the vampire Countess and Vampire City chronologically.
Actually the book had less of a fixation on vampirism but did have some interesting ideas within it and, like Vampire Countess, actually left a question mark as to whether our vampires were indeed vampires.
The book concerns itself with the Ténèbre Brothers. One is large, Jean Ténèbre the chevalier, and the other smaller, Ange Ténèbre the priest, and both lust for gold, thus they are audacious thieves. Perhaps then they are only mortal thieves who have drawn a legend around themselves?
Féval says that whilst Ange is a vampire, Jean is an oupire. He even draws a distinction between the two names claiming an oupire “an eater of human flesh,” whilst a vampire is “a drinker of human blood.”
Within the story the existence of two graves on the Hungarian planes, each covered by a black slab bearing French inscriptions claiming the occupants (albeit often absent) as the Ténèbre brothers, is deemed to be accurate. Féval, as he did in Vampire Countess, has it that a red hot iron to the heart is the way to dispose of a vampire.
Perhaps the two hiding in the graves, when the father of one of their victims looked beneath the slabs, really were two common criminals known to the police (and one of whom had been transported previously to Botany Bay). All we know for certain is that he did not have the courage to pierce their hearts with hot iron and thus their fate was more grizzly. Sealed beneath the slabs he piled the graves with wood and set the pyre alight, roasting the two villains. Yet it seems a year later the Ténèbre brothers were out and about and up to their old tricks, at least according to a newspaper report from the Hague.
To my way of thinking this was the weakest of the three books, but again it was interesting to have pre-Stoker vampires tied to Hungary (although of French nationality) and mention of John Hyundai’s reign within the text. The distinction between vampire and oupire was fascinating also as it is out with conventional wisdom. In his essay Count Dracula and the Folkloric Vampire: Thirteen Comparisons (available at Blooferland), Patrick Johnson quotes Dom Augustine Calmet’s 1746 text as suggesting that “The public memorials of the years 1693 and 1694 speak of oupires ... which are seen in Poland, and above all in Russia. They make their appearance from noon to midnight, and come and suck the blood of living men or animals.”
Like the other two Féval books this is available, adapted by Brian Stableford.