Book Review: Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

annordracula It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel follows vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

What would happen if Van Helsing had failed and Dracula had survived?

It’s Victorian England, Vampires are an established fact, and more and more people are “crossing over” to the Undead. Dracula is now the Prince Consort, married to a now un-dead Queen Victoria. His dirty blood line is being passed down into the lower dregs of society, into the prostitutes and lowlifes.

A killer, known as “The Silver Knife” has been killing vampire prostitutes in the fog bound London, and the newly dead Lestrade asks for help from an older Vampire to help investigate the killings. Meanwhile, the secret Diogenes Club sets its own “warm” investigator to pursue his own inquiries. Soon they join forces to progress to find the killer who has been renamed in the press as “jack the ripper”. It ultimately comes to a face off with a Dracula and his followers looking as you’ve never seen him before

Lots of fictional and non fictional characters have been included in the story. The Chinese elder vampire subplot I thought was a little redundant and could easily have been dropped – a lot of wordage was wasted purely to show how strong Genevive was (and how she recovered from her injuries). I think it could have been dropped in favour of the ending with Dracula.

Otherwise I think this is perhaps the best of the vampire books I’ve read. Certainly better than Twilight (spits into corner). I’ll be interested to compare it to the original.

What’s your favourite vampire story? Is Dracula still the best?

 

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