Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram, previously brought to us the “official” sequel to Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. Entitled DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD. Some fans found the tacking-on of the “official” billing distasteful. I certainly can’t blame Mr. Stoker—Dacre, that is—for capitalizing on his famous surname. I sure would, were I him. But the complainers are right, too, when they stress that there can be no true “official” sequel to DRACULA unless it is written by Bram Stoker himself. To those I say, and have said, if you can divorce the novel from the classic that inspired it, the “sequel” is a great read.
But DRACUL is even better.
Those who felt that Dracula, in the sequel, didn’t behave all that much like Dracula did in DRACULA (boy, this could get confusing) shouldn’t harbor the same objections where DRACUL is concerned. The villainous vampire here is an even nastier customer than the Count in the original work. He’s not an actor. He’s not lovesick. He’s not “romantic.” He’s a monster. Whereas the trend in fiction has been more and more with passing years to depict Dracula as an antihero, Dacre Stoker and JD Barker return him to his evil roots—and make him scary again.
Drawing inspiration from the short story “Dracula’s Guest,” which was originally the first chapter of DRACULA, as well as MAKT MYRKRANNA, the “lost” Icelandic translation of the same (which is radically different from it) and even J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s CARMILLA, DRACUL chronicles the exploits of Bram Stoker when he was a boy and a young man, revealing the things he experienced that led him, some years later, to write his masterpiece.
How does DRACUL fit together with that aforementioned “official” sequel? I’m not sure. Nor do I care. DRACUL is a crackerjack of a book, one worthy to carry the two names, “Dracul(a)” and “Stoker,” on its cover.
By all means, take a bite!