Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Urn: Dracula of the Apes – Book 1 – review

Author: G. Wells Taylor

First Published: 2014

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Dracula of the Apes picks up where Bram Stoker’s Dracula left off and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes began. Genres collide in this thrilling horror/adventure fiction hybrid.

Dracula’s Gypsy servant Horvat has the special duty of preserving his master’s body if the worst should ever happen—and the worst has happened!

Van Helsing’s team of vampire hunters has decapitated the count and reduced him to dust and ashes.

Horvat’s instructions are simple. Dracula’s remains must be stored in a special urn and bathed in blood while en route to South Africa where a mysterious ally will see to his resurrection.

But fate steps in off the African coast and a shipwreck casts Horvat and his precious burden into the jungle setting of another literary classic.

The Review: G Wells Taylor has done something audacious and conflated the literary figures of Tarzan and Dracula and, you know what, its blooming good fun. A few things to note at the head of the review, however. I have not read any of the Tarzan books and thus am familiar only through movies. Also this book is comparatively short, probably best described as a novella as it comes in at around 163 pages. As I review it I am reading book 2 and considered waiting to review all three books together. I decided against this as the style of Book 2 is different and Wells Taylor has rightly split the story into volumes.

The style of this is epistolary, like Dracula, but all from the diary of the gypsy Horvat. He had instructions from the Count of what to do should disaster strike and has gathered the vampire’s ashes into a special urn and is transporting them to South Africa – all the time keeping the primal sludge, which the ashes have become, damp with blood (human or animal is fine) – where another vampire will restore Dracula to his former undead glory.

Whilst heading towards Varna, Horvat is protected by wolves that track his progress but hunted by ghoul like creatures. We never get to fully learn what these are. The book changes – following Horvat being shipwrecked and believing the flooding of the urn with saltwater to have destroyed his master totally – to something more akin to Robinson Crusoe. Of course there would be no series if the vampire had been utterly destroyed but I’ll let you read the book to see how that plays out.

I was unsure whether this was going to work. The vampirism is light in this volume as it is mostly focused on Horvat but Wells Taylor gave him a strong voice and the book kept my attention and definitely entertained. 7 out of 10.


Katherine Tomlinson said...

I've read all three of the books in the trilogy and think Taylor has done a masterful job of combining Dracula and Tarzan--honoring both with his own 31st century take.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

As i mentioned in the review, I am still reading book 2 at the moment but enjoying that too.

Thanks for stopping by Katherine