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The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram...
The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram...
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  • The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram Stoker's—and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.
    It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here ...
    A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents' Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen—a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen—and that the nightmare they've thought long ended is only beginning.
    A riveting novel of gothic suspense, Dracul reveals not only Dracula's true origin, but Bram Stoker's—-and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.


  • From the book NOW

    Bram stares at the door.

    Sweat trickles down his creased forehead. He brushes his fingers through his damp hair, his temples throbbing with ache.

    How long has he been awake? Two days? Three? He doesn't know, each hour blends into the next, a fevered dream from which there is no waking, only sleep, deeper, darker-


    There can be no thought of sleep.

    He forces his eyes wide. He wills them open, preventing even a single blink, for each blink comes heavier than the last. There can be no rest, no sleep, no safety, no family, no love, no future, no-

    The door.

    Must watch the door.

    Bram stands up from the chair, the only furniture in the room, his eyes locking on the thick oak door. Had it moved? He thought he had seen it shudder, but there had been no sound. Not the slightest of noises betrayed the silence of this place; there was only his own breathing, and the anxious tapping of his foot against the cold stone floor.

    The doorknob remains still, the ornate hinges looking as they probably did a hundred years ago, the lock holding firm. Until his arrival at this place, he had never seen such a lock, forged from iron and molded in place. The mechanism itself is one with the door, secured firmly at the center with two large dead bolts branching out to the right and the left and attached to the frame. The key is in his pocket, and it will remain in his pocket.

    Bram's fingers tighten around the stock of his Snider-Enfield Mark III rifle, his index finger playing over the trigger guard. In recent hours, he has loaded the weapon and pulled and released the breech lock more times than he can count. His free hand slips over the cold steel, ensuring the bolt is in the proper position. He pulls back the hammer.

    This time he sees it-a slight wavering in the dust in the crack between the door and the floor, a puff of air, nothing more, but movement nonetheless.

    Noiselessly, Bram sets the rifle down, leaning it against his chair.

    He reaches into the straw basket to his left and retrieves a wild white rose, one of seven remaining.

    The oil lamp, the only light in the room, flickers with his movement.

    With caution, he approaches the door.

    The last rose lay in a shriveled heap, the petals brown and black and ripe with death, the stem dry and sickly with thorns appearing larger than they had when the flower still held life. The stench of rot wafts up; the rose has taken on the scent of a corpse flower.

    Bram kicks the old rose away with the toe of his boot and gently rests the new bloom in its place against the bottom of the door. "Bless this rose, Father, with Your breath and hand and all things holy. Direct Your angels to watch over it, and guide their touch to hold all evil at bay. Amen."

    From the other side of the door comes a bang, the sound of a thousand pounds impacting the old oak. The door buckles, and Bram jumps back to the chair, his hand scooping up the leaning rifle and taking aim as he drops to one knee.

    Then all is quiet again.

    Bram remains still, the rifle sighted on the door until the weight of the gun causes his aim to falter. He lowers the barrel then, his eyes sweeping the room.

    What would one think if one were to walk in and witness such a sight?

    He has covered the walls with mirrors, nearly two dozen of them in all shapes and sizes, all he had. His tired face stares back at him a hundredfold as his image bounces from one looking glass to the next. Bram tries to look away, only to find himself peering back into the eyes of his own reflection, each face etched with lines belonging on a man much older than his twenty-one...


  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 6, 2018
    Promoted as a prequel to Dracula, this novel is a melodramatized family history that proposes author Bram Stoker and his siblings confronted an undead nemesis early in their lives. Set for the most part in Ireland and told through a mix of straightforward narrative, personal letters, and journal and diary entries spanning the second half of the 19th century, it relates how a sickly young Bram was brought back from death’s doorstep by the bite of his nursemaid, the mysterious Ellen Crone. Years after Ellen’s abrupt disappearance from their lives, Bram, his sister Matilda, and his brother Thornley are drawn into a web of intrigues when they discover that Ellen is a Dearg-Due, a bloodsucking being of Irish folklore who is under the thumb of a more sinister vampire master. Although the authors evoke particulars of Bram Stoker’s Victorian vampire classic, their portrayal of Ellen as a sympathetic victim is decidedly modern. In an author’s note, Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram, explores gaps in the fossil record of Dracula’s genesis to explain the direction his own Dracula-infused collaboration took. Bram Stoker fans and scholars will find this a satisfying exploration of his legacy. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2018
    Very scary, boys and girls: the "prequel" to the classic 19th-century novel Dracula, with lots of gore thrown in to satisfy 21st-century tastes.Stoker (Dracula: The Undead, 2009) has the name, Barker (The Fifth to Die, 2018, etc.) has the chops, and both work from an intriguing notion: When Bram Stoker shaped his novel--originally billed as a work of nonfiction--for publication, the first 102 pages were taken out by the publisher. What if they contained crucial details concerning origins, setting up future conflicts while clearing up mysteries? This foundational novel makes Bram a central character in his own story, which "finds its roots in truth." What's more, Bram is haunted by memory: A sickly child, he was bedridden, tended to by a woman named Ellen Crone, who here joins the ranks of the undead but, for all that, has some redeeming qualities, even if people tend to die and go missing whenever she's around. In healthier adulthood, Bram and his siblings go off in search of Ellen, who's disappeared--only to be spotted, years later, not having aged a bit. (Incidentally, Ellen and her fellow vamps can walk in sunlight; it just enervates them.) Well, strange doings are afoot, and those strange doings involve a preternaturally sinister chappy of grim countenance and sharp fang. Stoker and Barker positively exult in Dracul's ability to control all manner of underground critters, including tower-climbing snakes and other creepy-crawlies, and their gross-out stuff can't be beat: "The shroud felt moist, as if it were covered with some kind of bile or slime; it was akin to reaching into the carcass of some dead thing and taking hold of the stomach." It's a lively if unlovely story, in which the once febrile Bram becomes a sort of Indiana Jones and other heroes emerge in the endless fight against the damned--some of whom, of course, remain undead for further adventures.A big book that will no doubt be a hit among monster-movie and horror lit fans--and for good reason.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2018

    This historical thriller with a distinct emphasis on gothic horror is a prequel to Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, written by Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker (zDracula: The Un-Dead) and best-selling author Barker (The Fourth Monkey). Bram Stoker himself stars as the main character in a story that begins with his sickly childhood in Ireland and the appropriately supernatural cure to his ailments. Subsequently, the adult Bram, and his intriguing and varied companions, travel through Europe on the trail of a variety of grotesque and mysterious characters--including the dark man himself, Dracula. The narrative moves fairly quickly, pulling readers into this thrilling tale, with twists that keep the pages turning, even late into the night. VERDICT Obviously a strong pick for fans of classic gothic tales, such as Dracula, but also good for anyone who appreciates gripping historical novels, including those by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/18.]--Elizabeth McArthur, Bexar Cty. Digital Lib., BiblioTech, San Antonio

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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