Written by Dacre Stoker & J. D. Barker
Review by Thomas j. Howley

Bram Stoker, original author of the classic horror story, Dracula, submitted his manuscript to a London publisher in 1897 claiming everything in the book was true. Because fear of Jack the Ripper was still rampant at the time, the publisher omitted Stoker’s claim, and the first 100 pages of the submission, in the printed final book. In Dracul, Stoker’s great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, along with international bestselling author, J. D. Barker, with apparent access to the original notes, present the missing story and prequel to the original vampire classic. How cool and enticing is that to draw readers’ interest?

Bram is a sickly boy growing up in a northern suburb of Dublin, Ireland, the vaunted medieval battle site, Clontarf. Amidst a middle class family, his young nanny, Ellen, seems his only solace and savior. After a near-death experience, Ellen rescues Bram from medical quackery and then disappears. Suddenly, high strangeness, grisly murders and seemingly supernatural events occur. Bram and two siblings, a brother and sister, along with a carefully selected and sagacious gentleman ally, trek across Ireland, Britain, and the continent to find Ellen. A mysterious and monstrous figure seems to be masterminding all of the events, which are eventually revealed in the action-filled and exciting climax.

I’m not a big horror fan, but this superbly crafted and well researched book drew me in completely. Though relatively long, there are no slow parts as the suspenseful terror builds over time. As with all books of the genre, there are graphic and hideous scenes, but they are presented here with none of the gratuitous “slasher” type violence of more recent vampire books and movies. And, surprisingly, there is an unlikely but entrancing love story in the mix. Dracul is authentic and classic gothic horror which is guaranteed to be a publishing and film success. Vampire fans will love it.