Sunday, May 22, 2011

In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide – review

Author: Steven P Unger

Published: 2010

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Worldwide fascination with Dracula, like the bloodthirsty Count himself, will never die.

Completed and comprising approximately 35,000 words and 185 photographs, In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide is the first and only book to include:

• For the armchair traveller, pictures and descriptions, in memoir form, of every site in England and Romania that is closely related to either Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula or his historical counterpart, Prince Vlad Dracula the Impaler.

• A thorough history based on original research and face-to-face interviews with experts--such as the Man in Black of Whitby, England--of how the novel Dracula came into being, and almost never happened.

• The true life story of Vlad the Impaler, connecting his lineage for the first time in print to the Brotherhood of the Wolf, which had already survived for two thousand years when Prince Vlad was born in 1431.

• For the independent traveler who would leave his armchair for the Great Unknown, a Practical Guide to the Dracula Trail, including a complete Sample Itinerary with recommendations for lodging and detailed instructions on traveling to each British or Romanian Dracula-related town or site.

Also in the Practical Guide are sections on money; recommended reading; modes of transportation; security and health; internet access, shopping, and cable TV; and alternatives to independent travel.

The 2nd Edition of In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, available now, includes: ---References, Web Links, and Costs Updated to December 2010 ---The First Review of Dracula Ever Written, Published in the Manchester Guardian on June 15, 1897 ---A New Section on Bram Stoker's Dublin ---A Rare Photo of a Wolf-Dragon, the Original Source of the Name "Dracula," Carved Within the Ruins of a Prehistoric Dacian Temple in Transylvania, and much, much more!

The Review: It is probably fitting that Steven Unger has written a travel guide based on Dracula as much of the geographic detail Stoker put into his novel came from travel guides of the time.

The book follows Unger as he travels through some of the world locations associated with Dracula and also Vlad Țepeș. Now, whilst Stoker borrowed a name – thus the association between the fictional Count and the real life Voivode are at best slim – Unger makes the point that the two are now inextricably linked through previous works and thus I felt the exploration of the Voivode, whilst walking the footsteps of the fictional Count, to be legitimate. Unger did not try to tie them closer than they truly are - though he did point out some interesting synchronicities.

For the Dracula scholar there is are nuggets of interesting material within the book – Unger’s details about the Dacians was just such a nugget. More, however, this is a travel book and offers Unger’s passion for his subject as he guides us around the trail he explored. It is a shame, of course, that the photos within are in black and white but that is a publishing limitation. The book also contains details and tips for the traveller who wants to follow Unger round the Dracula related sites, towns and cities.

I find it a treat to read the details of someone’s passion for the genre and a travel book is a welcome departure for me in the style of book read. 7.5 out of 10. Steve Unger recently posted a guest blog on TMtV and that can be found here.


Steve_Vandalay said...

Thanks so much for the review and link, O Ancient Bard. Someday we hope to publish a hardcover colour edition of "Footsteps," and you'll be among the first to receive it.

Steven P. Unger

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks Steven - I'll hold you to that ;)