Dracul

Dracul

by Dacre Stoker, J.D. Barker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735219366
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 23,254
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Dacre Stoker is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and the international bestselling co-author of Dracula: The Un-Dead, the official Stoker family-endorsed sequel to Dracula. He is also the co-editor of The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: The Dublin Years. He currently lives with his wife, Jenne, in Aiken, South Carolina, where he manages the Bram Stoker Estate.

J.D. Barker is the internationally bestselling author of Forsaken, The Fourth Monkey, and The Fifth to Die. He was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His works have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, and daughter, Ember.

Read an Excerpt

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-

No!

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 years.

Between the mirrors, he has nailed crosses, nearly fifty of them. Some bear the image of Christ while others are nothing more than fallen branches nailed together and blessed by his own hand. He continued the crosses onto the floor, first with a piece of chalk, then by scraping directly into the stone with the tip of his bowie knife, until no surface remained untouched. Whether or not it is enough, he cannot be sure, but it is all he could do.

He cannot leave.

Most likely, he will never leave.

Bram finds his way back to the chair and settles in.

Outside, a loon cries out as the moon comes and goes behind thick clouds. He retrieves the pocket watch from his coat and curses-he forgot to wind it, and the hands ceased their journey at 4:30. He stuffs it back into his pocket.

Another bang on the door, this one louder than the last.

Bram's breath stills as his eyes play back over the door, just in time to see the dust dance at the floor and settle back down to the stone.

How long can this barrier hold against such an assault?

Bram doesn't know. The door is solid, to be sure, but the onslaught behind it grows angrier with each passing hour, its determination to escape growing as the dawn creeps nearer.

The petals of the rose have already begun to brown, much faster than the last.

What will become of him when it finally does breach the door? He thinks of the rifle and the knife and knows they will be of little use.

He spots his journal on the floor beside the basket of roses; it must have fallen from his coat. Bram picks up the tattered leather-bound volume and thumbs through the pages before returning to the chair, one eye still on the door.

He has very little time.

Plucking a pencil from his breast pocket, he turns to a blank page and begins to write by the quivering light of the oil lamp.

THE JOURNAL of BRAM STOKER

The peculiarities of Ellen Crone. That is, of course, where I should start, for this is as much her story as it is mine, perhaps more so. This woman, this monster, this wraith, this friend, this . . . being.

She was always there for us. My sisters and brothers would tell you as much. But how so, is where inquiries should lie. She was there at my beginning, and will no doubt be there for my end, as I was for hers. This was, and always shall be, our dance.

My lovely Nanna Ellen.

Her hand always reaching out, even as the prick of her nails drew blood.

My beginning, what a horrid affair it was.

From my earliest memories, I was a sickly child, ill and bedridden from birth until my seventh year, when a cure befell me. I will speak of this cure in great length to come, but for now it is important you understand the state in which I spent those early years.

I was born 8 November 1847, to Abraham and Charlotte, in a modest home at 15 Marino Crescent in Clontarf, Ireland, a small seaside town located about four miles from Dublin. Bordered by a park to the east and with views of the harbor to the west, our town gained fame as the site of the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, in which the armies of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, defeated the Vikings of Dublin and their allies, the Irish of Leinster. This battle is regarded as the end of the Irish-Viking Wars, a bloody conflagration marked by the death of thousands upon the very shore over which my little room looked. In more recent years, Clontarf found itself the destination of Ireland's rich, a holiday setting for those wishing to escape the crowds of Dublin and enjoy fishing and strolls across our beaches.

I romanticize Clontarf, though, and in 1847 it was anything but romantic. This was a period of famine and disease throughout Ireland that had begun two years prior to my birth and did not find relief until 1854. Phytophthora infestans, otherwise known as potato blight, had begun ravaging crops during the 1840s and escalated into an abomination in which Ireland would lose twenty-five percent of its population to emigration or death. When I was a child, this tragedy had reached its peak. Ma and Pa moved us inland in 1849, to escape hunger, disease, and crime; and the fresh air, it was hoped, would avail my poor health, but all it brought was further isolation, the sounds of the harbor sought by my young ears falling more distant. For Pa, the daily walk to his office at Dublin Castle only grew as the world died around us, a damp web of grief lacing over all that was left.

I watched all this transpire from my attic room high atop our home, known as Artane Lodge, as nothing more than a spectator, relying upon the tales of my family to explain everything taking place beyond our walls. I watched the beggars as they ravaged our neighborsÕ gardens of turnips and cabbage, as they plucked the eggs from our chicken coop, in hope of staving off hunger for one more night. I watched as they pulled clothing from the rope-strung laundry of strangers, still damp, in order to dress their children. Despite all this, when they were able, my parents and our neighbors opened their homes and invited these less fortunate inside for a warm meal and shelter from the storm. From my humble birth, the Stoker family motto ÒWhatever is right and honorableÓ was instilled in me and guided all in our home. We were by no means well-off, but our family fared better than most. In the fall of 1854, Pa, a civil servant, was toiling in the chief secretaryÕs office at Dublin Castle, as he had for the thirty-nine years prior, having begun in 1815 at only sixteen years of age. Pa was substantially older than Ma, something that did not resonate with me until I was an adult. The castle was the residence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and his office handled all correspondence between English governmental agencies and their Irish counterparts. Pa spent his time cataloging these communications, ranging from the mundane day-to-day business of the country to official responses on topics having to do with poverty, famine, disease, epidemics, cattle plagues, hospitals and prisons, political unrest and rebellion. If he wished to ignore the problems vexing our time, he could not; he was deep in the thick of it.

Ma was an associate member of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, a major force in the food drives and relief efforts of Dublin, a post previously reserved only for men. Not a day would pass when she wasn't haggling with a neighbor for milk, only to trade it with another neighbor for cloth. Her efforts kept food on the table for our large family and helped to feed countless others who crossed our threshold in these times of need. She held our family together-and as an adult, I see that now, but my seven-year-old self would have testified otherwise. I would have told you she locked me in my room, trading my happiness for isolation from the world's ailments, not willing to allow even the slightest exposure.

Our house stood off Malahide Road, a street paved with stone extracted from the quarry near Rockfield Cottage. I was confined to the attic, its peaked windows my only escape, but I could see much from such a height-from the farmlands around us to the distant harbor on a clear day-even the crumbling tower of Artane Castle. I watched the world bustle around me, a play for which I alone was the audience, my illness dictating my attendance.

What ailed me, you wonder? That is a question with no real answer, for nobody was able to say for certain. Whatever it was, my affliction found me shortly after birth and clung to me with wretched fingers. On my worst days, it was a feat for me to cross my room; the effort would leave me winded, bordering on unconsciousness. A mere conversation drained what little energy I possessed; after speaking but a few sentences, I often grew pale, and cold to the touch, as sweat crawled from my pores, and I shivered as my moisture met the seaside air. My heart would sometimes beat fiercely in my breast, irregular, as if the organ sought rhythm and could not find it. And the headaches: they would befall me and linger, day upon day, a belt tightening around my head at the leisurely hand of a fiend.

I spent the days and nights in my little attic room, wondering if my last dusk had just passed or if I would wake to see the dewy dawn.

I was not entirely alone in the attic; there were two other rooms. One belonged to my sister Matilda, eight at the time, and the other was occupied by our nanny, Ellen Crone. She shared her room with Baby Richard, my recently born brother and her most pressing charge.

The floor below mine housed the home's only indoor privy as well as my parents' room and a second bedroom occupied by my other two brothers, Thornley and Thomas, nine and five, respectively.

At the ground level could be found the kitchen, a living room, and a dining room with a table large enough to seat the entire household, with the exception of Ellen Crone, who preferred to take meals alone after our repasts came to an end. There was a basement as well, but Ma forbade me from ever descending those steps; our coal was stored down there, and exposure to its dust could consign me to my bed for a week. Behind our house stood an old stone barn. We had three chickens and a pig there, all tended by Matilda from the time she was three years old. In the beginning, she had named the pigs, but around her fifth year she realized someone was switching the larger sows for smaller ones at least twice a year. By her sixth year, she realized those same pigs went to the butcher and found their way onto our supper plates. She stopped naming them then.

Over all of this, Ellen Crone watched.

THE JOURNAL of BRAM STOKER

Where to start? There is so much to tell and precious little time to tell it-but I know when all things changed. By the time one particular week came to a close, I would be healed, our dear Nanna Ellen would be gone, and a family would be dead. It started innocently enough, with a little eavesdropping. We were but children-me, seven; Matilda, eight-and yet that fall season was never to be forgotten. And it began with only two words.

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Dracul 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
16796797 3 months ago
Outstanding! The readers were spectacular and the story was told coming from journal entries leaving the reader to feel the story is a firsthand account of truth. Really well done!
Anonymous 4 months ago
I loved this book... One of the best Vampire novels I've ever read
AngelaJM 4 months ago
I was really excited to read this book, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It is a good book, but I found the pacing to be too slow, for the most part. Also the switching between present and past for most of the book didn't really work that well for me, and the switching of viewpoints at other stages sometimes interrupted the flow. It's a story that would have been better presented if it were shorter. It took me a long time to read, mostly because the slow pace stopped me from feeling compelled to keep going for more than half an hour at a time. I also found the ending to be somewhat flat after a final escalation of action. In terms of content, it does very much feel appropriate for the period in which it's set. It is worth reading if you like vampire stories, nicely atmospheric and Gothic. Some readers will absolutely love this, but it just didn't manage, sadly, to hook me. I received my copy through NetGalley. My review is my honest opinion.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I definitely didn't know what to expect when I picked up Dracul but I'm so glad I did. It starts off with a young Bram Stoker and his siblings trying to solve a mystery of strange deaths that have occurred in a nearby town. The events that transpire will ultimately come full circle and give the Stoker family answers they have been trying to solve for years. Highly recommend for fans of Dracula or gothic horror. This is one creepy scary read and at 500 pages I still didn't want it to end.
TheReadingDesk 5 months ago
The comparisons and connections between Dracul and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are inevitable and unavoidable. After all, this is the story of Bram Stoker’s early life, his family and what may have been the catalyst for his classic vampire story. Dracula has become the most popular monster figure ever, spawning a ubiquitous vampire theme across multiple genres. In Bram’s life, the second half of the 19th century, vampires were seen as pure monsters, whereas nowadays, we have them appearing as charismatic, powerful, intelligent, loyal and talented exemplars of human desire. We also see them as portrayed as pure ruthless and destructive evil. Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker treat us to a wonderful dramatic spine-chilling account of Bram Stoker’s early life, which is packed full of suspense and horror to rival the Dracula story itself, and considered a prequel. The story structure is very similar to Dracula, using an epistolary form, but over 2 time periods, the now of Bram at 21 years of age, and the past accounts of the Stoker siblings laid out in letters and journals from Bram and others including his sister Matilda and brother Thornley. The story combines factual details with fictional creativity in such a seamless manner that we cannot tell which elements are which. It all blends to accomplish a plot that adds unique elements and has us living a nightmare where our imagination challenges our fundamental beliefs. Our frail grip on reality slips as the unimaginable seems possible. The control in the writing to hold together the various threads and narrative elements is brilliant. Sometimes the pace slacks and this is especially frustrating during the transition from one journal account to another. The Bram of now sits in a room where we can feel the palpable fear and fatigue as he struggles to get through a night with a powerful monster that has multiple nefarious tricks and deceptions, locked behind a reinforced door. A door that is reinforced with locks, bolts, holy water, roses, and Holy Communion wafer paste. Reconstructing Bram’s history from his journals and letters from Matilda, tell of the nanny, Ellen Crone. A mysterious and miraculous saviour of Bram on a number of occasions. “It is clear he was meant to die as a child, yet his alliance with this unholy creature has garnered him more years; a deal with the Devil, possibly worse, if such a thing is imaginable.” When Bram and Matilda investigate her room and follow her into the countryside, they confirm her to be a preternatural being (in Irish folklore called a Dearg-Due). Even with the supernatural threat she carries, they have developed a caring relationship with her, especially Bram who has a deep extrasensory connection. The authors have decidedly followed the modern acceptance that not all monsters should be totally evil and perhaps there is a watchful connection with her. The birth and sickly youth of Bram, an early precarious climb up a castle tower, several isolated engagements, and the monster behind the door, convey an ever-present atmosphere of impending trauma. The sense of a precipice are prevailing themes throughout the story and are used masterfully to maintain a chilling suspense. The tone gets darker and more frightening in the second half of the book when more is revealed. This is a standalone book made all the more captivating with its connections to the author of Dracula. It does not feel like Dacre took advantage of his ancestral connection but rather added a
Anonymous 5 months ago
Review by Lou J, Reviewer Last updated on 04 Sep 2018 I Recommend This Book Strongly Remember …. don't trust anyone whose reflection can't be seen in a mirror .. or doesn't cast a shadow... or unexpectedly when observed in the daylight doesn't seem to be as powerful or formidable as in the cloak of darkness!! What we have here is a "guilty pleasure" … a fun read, analogous to devouring a hot fudge sundae. A tale that continuously is permeated with a sense of dread and foreboding... that was gobbled up in two sittings (unfortunately I had to go to work in between). Although billed as a prequel to the classic "Dracula" novel of Bram Stoker … it actually is much more and can certainly stand on it's own as a supernatural thriller. It successfully adds to the Vampire lore and provides valuable insights into the history of the origin of the novel and Bram Stoker's actual life. Bram is a pivotable character along with his sister Matilda and brother Thornley along with their mysterious caretaker - "Nana" Ellen (Crone). The story shifts back and forth utilizing passages in journals and letters penned by many , but especially Bram and Matilda, to advance the narrative. In the present we find Bram in a locked tower attempting to fend off multiple sources of horror behind a massive oak door … armed with only Holy water, paste from communion wafers and a special shot gun. We learn that much of Bram's life was spent bedridden with eminent expectation of his demise . At age seven his health acutely deteriorates with expectation of his death … only to have his Nana "intervene" with his unexpectant recovery to full health (and somehow his healing powers are even accelerated!). Matilda and Bram follow their "Nana" to a creepy forest and observe her disappearance as she submerges herself in a bog. The quest to shed light on her disappearance eventually leads to formation of a band of virtual vampire hunters … led by Bram, Matilda, Thornley and the Van Helsing-like figure: Arminius Vambery .. who is steeped in the ways of the Undead and possesses knowledge in their ways and weaknesses. Tension ratchets up as they journey to a remote village outside of Munich … to face off against the ultimate forces of evil. In an afterword by Dacre Stoker... he suggests that in fact the Dracula novel as we know it, is missing the first 100 pages and which Bram Stoker had to cut to achieve publication in England . But, Stoker submitted the original manuscript to other countries which published his definitive version? (the question mark is my own). He adds that the later published short story: "Dracula's Guest" was derived somewhat from these missing pages. Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group / Putnam books for providing this Uncorrected Advance copy of this gem in exchange for an honest review. (
TeeP2 6 months ago
Dacre Stoker (Bram's great-grandnephew) & J.D. Barker (of The Fourth Monkey) write this epistolary origin story (of sorts) detailing Bram Stoker's eerie experiences with his family's nanny, Ellen Crone, which eventually lead to his first encounter with a spectre, who would, in fact, turn out to be Count Dracula himself. The story is fiercely personal, told through the letters and journals of Bram, his sister and brother, and a colleague who helps them pursue the fearsome Count. It is a new story told about an ancient horror and I thirstily devoured every page! Dracul reads like a movie playing in your head with vivid imagery and precise (but not exhaustive) mood-setting. I recommend this book to fans of the original book, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Even if you've only ever seen the movie, this book's descriptive prose will instantly transport your imagination back to the 1800s with stuttering lanterns, rolling fog, and things that go bump in the night!
Sunshine1006 7 months ago
This story is told from the Bram Stokes prospective. Sick as a child with Nanna Ellen caring for him. Dreams that he had that were maybe caused by a fever. Bram, His siater, Matilda and brother Thornley all remember her differently. Does she get younger every year or older at times? Is this their imagination? Then one night she leaves with the bed of dirt that was under her regular bed. Before she left, Bram and Matilda had seen her do some very strange things. Once they are adults, they see her in many different places, but she is never there when they reach the place she was. Many characters appear, many situations. What is the truth and will anyone find out? Great story that is well written. If you like vampires, you will love those a story from a point of view not often used. I received this book from Net Galley for an honest review and no compensation otherwise.