Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bram Stoker Would Be Turning in His Grave

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bram Stoker Would Be Turning in His Grave

Article excerpt


DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD by Dacre Stoker with Ian Holt (HarperCollins, [pounds sterling]7.99)

DRACULA was actually quite a good guy. No really, he was; Bram Stoker got it wrong. Or at least that's the line being peddled in what claims to be the first "official" sequel to the original vampire novel, written by Dacre Stoker, Bram's great-grandnephew no less and apparently authorised by the Stoker family.

Dacre Stoker, as he confesses in a revealing afterword, is no writer, however -- being more of a professional sports coach -- but since he had the good fortune to team up with screenwriter Ian Holt, he had some help. "Ian reassured me that even though I had never written a novel before, I could do it," he enthuses. Especially, he might have added, since they landed a $1million advance.

There was the storyline to grapple with but again, help was at hand: "At times it was as if Bram were in the room with us, guiding us through the numerous hints he left behind, like breadcrumbs for us to follow," Dacre explains.

Fast forward to London 1912, and it's been 25 years since Dr Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Dr John Seward, Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris destroyed the bloodthirsty prince of darkness. Van Helsing has retired, Jonathan Harker has become an alcoholic, Mina hasn't aged a day, Seward is a morphine addict and Holmwood lives in his country pile, an embittered recluse. As the original concluded, Quincey Morris died in the good fight but step forward his namesake, Quincey Harker, son of Jonathan and Mina, who, having defied his father's wishes to study law, is following his passion to make a career on the stage.

At the Lyceum Theatre he meets a director called Bram Stoker, who happens to be directing a play about vampires -- not that Quincey knows anything about them or his parents' murky past. Meanwhile, Harker senior, Seward and Holmwood are being hunted down one by one and murdered in particularly gruesome ways. …

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