The Curmudgeon


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Just Another Vampire Story

My novella The Voivode has received a very kind review from Gerard Cappa, author of Blood from a Shadow, an Irish-American conspiracy thriller set during this year's presidential election. I haven't yet read Blood from a Shadow, but I certainly intend to; and in these straitened times it seems only frugal to emphasise that my readers can buy both Mr Cappa's book and my own and still have change from a tenner.

The proximate cause of The Voivode was this attempt by a descendant of Bram Stoker's to cash in with a supermarket sequel to Dracula, which duly appeared in my local Tesco. Dispensing with the epistolary format in deference to the presumed intelligence of their readership, the authors cannibalised Stoker's notes for characters and plot threads which weren't included in the original book, and added the obligatory touch of postmodern would-be-cleverness by having Stoker himself appear as the producer of Dracula the play. The Voivode has numerous references both to Stoker's novel and to the historical Dracula; but I did have the good grace to leave Stoker in his grave, where doubtless he continues to revolve.

Still, writing an entire book purely out of literary vindictiveness is a little too much like hard work even for me, so The Voivode was also an attempt to write a vampire story from an unusual point of view. There are plenty of stories from the vampire perspective, and plenty more from the perspective of those human beings who hunt vampires, fight vampires or nurture teenage crushes on vampires over the course of a series or two. The protagonist of The Voivode derives instead from Dracula's servant, the madman Renfield, who is by far the most interesting character in Stoker's original and whose complexity is almost never done justice on film (this is an honourable exception). My character is a good deal nastier than Renfield, though, and has no Mina Harker to redeem him.

The beginning of The Voivode, with a link to the paperback edition, is available here.


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