One of horror’s greatest icons, the legendary Count Dracula has seen many incarnations over the years, in both book and film. In some cases, his vampiric nature has been twisted and turned to make him hero rather than villain to create sympathy instead of terror, arguably diluting his original impact. This hefty collection, edited by Stephen Jones, offers over thirty tales of the Count, all arranged in a chronological order to create a new history of Dracula beyond the original novel, through the twentieth century and even into post-apocalyptic territory.
It starts off with creator Bram Stoker’s prologue to his version of the play, presented in this volume for the first time, chronicling Jonathan Harker’s hellish time at Castle Dracula. Although its age makes it feel clumsy in comparison, it sets the scene perfectly for what is to follow. Jones has assembled a stellar cast of horror writers for this collection (first published as The Mammoth Book of Dracula in 1997), who each offer a compelling take on the character, and the effect he has on others. There’s lots of blood, as is to be expected, but some subtle moments too; if he’s not physically present, Dracula lurks in thoughts and feelings, a shadowy figure on the periphery of the story, his influence felt throughout by both characters and the reader.
Many of the authors featured in this volume are vampire luminaries – Brian Lumley, F. Paul Wilson, Kim Newman and Charlaine Harris spring to mind – and the book would be worth reading for their stories alone, but all the other writers have all provided excellent contributions to ensure the quality is consistently high throughout. Every story packs a punch and provokes a reaction, be it a chill, a turn of the stomach or even laughter.
Although this is essentially a hard-backed re-package of a collection that’s twenty years old, Jones has updated his introduction and the biographies that precede each story, ensuring this book remains as fresh as it was back then. There are extra stories, ensuring anyone who owns the original volume will want to get their hands on this one too. Rightly so; it’s a first-class collection that has lost none of its original bite, proving that the character of Dracula has not only endured but still has lifetimes of stories to tell.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DRACULA / EDITOR: STEPHEN JONES / PUBLISHER: PEGASUS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW