Dracula: the Un-Dead
by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
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It’s October, and even though the temperature is bouncing between hot and cool in much the same fashion as the ball on a ping pong table, there is still a bite to the air, and something indefinable that always comes as Halloween draws nearer. It’s an appropriate time, then, to revisit a classic horror tale. It’s an even better time to experience such a tale in a new way, which is what I did over the weekend, as I immersed myself in Dracula: the Un-Dead, the official unofficial sequel to Bram Stoker’s original novel.
Co-authors Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt do an excellent job of weaving their tale with Bram’s original, and with blending familiar characters with new ones. In this novel, however, Dracula isn’t the villain the original Stoker (Dacre’s great-granduncle) portrayed him to be – though, in all truth – neither is he sweetness and light. Mina Harker (nee Murray) is also painted with a slightly different brush. In this version of the story, which picks up 25 years after the Transylvanian Count’s apparent demise, she and old Vlad consummated their relationship in more ways than just the drinking of blood, and young Quincey Harker is not Jonathon’s son, but his.
Mother and son aren’t exactly the best of friends, however, especially since the younger Harker wants to pursue a career on the stage, and not in Jonathon’s failing law firm, while Mom doesn’t seem to be aging the way a respectable woman should. This latter is also a bone of contention between Mina and her husband.
It’s not just the Harkers who figure into this sequel, however. We see Seward, Holmwood and Van Helsing all dealing in completely different ways with the aftermath of their earlier adventure.
New characters enrich the tale in this novel. Notable among them is Inspector Cotford, a Lestrade-like police detective who is working the Dracula case while also trying to solve the mostly-cold case of Jack the Ripper. His associates are given names that vampire fans of the modern era will find either amusing or jarring, perhaps both. One is Price, but I’ll not reveal the others. Suffice to say that in-jokes abound.
All in all, Dracula: the Un-Dead was both satisfying and entertaining.
Even better, Stoker and Holt have left open the possibility of another sequel.