Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gothic Summer Reading

Yes it's true. Even during the bright sunny days of summer I still enjoy delving into a good, dark novel--and did I ever cross paths with one recently!

It all began back in the end of May when I learned that the local public library had scheduled a book sale for Saturday, June 1. It was just my luck that the sale was planned for the same day that the Confederate Cemetery, one of the two that I take care of, holds its annual vesper services. No, there would be no going to the sale for me; at least, not until the best offerings would likely, already have been purchased. Although I wasn't exactly grieving over my bad luck, I was bothered enough that I spoke to my friend Jeff about it one afternoon.

"Watch," I told him. "I'm probably going to miss out on some good Anne Rice because of this."

As it turned out, he was planning on attending the sale, so I asked him to keep his eyes open for certain  novels written by her.

"If you happen to find Merrick, Blackwood Farm or Blood Canticle, could you pick it up for me?" I asked. "I'll pay you back."

Needless to say, I never made it to the library that day, but the next time I saw him he mentioned looking for the material I'd asked for.

"I didn't see anything by Anne Rice," he told me. "But I did pick up something I thought you might like. It's out in the truck."

So, when he was ready to leave, I followed him to his vehicle where he handed me a book entitled, Lord of the Vampires: The Diaries of the Family Dracul, by Jeannie Kalogridis. I was already intrigued by just looking at the title and the book's cover. Somehow, I just knew it was going to be good. I thanked him and shortly afterward, took my new possession home.

I was still reading a collection of short stories and so, wasn't quite ready to start in on my new acquisition. Still, as I read the cover description of the story upon getting home, my interest only grew deeper, and once I delved into the publication, it didn't disappoint.

Now, I need to point out that this post is not an official book review. As a matter of fact, I'm only about one-third of the way through it. Further, Lord of the Vampires is apparently, the third and final installment in the Diaries of the Family Dracul trilogy. Considering how much I'm enjoying this book, I feel some sense of loss in my not having been aware of this series beforehand. In that case, I'd have started with book one. Still, the story is very much holding its own as a novel in its own right and I have no complaints.

The story, which is told in diary form, opens in the late fifteenth century with the appearance of none other than Vlad the Impaler as he faces military defeat. Determined to attain to a state of immortality, Vlad enters into a grotesque pact with a being called "The Dark Lord." You can probably guess what he becomes after making that deal.

The reader is next moved ahead in time to the late nineteenth century with the written words, first of Abraham Van Helsing and then the vampire Zsuzsanna, who has already gained my sympathies. Vlad now calls himself Dracula and his evil and cruelty seem to have no bounds. Oh yes, he's in his castle in the Carpathians and a good part of the tale is taking place there. Dracula is scheming and has even brought the vampire Elizabeth Bathory into his plans. Will she go along with him?

Between events taking place in the dark castle, a generous helping of romance and eroticism, Van Helsing's tribulations and a plot that complements but does not alter Bram Stoker's original tale, this book has it all. My nighttime reading is transporting me into a wonderland of Gothic imagery and story telling. I can't wait to continue the adventure this evening!

Yes I know. I'm horrible at cropping and the above photo of the book proves it. Still, I'm sure you can get the idea of what the book looks like. I think I'm going to remove the outside cover until I'm through reading it too. It's already getting funky and it's far to attractive to see ruined.

10 comments:

  1. Wow, Jeff did good! What a great find! I have never heard of this book or the series before, but after reading this post, it is now on my must-track-down-and-buy list :)

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    1. Jeff did very well indeed and I certainly hope that you'll enjoy the book when you find it. Of course, taste is always a very individual affair and there are no guarantees that you'd like it. Still, I'm willing to bet that you will.

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  2. This sounds excellent! I'm also putting it on my list of books to find. :-)

    BTW, have you seen the trailer for "Dracula Untold", which is supposed to come out in October? The CG looks awesome!! And the story sounds like it makes Dracula a would-be hero gone wrong. I can hardly wait!

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    1. Yes Lucretia, I have seen the trailer for "Dracula Untold." It looks intriguing to say the least.

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  3. That sounds like a great story to read. Nice of your friend to pick this book for you. I will definitely look for it :D

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    1. I sure thought it was nice of him. And the story just keeps getting better.

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  4. This book is going straight onto my reading Wish List too!! How fabulous that Jeff took the initiative, and purchased a book outside the "brief". Although, if he's your friend, I'm sure he'd know that 'Lord of the Vampires: The Diary of the Family Dracul' would probably be just your cup of plasma. ;)

    I wonder if this book series might be the inspiration for the upcoming 'Dracula Untold' film?

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    1. Actually Little Gothic Horrors, Jeff is very aware of my Gothic inclinations even though he's not Goth himself. He has read several of my short stories and often hears me talking about Anne Rice Novels.

      I don't think this book inspireed "Dracula Untold," although I positively can't say that. In this novel Dracula is quite nasty and brutal, even to his fellow vampires.

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  5. Thanks I am always looking for a new good series of books to read

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    1. You're welcome. I hope you'll enjoy it.

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