DRACULA is such a gripping story, and the Count such a fascinating character, that both have spawned hundreds of adaptations, especially in film. Several books have taken Stoker’s story as a starting point and, in some cases, created something new and brilliant and true to the original, and, in other cases, didn’t. Below are some of the best…
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Alternate History, Literary Mash-up
Relation to DRACULA: Alternate history sequel
Summary: Van Helsing & co. failed to stop Dracula in 1885 and now, three years later, he sits on the throne of England as Queen Victoria’s husband. London is now a haven for vampires (including many recognizable from other works of fiction) and the city is shaken by the grisly murders of vampire prostitutes by Jack the Ripper.
Recommendation: This is a MUST READ for fans of vampire literature and/or Victorian literature. Spotting all the indirect references to famous and obscure characters is a joy (if you’re into that sort of thing) and Newman’s vision of vampires in society is clever without being gimmicky. His vampires are all the more frightening for the blending of the bestial and the civilized.
What makes ANNO DRACULA one of the best Dracula books out there (if not the best) is that the Vlad Dracula portrayed therein (though not seen until the end of the book) is a believable amalgamation of Stoker’s Count and the historical Vlad Tepes. Vlad was a warrior and a conqueror, a side we rarely see in versions of Count Dracula. But I digress. This is a topic worthy of a lengthier discussion.
Further reading: The Bloody Red Baron, Dracula Cha Cha Cha, Johnny Alucard
The Diaries of the Family Dracul (series) by Jeanne Kalogridis
Genres: Horror, Fantasy
Relation to DRACULA: Two prequels and one “secret history” re-telling
Summary: The first book follows Vlad’s descendant, Arkady Tepes, who knows nothing of his “great uncle’s” true nature. The second chronicles Van Helsing’s early education in vampires. The third re-tells Dracula with a hidden supernatural battle waging.
Recommendation: I loved it, but it might not appeal to those less interested in the fantasy element. It’s also not suitable for younger readers (but then, most of these aren’t.) Like Anno Dracula, this series merges the Count and Vlad III and goes further by giving us a glimpse into the Scholomance and Vlad’s pact with the devil. If you prefer your Van Helsing to be a worthy match for Dracula and not a bumbling buffoon, the second and third books may be for you.
Further reading: The series includes Covenant with the Vampire, Children of the Vampire, and Lord of the Vampires
iDrakula by Bekka Black
Genres: YA, horror
Relation to DRACULA: Modernized retelling
Summary: Like Bite-Sized Dracula, iDrakula re-imagines DRACULA with a modern twist: the journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings are now emails, texts, and web pages.
Recommendation: Not all the characters are present and there are some interesting pairings, but it’s still a great read.
Further reading: Black has also written iFrankenstein (though I haven’t read it).
The Heritage by Geoffrey Sperl
Genres: Action, Historical, Fantasy
Relation to DRACULA: Sequel
Summary: Set in 1938-39, Quincey Harker is called upon to use his skills and knowledge in an adventure involving not only the Undead, but also Nazis.
Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones and vampires this is a match made in Heaven. As a bonus, the project was partially inspired by Bite-Sized Dracula.
Further reading: The rough draft of the novel is up at http://quinceyharker.com/ but a revised version will hopefully be available some time in the future. follow @Galfridus73 for updates.