1/07/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Running Press/Constable Robinson. 368 page indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: $13.95 (US), £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-7624-3988-1.
check out websites: www.runningpress.comand www.constablerobinson.com
It must be a 'Twilight' thing with yet another book looking at the history of vampires. However, this book actually lives up to the title, it is in fact a very brief look at vampires because that is devoted to the first six chapters and the remaining ten chapters is actually the history of Vlad Tepes, the source of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Trow expertly gives a lot of background to the time period and as to how it allowed Tepes to rise to power and how he brutally sustained it and got his reputation for impaling his victims. If anything, I was left puzzled how in such a small area, he could have 30,000 people killed at a single time. You would have thought people would have done more than meekly wait for their death or that Tepes had such a large armed force that could keep such a number under control. In the concluding chapters, Trow himself believes the numbers were exaggerated as well as pointing out the number of people it took to do an impaling. Part of me wishes that such thoughts had been included in the relevant chapters to distinguish fact from fiction or rather exaggerated legend. Romania of that time period was an extremely bloody time, as well as the surrounding countries, so although Tepes was a monster, I suspect the legend and threat kept many of his citizens under control.
Having said that, the parallels of Tepes as a bloody monarch and a vampire does appear to be stretching things and even the Romanian tourist industry had little success in that regard mixing the two together. I suspect Stoker needed an interesting name from a remote source and Vlad Tepes Dracul fit the part.
As a history of Tepes, this book is first class, just don't read this book expecting to discover much about vampires that you didn't know already. For a Romanian history this is exceptional.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA