Now, this contemporary blend of recorded 'fact,' as found in the excised, edited material, and interpretation of the Stokers’ lives represents a thrilling new exploration of the novel’s creation and its creator. It is also, as with the best literary horror, genuinely creepy ... the setting here is primed for sinister happenings, richly evoked through the cold ruins of Artane Castle and its dense surrounding forest to Swift’s asylum in central Dublin ... Stoker Junior and Barker have incorporated intriguing insights into medical practices of the time, from trainee surgeons who resort to grave-robbing for dissections to botched autopsies and leech-remedies ... These details produce a terror and morbid fascination equal to the unfolding myth of the 'Dearg-Due' (Irish for 'blood-sucker'), and capture the era’s preoccupation with science and progress versus the mystical, the unknown and unknowable ... In its crafty structure and unhurried layering of dread, this addition to the canon is a brilliantly entertaining read, and offers a chilling response.
You can clearly see the marriage of prose between Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker—Stoker's firm grasp of his family history and Barker's storytelling skills, which constantly provide plot twists and surprises. At one point towards the end of the novel, we leap far forward to author and theater owner Bram Stoker being visited by a woman calling herself Mina Harker. She hands him a bound manuscript that features the words found dead center on the first page: COUNT WAMPYR. This is all Stoker needed to fuse with his own experience to pen Dracula ... Whether or not you believe this tale to be spun from truth is a matter of personal opinion. I enjoyed it immensely, and found Dracul more than worthy to stand beside Bram Stoker's classic novel. If it happens to be true, well, that is something for me to sort out in my own nightmares that were nicely fueled by Stoker and Barker.
Mr. Barker’s skills in creating suspense and his ability to graphically describe horrifying details of death and dismemberment are apparent ... But while Dracul starts with a bang and ends well, there is a noticeable lag in the long middle. Like many modern novels, suspense is sometimes conveniently manufactured by manipulating time ... at the appropriate moment, the action switches to an event that happened several years earlier or later. To their immense credit, the authors have created a stand-alone book. Dracul can be read without any knowledge of Dracula, or knowledge of any other vampiric tale. However, the more you know, the more apparent are the layers and nuances added by these authors. They have skillfully interwoven characters, themes and settings from the original novel into their book.
The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul by Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker 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 ... To those well-versed in vampire lore and fiction, Dracul doesn’t tread much new ground. But its biographical framing and focus on Ellen Crone makes it a compelling, entertaining read nonetheless. And despite being nearly 500 pages long, the pace is so crackling and the prose easy enough to follow that you’ll find yourself devouring it in a matter of hours. With cooler nights rolling in and the leaves beginning to change, this is a perfect atmospheric read for October.
In this officially sanctioned prequel to the classic, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, and thriller writer Barker tell the story of Dracula from the point of view of its author ... Dracul is interesting because it sheds light on the original characters and author. Adding just the right touch of suspense increases the pace and ratchets up the tension, which appeals to the contemporary reader. While the book comes with a built–in audience—fans of the original—suggest it to those who like menacing, supernatural historical novels.
Stoker has the name, Barker 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.' ... strange doings are afoot, and those strange doings involve a preternaturally sinister chappy of grim countenance and sharp fang ... A big book that will no doubt be a hit among monster-movie and horror lit fans—and for good reason.
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 ... Bram Stoker fans and scholars will find this a satisfying exploration of his legacy.