They’re everywhere we turn. “Twilight” and its sequels certainly brought out the readers in response to them, but they were around long before that.
We’re talking vampires. Bloodsucking creatures of the night who feed on the lifeblood of others, creatures destined never to die but forever to prey upon innocent victims.
The granddaddy of them all is, of course, Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic novel “Dracula”, the tale of a wealthy Transylvanian nobleman leading a double life and of a small group of people who vow to rid the world of the evil vampire.
This fall not one, but two sequels are seeing the light of day. Freda Warrington’s “Dracula the Undead” is a direct sequel to “Dracula” set seven years after the end of Stoker’s tale. Jonathan and Mina Harker can’t shake their troubling memories so, along with Van Helsing, they return to Transylvania to face the resurrected demon.
Bram’s descendant, Dacre Stoker, and Dracula historian Ian Holt have penned the authorized sequel, also titled “Dracula: The Un-Dead”, which takes place twenty-five years after the original novel. The scarred heroes are drowning their memories with drink and drugs when, one by one, they are attacked. At the same time, Quincy, son of Mina and Jonathan, begins to uncover old family secrets. This story connects Count Dracula to the historical figure Vlad Drakul (Vlad the Impaler) and characterizes him as a warrior devoted to God’s work. Thriller readers who enjoyed Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” or “The Dante Club” by Matthew Pearl will enjoy this.
Two brand new anthologies will appeal to vampire fans. “Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published” is, at 1,056 pages, what reviewers call a bug crusher of a book, containing every important vampire story from Goethe, Keats, Poe, LeFanu, Braddon, Ambrose Bierce, M. R. James, and other literary greats. This promises, as one reviewer put it, “a bloody good time for all.”
“By Blood We Live” collects more recent vampire stories, all written after “Salem’s Lot”. Such familiar writers as Anne Rice, L. A. Banks, Brian Lumley, Tanith Lee, David Wellington, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Tad Williams, Harry Turtledove, Erik Van Lustbader are sure to thrill.
These are not the only writers of vampire tales. An entire sub-sub genre of horror exists, frequently dubbed “romance with a bite”. This is the category that Mylinda Poteet enjoys. A big romance fan of Johanna Lindsay, she had gotten bored with the predictable formula and picked up a paranormal tale, “In the Dark”, in the grocery store ten years ago and was forever hooked. Her favorite writer today remains Christine Feehan, whose long running “Dark” series has been re-released. For Mylinda, the appeal of Feehan’s books is that the hero is a candy vampire--handsome, wealthy, immortal—all you want a hero to be, not evil or dark or gruesome. Other writers she enjoys are Lynsay Sands and Katie MacAlister, who write steamy and comic stories.
Vampire horror has also crossed over with mystery. Charlaine Harris writes the popular Sookie Stackhouse series, on which the television series True Blood is based. Laurell K. Hamilton writes another popular series starring Anita Blake, vampire hunter.
The Twilight phenomenon has brought to light a host of vampire tales for young adults from such writers as Amelia Atwater Rhodes, Annette Curtis Klause, P.C. and Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Ellen Schreiber, L. J. Smith, and Scott Westerfeld.
Teens would enjoy “Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side” by Beth Fantaskey. Seventeen-year-old Jessica, adopted and raised in Pennsylvania, learns that she is descended from a royal line of Romanian vampires and that she is betrothed to a vampire prince, who poses as a foreign exchange student while courting her. An Edward-Bella relationship?
And there are even vampire tales for kids. Deborah Howe’s “Bunnicula” introduces an adorable rabbit who sucks the juices of vegetables. And Justin Somper has crossed two hot concepts with his Vampirates stories.
We could go on and on with ideas for good vampire reads. One good online site to consult is The Vampire Library at www.vampirelibrary.com. Another good site is your library at www.tcplweb.org. And, as always, feel free to call us at 988-2541. Happy horror reading!