¼ Anno Dracula Ô Download by · Kim Newman I hadn t read any fiction by Kim Newman before, though I ve always enjoyed his film reviews for Empire magazine I m pretty sure I haven t read Dracula either, though I ve seen plenty of film versions of it.
The twin premise here is that Dracula was not defeated at the end of Bram Stoker s novel, and that he existed in the same world as many other fictional characters.
It s hard to mention that second bit without thinking of Alan Moore s later League of Extraordinary Gentlemen There are other similarities, too, in that both authors have penned sequels taking their stories into the twentieth century Earlier books in a similar vein include Philip Jose Farmer s Wold Newton books credited here by Kim Newman , and of course just about every comic published since the 1940s.
Part of me wishes that Newman had limited himself to the characters from Dracula occasionally the book drives you off to Wikipedia to look characters up, rather than drawing you in to its plot but you can t begrudge an author his enthusiasms, and in general he carries it off very well Indeed, one of the book s most interesting ideas is that the differences between vampires in different books stems from there being different families of vampires, with different abilities, mentalities and relationships Dracula s line, for example, is said to be tainted, damaged and demented than most, because of how he died before turning.
For most of the novel Dracula himself is an offstage, pernicious presence When he does take centre stage, the wait was worthwhile Newman s Dracula is utterly terrifying.
Overall, this is a much plot driven book than you might expect, and, though the mood of fear, oppression and decay is kept at a high pitch, every word compels the reader to keep turning the pages The literary games are always subservient to the storytelling Similarly, Dracula s far from bloodless coup has serious consequences for Britain s society, from its class system to its political organisations and its foreign policy, but we only learn about those things as they are relevant to the story.
A brilliant book.
Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde, Mycroft Holmes and the Diogenes Club, Doctor Jekyll, Dr Moreau, Fu Manchu, Bill Sykes, Rupert of Hentzau, John Merrick, Gilbert Sullivan, The Invisible Man the game to play here is spot how many Victorian references the exquisitely moustachioed Kim Newman can cram into Anno Dracula although the real question is as always in these cases can he make them congeal into a book that matters I ve meant to read Anno Dracula for such a long time Kim Newman, whenever one sees him as a talking head on television, is clearly a horror writer straight from central casting There he is with his bushy and wonderful moustache, and his fine yet slightly sinister full head of hair, peering like a malevolent owl out from behind thick rimmed glasses, his voice mellifluously soft and measured even as he talks with amusement of the most brutal subjects Further, whenever I ve chanced across a story of his in the annual Stephen Jones collections, I have been rapt and intrigued and basically delighted Yet for all that, Anno Dracula has been gathering dust in the wish list of my mind for quite some time, and now that I ve turned the last page I cannot possibly fathom what took me so long.
Stretching his and our imaginations, Newman takes us to a world where the ending of Dracula is very different Instead of being defeated, the good Count proved victorious His attackers were scattered, Van Helsing was murdered his head ending up on a pike and Dracula moved to London where he met and fascinated Queen Victoria, making her his conquest and his wife Now it s 1888 and London is an uneasy city where vampire and warm cohabit suspiciously, each resenting the other and believing nothing but the worst across the divide Into this powder keg world steps an unknown man, a brutal and vicious murderer who targets new born vampire prostitutes in Whitechapel The powers that be in distant Whitehall and Westminster are aghast, the tensions in this Capital of the Empire are getting hotter and hotter and all it will take is a spark to make them truly explode.
Newman is clearly out to have fun Literary references pile onto literary references, then rub shoulders with real people and witness real events, so that the whole is a gleeful rush of the gas lit, hansom cab age I almost want to say that the sinister undertaker, Kim Newman, shovels the references in, but that makes the result seem decidedly less elegant than it actually is Yes, the references are piled up in abundance, but they aren t the book s raison d tre It doesn t matter if the reader misses an oh so clever allusion I m sure I missed than one allusion , as what s important is the storytelling This is a horror novel, a vampire romance, a social commentary, a sideways look at Victorian history which manages to combine the epic and the intimate, to bring together a collection of beautifully realised characters real, stolen from other literature, born from the author s own wryly terrifying imagination to create a compulsive and constantly building tale which manages to wind in the small moments even as its aims grow increasingly big and terrifying.
Blatant Victoriana this may be, but what s truly impressive is the fact that this in no way sanitises the Victorian age The disease, the filth, the terrible poverty and the oppression of the masses are all present and thrust forcefully into the reader s face They re not just nodded to, they are full and realised on every page, part of the plot, something that most of these characters have to navigate and contend with on a daily basis And that s what truly makes this book triumphant, the fact that all the gothic horror of the Victorian age is brought together and yet it s the poverty of reality, the desperation of lives lived at the bottom in the richest city on Earth, which is the most awful and stomach wrenching aspect.
It Is 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 Genevi Ve Dieudonn And Charles Beauregard Of The Diogenes Club As They Strive To Solve The Mystery Of The Ripper Murders Anno Dracula Is A Rich And Panoramic Tale, Combining Horror, Politics, Mystery And Romance To Create A Unique And Compelling Alternate History Acclaimed Novelist Kim Newman Explores The Darkest Depths Of A Reinvented Victorian London This Brand New Edition Of The Bestselling Novel Contains Unique Bonus Material, Including A New Afterword From Kim Newman, Annotations, Articles And Alternate Endings To The original Novel Gutted I had such high hopes for this one Unfortunately, it is the problem with a lot of steampunk style novels, in my experience it sacrifices plot, characters, any semblance dramatic tension in favour of Victoriana and corsetry This is clever dick writing, and I don t like it.
The broadest, hand waviest of plots Harker, Van Helsing Et Al fail to kill off Dracula, who survives, gets married to Queen Victoria, and establishes his own autocracy Jack the Ripper is still a Thing, only this time he s killing newly made vampire whores which means we get to have a bit of bodice ripping, check that one off your list , and our two broadly speaking heroes, a Victorian Gentleman Of Some Distinction, and a Vampire Lady Elder Who Even After Six Centuries Still Looks Sixteen, can go about detecting I mean, I assume that s what they do I didn t see that much of it The rest of the book, and it s a bit of a whopper, is of a mood piece There s no real progression There s very little conflict, and only sketchily drawn characters What there is, instead, is a cardboard cutout diorama of Everyone Who Was Alive in 1888 London Starting out reading this, it was exciting Look at all the people I know But round about page 300, I caught myself thinking, It s really taken you this long to mention Walter Sickert and I realised that I wasn t interested in what was going on I was looking out for the references, because that s all this book has to it It s four hundred and fifty pages of constant references Stoker, Conan Doyle, Gilbert and Sullivan, Tennyson At one point, someone openly wonders who this C Dodgson fellow is At another, Beatrix Potter incites open rebellion, somewhere in the background A chorus of clones of Nancy from Oliver seem to populate every other page, interspersed alongside newsboys, rowdy Londoners in pubs, upstanding policemen and mysterious Chinamen It s all very pretty window dressing, but that doesn t hold a book together, and it doesn t count as world building It s nicking other people s world building and stitching it together.
And when Newman builds his own bits of world, he doesn t really fare much better No character gets enough time for any development, and most are dismissed with barely than a hand wave The scenery likewise it s as if he relied on other people s storytelling to build a place that s already recognisable, and then decided he didn t need to add anything to it Inside Anno Dracula is the story I really wanted to read, set in a nightmarish twisting of Victorian London, and really dealing with the conceit of vampirism and an overblown climate of fear sparked by the few deranged actions of a Ripper like serial killer, shattering their delusions of immortality But that book was so sodding buried under references to Ruddigore and the Diogenes Club that it got confused, distracted from its purpose, started chasing its own tail until it forgot the point entirely This book wanted to be all sorts of things, at all sorts of speeds, but it couldn t decide which of them to go for, so it ended up missing all of them This isn t a novel, it s a set piece Four hundred and fifty overblown pages of set piece With pretensions.
I read Dracula last year, and didn t get on with that very much either, although for entirely different reasons, so maybe I m just not having much luck with vampires They re too easy They paper over too many cracks Sorry, Kim Newman no dice.
The title kept niggling at me shouldn t it be Anno Draculae Latin declensions aside though, this counterfictional mash up is quite good fun, if a little baggy The premise is that Dracula was not defeated by Van Helsing, but instead succeeded in his plot to take over British society, and ended up marrying and turning Queen Victoria As the Prince Consort, he now rules over a British Empire where vampirism is a fashionable lifestyle choice, and where historical figures like Joseph Merrick or Bram Stoker rub shoulders with such fictional worthies as Dr Jekyll, Mina Harker and Mycroft Holmes.
Although Newman s joy in playing around with these familiar tropes is everywhere in evidence, there is often a sense that he is interested in pastiching the conventions of Gothic Victoriana than he is in developing a really compelling narrative of his own Many scenes consist of clever ish little conceits that move the story on not at all And sometimes even as a period exercise his voice does not ring true amidst the pea soupers and Hansom cabs of the opening chapter was description of a streetwalker that mentioned her bangs , a word so completely at variance with the time and place that I had to put the book down and stare with bemusement directly into the camera, like someone from The Office.
The main plot revolves around the hunt for Jack the Ripper, here recast as a potential catalyst for open war between the undead and the warm But all that is very much a pretext for the main business, which is about crowbarring in as many references to obscure literary vampires and Victorian marginalia as physically possible Spotting them all is, admittedly, quite fun, although this newer edition spoils the game somewhat by including an appendix which makes explicit most of the references Perhaps ironically, the most compelling characters by far are the two that Newman has invented himself Charles Beauregard, a kind of proto spy, and Genevi ve Dieudonn , a four hundred year old, or less virtuous French vampire who looks like a teenage girl If only he had put a little faith in his own creations and felt less need to lean quite so heavily on his metafictional scaffolding, you feel that this could have been wildly successful.
As it is I still enjoyed myself much than some critics here seemed to though other books have done this kind of thing better, most of them came later and looked back to Anno Dracula when they did it Besides, Kim Newman s love and knowledge of horror conventions and B movie devices was, I felt, rather irresistible I find myself quite wanting to read in the series to see whether the prose gets any leaner and controlled, and indeed whether Newman s Latin improves.
Murder brought us together Murderers kept us apart.
Not the opening line, but it would have been a good one it actually comes much later This is probably quite a good book if this is your thing, but it s not mine, so I abandoned it In this alternative history, there s been a global ascendancy of vampires Dracula has married widowed Queen Victoria and he has expelled some from the country, after a feud that I didn t quite follow The narrator is one such refugee, on a ship to Japan The Emperor has decreed that there are no vampires in Japan, so those they do have live in a secure town, not unlike a leper colony There s espionage, an evil ship s captain, separated lovers, and struggles to survive Sherlock Holmes less famous brother, Mycroft, is a key character There is historical and imagined historical colour, plenty of rich language, sometimes crass exposition but not really a plot or characters I could engage with Given the Japanese setting, perhaps it would work better as anim or manga Image Seraph of the End Vampire Reign , contemporary Japanese vampire anim Source Maybe reading it in Firenze Florence didn t help too much of a disconnect But there was plenty of Halloween stuff in shops and restaurants, so I don t think that was a major factor.
I ve DNF ed this book at 20% Gave it a good shot, just not enough action and too much fluff.
If I was going to rate it against policy it was running at 3 stars, but I don t have time in my life to read anything that s not running at 4 stars by 20% in.
Now it s time to find a magic sword, open a Warren and war with a god it s off to Malazan.
This book was recommended to me by the owners of a gaming store the Magic and Warhammer type , and I was eager to read it based on the premise of vampires are out and taking over I knew that Dracula would be a character, and I didn t mind that the rest of the Dracula cast appeared as well in this version, Dracula s invasion of England was successful, and he has married and turned Queen Victoria What ended up bothering me was the ridiculous proliferation of spot the reference vampire appearances Lord Ruthven is there, Carmilla gets mentioned, Lestat appears, and there are repeated litanies of vampires that include movie, novel and television characters large and small Similarly, Jack the Ripper, Fu Manchu, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes all appear though not the good doctor or his detective friend of course they would have solved the case too quickly There are two major original characters, Beauregard the human spy and Dieudonn the vampire charity nurse Unfortunately, neither of the two has much appeal or charisma Dieudonn , of course, still looks 16 but has been a vampire for some 400 years Beauregard spies for the British government on multiple continents In fanfiction, Dieudonn would certainly be labeled a Mary Sue, and Beauregard is kept from Gary Stu ism by a mildly creepy engagement to his dead wife s cousin.
In the story, the Jack the Ripper killings are reconfigured to be murders of vampire prostitutes, and though the reader knows the killer s identity, the main characters search for the killer drives the plot The concept that vampirism has spread to the lower classes, and that there is a class divide between vampires as much as there is a species divide between humans and vampires, is essentially interesting But we come to know the lower class vampires only through Dieudonn s patronizing eyes she is of a different bloodline from Dracula, and refers to his blood as polluted , and given the rather disgusting afflictions that the poor vampires suffer a half bat child looms large , it s hard to feel much for them beyond polite pity Vampirism in this world does not always go well the aforementioned afflictions , but again, there is little discussion of the potentially rich topic of risk versus reward Beauregard discusses it only briefly with his fianc e The Ripper murders are deemed important by virtue of the fact that they threaten the vampires fa ade of immortality, and indeed near the end of the story there are anti vampire demonstrations by some humans But all out warfare never emerges, and the ultimate goal of the Diogenes Club hey, another reference in sending Beauregard to investigate ends up being kind of flat.
In the end, my problem with this book is twofold First, it isn t coherent It takes too much delight in name checks of characters from older works, which may delight the well read, but unfortunately annoy those of us who have not the massive mental bookshelf and DVD rack, I suppose of the author Too many characters pass through the story with a bit of a thrill of recognition, but no development or plot movement Dieudonn and Beauregard don t grow as people, and their attempts to solve the mystery are frustratingly slow and stupid, doubly so in that the reader already knows who it is The book can t decide if it is a political novel, a spy novel, a society novel, a murder mystery or something else, so bits of each are flashed before the reader and passed over My second problem is that the book has so many nice opportunities for something interesting, but it drops the ball every time Vampire class warfare Totally fascinating Any old schmoe can become a vampire Give me a schmoe to care about Vampirism not all it s cracked up to be Refreshing But none of these threads pan out satisfactorily For the first time ever, I found myself wishing I d read a Charlaine Harris novel just so I d have some comparison for the vampires are out trope.
Neil Gaiman is quoted on the cover praising the book, and I m not surprised, in that he does a lot of work in the similar arena of revising mythology I m not a huge fan of Gaiman s recent adult works, but little in modern literature visual or otherwise can compare to the beauty of the Sandman series Though I didn t get the references to comic book characters in that series, I did catch the mythological and literary references, and the repurposing of characters never bothered me Gaiman s own unique mythology of the Endless, and the persuasiveness of Dream as a character, were strong enough to make the other characters serve Dream s story, rather than simply guest starring Newman s narrative in Anno Dracula, and his original characters, just aren t strong enough I don t give a shit about Dieudonn and Beauregard I was rooting for Jack the Ripper s character almost all the way through the book.
Finally, I think this book is interesting in that it has made me question the nature of fanfiction Fanfiction is frequently derided, and often its reader and writership is described as predominately female But Anno Dracula is, in my opinion, clearly a work of fanfiction alternate universe crossover with original characters , and its author as well as the people who recommended it to me most highly are all men Does this mean that men are willing to read fanfiction if it isn t described as such alternate history books always felt like fanfiction to me Could there be a wider market for the tamer types of fanfiction, or for fanfiction in longer form There s been a long tradition of writing new cases for Sherlock Holmes, and Gaiman repurposes Shakespeare and Aeschylus, all clearly in the public domain Under the anxiety of influence, is everyone just writing fanfiction anyway
In Victorian England, history has taken a peculiar turn Queen Victoria has married Vlad Tepes, who has turned the Queen, restored her youth, and given her eternal life With the Queen of England and her Prince Consort counted among the undead, it s not long before it becomes a fashionable choice, and even a political necessity, to embrace the Dark Kiss that brings immortality High born and low born alike have renounced their warm lives in favor of the red thirst To accommodate the societal change, most business is conducted at night, silver is in restricted supply hide grandma s tea service , and humans increasingly find themselves in the minority In the midst of this societal upheaval, a new threat has emerged as poor, eviscerated vampire prostitutes have been found in Whitechapel, ripped by a murderer with his own violent agenda Welcome to A.
D the year of our Dracula Anno Dracula is an inventive premise that eventually collapses under its own weight Newman s novel builds upon a reimagining of events that occur in the wake of Bram Stoker s Dracula had it been history instead of fiction In Newman s Victorian England, the hunt is on for the murderer known as Silver Knife until he is given a new moniker upon receipt of anonymous letters signed Jack the Ripper Turning the killing spree of Jack the Ripper into a hate crime against vampires is brilliant, but instead of being the axis of the book s action it serves only as a loose framework We as readers know the identity of the killer within the first 20 pages, but this revelation never creates any real sense of dramatic irony If anything, it lessens the suspense that could have been created by a tense manhunt through the streets of London The characters purportedly brought in to track the murderer do little other than show up at the scene of the crime and discuss everything but Jack the Ripper No one character seems truly invested in tracking the madman In fact, it s possible to forget the Jack the Ripper angle for entire chapters as characters fall in love, fall out of love, and engage in all of the social duties expected of the upper class.
The two primary characters and it s hard to narrow it down to just two because you need to fill out a dance card to keep up with who you re supposed to focus on in this large cast a problem further complicated by a constantly shifting point of view between chapters are Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard Genevieve is a vampire elder, older than Dracula by half a century Mirroring European snobbery based upon pedigree, she is of the pure bloodline of Chandagnac and looks down upon those from the polluted bloodline of Dracula An undead philanthropist, she works in a free clinic for newly turned vampires, shows up everywhere looking beautiful and refined, and, for reasons that are murky at best, is asked to begin looking into the Jack the Ripper case because of her unique insight of which she basically has nil Charles Beauregard is a member of the Diogenes Club, a secret organization of powerful men who pull the strings in London society Charles rejects the idea of becoming a vampire, shows up everywhere looking handsome and refined, and, for reasons that are murky at best, is asked to begin looking into the Jack the Ripper case because of his unique skill set of which he basically has a silver sword concealed in a cane Given that these two have nothing to do at the crime scenes other than shake their heads sympathetically over the gruesome loss of life, it s inevitable that they will fall in love In terms of characterization, we re wading in some shallow waters Neither character seems anything than a fictional construct simply acting and reacting in ways that move the plot forward in a serviceable, if not seamless, manner.
In regard to the large cast of characters, Newman has considerable fun weaving historical and fictional characters into the plot Bram and Florence Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Beatrix Potter, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Mina Harker, and several Victorian societal and political luminaries either make appearances or are alluded to throughout Even Lestat de Lioncourt makes a brief appearance as a foppish rebel against the Christians who denounce the rise of the undead Now, initially this might sound like fun, but these characters make appearances so brief that they don t really add anything to the narrative It s name dropping in lieu of a clever conceit basically, it s the literary equivalent of spotting Angelina Jolie in a crowded airport, snapping a photo as she whisks through the terminal, and then boring everyone for the rest of your life with a photo of the back of her head And, in grandiose terms, you shall forever refer to this event as the day I met Angelina Jolie The book is not entirely without its merits and I can certainly see where hardcore Dracula fans or Victorian Era Anglophiles would enjoy the hell out of this As for me, it was a marvelously ingenious idea that ultimately felt as cold and stiff as a vampire sleeping it off in his crypt The absence of Dracula until the last 20 pages also added to the disappointment and, while the scene in which Genevieve and Charles finally visit the vampire court is horrifically twisted, I was disappointed in the anticlimactic ending that was over with too quickly and easily.
And now, for those who won t read the novel, a quick rant about the end view spoiler Okay, so, do you want to know how they defeat Dracula When they enter into Victoria s court, they find the bloated and naked Dracula sitting upon the throne, amid the animal like filth created by his progeny as they feed and fornicate and kill with gleeful abandon Chained to Dracula s wrist and held captive by a diamond studded collar, Victoria is kept like a dog beside the throne Now I admit, this stuff is AWESOME It is the antithesis of every Victorian ideal, all of which have fallen before the base and primal desires of Dracula Charles slips in the silver knife used by Jack the Ripper and tosses it to his Queen, who immediately uses it to end her own life.
So here s where I get pissed that s the whole plan to rid England of Dracula kill the Queen Then Dracula will have to bow before tradition and relinquish the throne to the next in line Dracula has been thwarted by the British line of succession to the throne Crafty buggers, eh Because when you re the most powerful vampire on the planet, you ve turned most of England into your undead minions, and you re possessed of a ruthless and barbaric intelligence, you will always always bow down before societal customs So Dracula basically just flies away into the night rather than face the still human heir to the throne and rip his guts out I was willing to give this book a 3 until this nonsense hide spoiler Steampunk Vampires A winning combination for me The reality a real struggle as I was assaulted by endless character introductions who flit in out of the story for the first 100 pages, with endless descriptions of what they re doing their world but with very little dialogue, interaction character building I hoped it was going somewhere will kick on It jus didn t as I read a further 25 pages which contained only 2 pages of dialogue interaction with other characters so sorry this isn t for me If the world building had been good I would have ventured forth having put the time in but it was so dry I found myself drifting near everytime I started reading this one.
1 star as I actually hated it found myself Zzzzzzzzz