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Dracula The Un-Dead is a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Dracula The Un-Dead begins in 1912, twenty-five years after Dracula "crumbled into dust." Van Helsing's protégé Dr. Jack Seward is now a disgraced morphine addict obsessed with stamping out evil across Europe. Meanwhile, an unknowing Quincey Harker, the grown son of Jonathan and Mina, leaves law school for the London stage, only to stumble upon the troubled production of Dracula, directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself.
The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents' terrible secrets, but before he can confront them he experiences evil in a way he had never imagined. One by one, the band of heroes that defeated Dracula a quarter-century ago is being hunted down. Could it be that Dracula somehow survived their attack and is seeking revenge? Or is their another force at work whose relentless purpose is to destroy anything and anyone associated with Dracula?
Dracula the Un-Dead is deeply researched, rich in character, thrills and scares, and lovingly crafted as both an extension and celebration of one of the most classic popular novels in literature.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 39.
- Review Date: 2009-08-24
- Reviewer: Staff
In this sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula, his great-grandnephew offers one of the rowdiest revisionist treatments of the most influential vampire novel ever written. In 1912, as Stoker labors to adapt Dracula for the stage, its “characters” are dying gruesomely all over London. It turns out they are as real as Stoker himself, who learned their secret story on the sly and took creative liberties when turning it into his popular penny dreadful. Dracula's true story involves the passing of his blood line through Mina Harker to her son; a malignant Dr. Van Helsing, who Scotland Yard suspects had a hand in the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper; and the exploits of a 16th-century vampire countess, Dracula's former lover, who cuts a bloody swath through London seeking the survivors of Dracula's last stand in Transylvania. Energetically paced and packed with outrageously entertaining action, this supernatural thriller is a well-needed shot of fresh blood for the Dracula mythos. (Oct.)
Back to Dracula
The month of Halloween brings us Dracula The Un-Dead, a bone-chilling sequel to the classic and the latest in the classic novel revisionist craze. This continuation of Bram Stoker’s Victorian thriller isn’t just family-sanctioned, it’s co-written by a family member. With the assistance of Ian Holt, a Dracula documentarian, historian and screenwriter, The Un-Dead was created by Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram, who claims parts of the novel are based on material cut from the original Dracula and Bram’s own notes.
The Un-Dead rejoins the band of friends and lovers who survived the original novel—Mina and Jonathan, Seward, Holmwood, even Van Helsing—now 25 years after the purported demise of Dracula. Over the years they have each faced disappointment and drifted apart, but they are brought back together when it appears that those who once hunted Dracula have now become the hunted. Someone—or something—is out to get them. Could it be that Dracula himself survived and is back for revenge, or might it be something even more sinister?
In a way, it seems likely that Dacre Stoker has been waiting his entire lifetime to resuscitate and reimagine the immortal prince. In The Un-Dead, Stoker and Holt have assembled an all-star cast highlighting the key players and events throughout history, weaving in Jack the Ripper, the Countess Bathory and her centuries-old rivalry with Vlad Tepes (the historical inspiration for Dracula), the burning of the Lyceum, the voyage of the Titanic and yes, even Bram Stoker himself. Indeed, the cameos and tributes—as clever and playful as they may be—are at times so numerous that they risk overwhelming the plot itself. Additionally, there are a few historical slips that will trip up vampire diehards, for example the erroneous statement that Vlad is short for Vladimir, rather than Vladislav, which was actually the historical prince’s real name.
Since Dracula is often viewed as a creature symbolizing lust and unquenched desire, it is perhaps unsurprising that The Un-Dead owes as much in tone to contemporary romance novels as to the post-Anne Rice vampire epics. The eroticism that merely coils beneath the surface of Dracula is overt here, complete with actual bodice-ripping. The violence is also more explicit, befitting a more modern audience, and ramps up throughout the course of the novel. At times it verges on gruesome, but thankfully touches of humor, however dark, manage to save these scenes and offer the appropriate respite. At one point in the novel, a man feels the strong urge to vomit upon realizing he has been gutted, but then of course he remembers that he (quite literally) no longer has the stomach for such action.
As for the prose itself, the initial attempt to capture the Victorian style of writing embodied in a letter from Mina to her son is a bit clunky; however readers who persevere through this experiment in writing will ultimately be rewarded with a breathless narrative rife with twists and turns. The writing is spirited, if not inspired, and the story will quickly capture readers’ interests and imaginations. The Un-Dead is a slow boil that eventually builds up a good deal of steam and ambient mist, although perhaps a “red fog” would be more apt. Apparently it’s true what they say: it’s hard to keep a good vampire down!
Eve Zibart was born on Halloween, and her license plate reads “vampyr.”