I went to the British Museum recently, primarily to see the Vikings exhibition (which is still on until 22 June 2014). It was truly fascinating – I never realised the vikings used such a range of grooming products for one thing. However, I think my favourite items of the day were these mummified felines in the Ancient Lives exhibit – a little sad with me being a cat-lover, but really intricate and beautiful artifacts.
I thought I’d share how much I’m enjoying these novels, which I discovered in researching my MA dissertation. I would definitely heartily recommend them to any fan of Dracula or vampire literature in general, especially in these troubled times with their cultural atrocities against vampires (such as Twilight etc.).
I won’t say too much in case of spoilers, but Newman for his first book establishes Bram Stoker’s story of Dracula coming to England as historical fact. He then rewrites a particular episode in Stoker’s novel, ultimately meaning that the Count remains in England and vampirism spreads, actually becoming fashionable.
A quite incredible amount of research has clearly gone into all Newman’s books – they’re packed with historical events and characters (Oscar Wilde, the Elephant Man, Mata Hari etc.), many of which are intelligently given a ‘What if?’-style vampire twist. The Bloody Red Baron, the second in the series, grippingly reimagines the First World War with vampires on both sides.
I should say that Newman’s work mingles terrific horror with a tremendous sense of humour – there are quite often comical results to his ‘vampirising’ of history with a host of truly engaging characters.
The editions I’m reading (pictured) also include shorter stories by Newman featuring some of the same characters, which are worth digesting too. There were also proposals to make Anno Dracula movies, and some fascinating excerpts from potential scripts are included. So much visual potential! I’d love to see that one day!