Authors: Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt
Release Date: 2009
The Blurb: Based on Bram Stoker’s own notes, the authorized sequel is written by a direct descendant of Stoker and a well-known Dracula historian. Fast-paced, full of suspense and rich with historical detail Dracula: the Un-Dead will captivate admirers of gothic literature.
Quincey Harker, son of Jonathon and Mina, having left his law studies for the stage, stumbles upon the troubled production of Dracula at the Lyceum, directed by Bram Stoker himself. The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents’ terrible secrets. Can it be that history is about to repeat itself?
For, twenty- five years since Van Helsing and his allies reduced Dracula to dust, evil stalks Europe once again. One by one the band of heroes is being hunted down. Has Dracula somehow survived to seek his revenge? Or is there another, more sinister force at work?
The Review: So here it is, the official sequel – as sanctioned by the Stoker estate – of Dracula. Within the first four pages we get more story changes and revision of lore than you can shake a stick at. This is contained in a letter from Mina to Quincey Harker, to be opened on her sudden or unnatural death, a quick summary reveals:
Now, there is much, much more as the book continues (to the point that Stoker's novel is openly called a pack of lies by characters in this book) and I note that Elizabeth Miller, who I hold in high esteem, states in the afterword that “a purist might indeed be occasionally shocked by the introduction of such ‘errors’ into the original text.” With all due respect, not so. I am shocked that such artistic licence has been taken with the lore and story of a book in what purports to be an official sequel and claims to use Bram’s notes. This book owes more to Hamilton Deane (who appears as a character), the various movies and the book ‘In Search of Dracula’ than Stoker’s original. I feel that if this were just a sequel based loosely round Dracula it would be one thing, but an official sequel should respect and expand on the original story and lore. Indeed I felt a particular discomfort at the change that persued, what I could describe as, a “Terminator 2 model” – not that there are robots or time travel, before you panic, but in plot/character device.
That said, if we can scour the idea of this not being an ‘official sequel’ from our minds then it isn’t bad as a novel. There are some issues within. For instance the editors should, perhaps, have picked up on “John Tuck, here in Piccadilly, was the best cobbler in London, second only to Lobb on St James” after all it can’t be both the best and the second best but I am being overly picky, probably. Then again... Remember what I listed re Lucy and the marks on her neck, earlier in the review? Well, by the end of the book Mina muses that, on that fateful night, Lucy was sleepwalking and Mina thought she had pricked her neck! Perhaps that wasn't an error but a continuation of the revisionist attitude, maybe even post-modern?
Generally however, it is fast paced, with twists and turns and set pieces clearly designed for the big screen. There are interesting moments, such as the suggestion that perhaps a vampire does not change into, say, a bat but makes the observer perceive a change - I did like that. I also thought there was a good use of Báthory. However I have read better unofficial Dracula sequels – Kim Newman, Elaine Bergstrom, and Freda Warrington all spring to mind. As I scour the words 'official sequel' from my mind I settle upon 6 out of 10.