nanny Ellen Thereafter, his illness completely disappears After this unexplainable event and a series of strange deaths in town, Bram and his sister Matilda starts digging around to find out what is really going on with their nanny But Ellen vanishes without a trace, and the years go by Until one day, Matilda sees Ellen on the streets of Paris, and the siblings are immediately pulled back into this mystery Dracul is the prequel to the classic vampire novel Dracula I found it completely fascinating that it s presented as a true story, one detailing Bram Stoker s early dealings with the evil that eventually led him to write Dracula Dracul is written by his great grandnephew Dacre Stoker, who claims he put the story together after meticulous research from Bram s personal notes and Stoker family journals.This book hits all the right notes It s creepy and atmospheric, taking place in old villages and castle ruins, in gloomy daylight and dark nights It s exhilarating and thrilling, full of unexplained events and horrifying happenings It gives off the impression that this world of vampires and evil beings could really exist, and there s something so deliciously fun about that.The only small complaint I have is that the narrative switches between Bram now and his story leading up to that moment, until they finally converge into the climax Usually authors employ this technique when what s happening now isexciting than what s happening in the past, and so this switcheroo keeps the readers engaged with the backstory until it catches up to the current narrative But in this case, the backstory is exciting and what s happening now is quite boring Bram is just in some tower being afraid The book would have lost nothing if it got rid of that and stuck to telling the story in chronological order But it s only a few pages here and there, so it s a small quibble.I picked up this book on a whim I was browsing the latest paperbacks and happened across it I m usually a little leery of prequels, especially when it s written by someone other than the original author And having never read Dracula, I wasn t sure what to expect But I didn t need to worry This book is a deliciously chilling and gruesomely compelling vampire tale, and it wouldn t surprise me if one day it reached classic status in its own right Now after all this, I m curious how Dracula stacks up MalignantThe comparisons and connections between Dracul and Bram Stoker s Dracula are inevitable and unavoidable After all, this is the story of Bram Stoker s early life, his family and what may have been the catalyst for his classic vampire story Dracula has become the most popular monster figure ever, spawning a ubiquitous vampire theme across multiple genres In Bram s life, the second half of the 19th century, vampires were seen as pure monsters, whereas nowadays, we have them appearing as MalignantThe comparisons and connections between Dracul and Bram Stoker s Dracula are inevitable and unavoidable After all, this is the story of Bram Stoker s early life, his family and what may have been the catalyst for his classic vampire story Dracula has become the most popular monster figure ever, spawning a ubiquitous vampire theme across multiple genres In Bram s life, the second half of the 19th century, vampires were seen as pure monsters, whereas nowadays, we have them appearing as charismatic, powerful, intelligent, loyal and talented exemplars of human desire Not to be fooled, we also portray them as ruthless and pure destructive evil Dacre Stoker and J.D Barker treat us to a wonderful dramatic spine chilling account of Bram Stoker s early life, which is packed full of suspense and horror to rival the Dracula story itself, and positioned as a prequel The story structure is very similar to Dracula, using an epistolary form, but over 2 time periods, the now of Bram at 21 years of age, and the past accounts of the Stoker siblings laid out in letters and journals from Bram and others including his sister Matilda and brother Thornley The story combines factual details with fictional creativity in such a seamless manner that we cannot tell which parts are which It all blends to accomplish a plot that adds unique elements and has us living a nightmare where our imagination challenges our fundamental beliefs Our frail grip on reality slips as the unimaginable seems possible The control in the writing to hold together the various threads and narrative elements is very well delivered Sometimes the pace slacks and this is especially frustrating following the transition from one journal account to another.The Bram of, now, sits in a room with a Bowie knife and Enfield rifle, where we can feel the palpable fear and fatigue as he struggles to get through a night without sleeping, keeping a powerful monster that has multiple nefarious tricks and deceptions, locked behind a reinforced door A door that is reinforced with locks, bolts, holy water, roses, and Holy Communion wafer paste.Reconstructing Bram s history from his journals, and letters from Matilda, tell of the nanny, Ellen Crone A mysterious and miraculous saviour of Bram on a number of occasions It is clear he was meant to die as a child, yet his alliance with this unholy creature has garnered himyears a deal with the Devil, possibly worse, if such a thing is imaginable When Bram and Matilda investigate Nanna Ellen s room and follow her into the countryside, they confirm her to be a preternatural being view spoiler in Irish folklore called a Dearg Due hide spoiler Even with the supernatural threat she carries, they have developed a caring relationship with her, especially Bram who has a deep extrasensory connection The authors have decidedly followed the modern acceptance that not all monsters should be totally evil and perhaps there is a watchful, even protective, connection with her.The birth and sickly youth of Bram, an early precarious climb up a castle tower, several isolated engagements, and the monster behind the door, convey an ever present atmosphere of impending trauma The sense of a precipice are prevailing themes throughout the story and are used masterfully to maintain a chilling suspense The tone gets darker andfrightening in the second half of the book whenis revealed.This is a standalone book made all thecaptivating with its connections to the author of Dracula It does not feel like Dacre took advantage of his ancestral connection but rather added authenticity to a story that expertly weaves fact with fiction, to create a novel that is thoroughly engrossing, and full of horror, evil, fear and trepidation How secure will you feel walking alone at night after reading this I would highly recommend this book and I would like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review |Free Kindle ⚖ Dracul ⚖ The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula s true origins but Bram Stoker s and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects themIt is , and a twenty one year old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him hereA sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen and that the nightmare they ve thought long ended is only beginning An intriguing gothic horror book, told from the point of view of several members of the Stoker family, including Bram, as well as his sister and brother It tells the tale of Bram s childhood, where he was very sickly, on the verge of death, through to his adulthood Bram had a nanny named Ellen when he was a boy, she seemed a bit of a creepy character, disappearing for days at a time, and sleeping in a box of dirt Yet she seems to have healed Bram s ailments when the doctors of the time couldn An intriguing gothic horror book, told from the point of view of several members of the Stoker family, including Bram, as well as his sister and brother It tells the tale of Bram s childhood, where he was very sickly, on the verge of death, through to his adulthood Bram had a nanny named Ellen when he was a boy, she seemed a bit of a creepy character, disappearing for days at a time, and sleeping in a box of dirt Yet she seems to have healed Bram s ailments when the doctors of the time couldn t Bram and his sister followed Ellen at one stage, just after he got well again, just to find a box in a tower of a ruined castle, containing a severed arm, among other things They then watch Ellen disappear into a bog Ellen then disappears from the children s lives, just to re appear years later to them, however, she doesn t seemed to have aged a day I found this book to hold much interest It didn t go too hard core into the horror, concentratingon the psychological aspect, but it hooks you in It slowly reveals the story of Bram and how he comes across the famous Dracul, or Dracula It is fiction, but told in biographical style, through journals and letters The author, Dacre Stoker, is the great grandnephew of Bram.This chilling tale has much to recommend it.My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review This is a prequel, if you will, to the timeless novel Dracula with none other than Bram Stoker himself as the protagonist Thankfully, these are not sparkly, shiny vampires What we have here is a blood curdling tale that would make the Count proud Elegantly written and atmospheric this novel drips with malevolence and oozes with the sinister. I m too lazy to write a really compelling disavowal of Dracul I wanted to compare Dracula with Dracul Dracula is masterful while Dracul is bloated and not with blood.Dracul is not a worthy prequel If one compares text from both books, Dracula is incisive, unrepetitive, purposeful, efficient, and successful.I know that Dracul will survive the test of time, and that galls me But it should not The masterpiece that is Dracula remains unsullied I can enjoy the latter in all of its purity Ame I m too lazy to write a really compelling disavowal of Dracul I wanted to compare Dracula with Dracul Dracula is masterful while Dracul is bloated and not with blood.Dracul is not a worthy prequel If one compares text from both books, Dracula is incisive, unrepetitive, purposeful, efficient, and successful.I know that Dracul will survive the test of time, and that galls me But it should not The masterpiece that is Dracula remains unsullied I can enjoy the latter in all of its purity Amen