Freda WarringtonAuthor of A Taste of Blood Wine, Grail of the Summer Stars, Elfland, The Court of the Midnight King, Dracula the Undead, A Blackbird in Silver Darkness... and many more fantasy novels and short stories.
Dracula the Undead... a sequel to Dracula
Dracula the Undead
Published in Hardback by Severn House 2009
Winner of the Dracula Society Award for BEST GOTHIC NOVEL of 1997
"Forgotten gem rises from the grave." - Amazon Review
First published by Penguin in paperback, 1997
Author's comment... To celebrate the 1997 Centenary of the publication of Bram Stoker's classic novel DRACULA, and on the strength of my previous vampire novels, Penguin asked me to write a sequel to Dracula. Thrilled to be given the chance, I aimed to write it with complete respect for the original novel, following Stoker's original style and characters - as if I'd never seen a Dracula film, never read any other vampire book. Rather, I tried to write it as if the original journals and papers and the experiences of Stoker's characters were all I had to go by. You can read an extract below.
The original novel came out in paperback. Severn House published it in hardback for the first time in 2009. This is a straight reprint, so I had no chance to re-edit or have any input on the cover. However, as you can see above left, the newer cover is very striking and handsome.
It has also been translated into French, German and Korean!
Scroll down for reviews, and an excerpt. As soon as it becomes available on ebook and/ or audio book, I'll post news. Meanwhile, you can follow the 'Buy Books' links to find copies online. (Update - now on Audible).
ELENA KOVACS'S JOURNAL
I have come a long way since I last wrote. When I left the farm, I took a bag containing only a few garments, a little food I stole from the kitchen, and my precious gifts from Madam Mina - my journal, dictionary, pens and ink. The wolf leads me again towards the forest... We have gone only a few hundred yards across the pasture when my father comes running after me in his nightclothes, shouting so furiously at me he is almost screaming. I freeze in horror. So enraged is he that his face is dark with blood even in the dim milky moonlight. He must have been spying on my window from his own room!
He catches my arm and orders me back to the house. I pull away and refuse to go. At that, he strikes me so hard that my head reels and I find myself lying on the grass, with the stars and forested steeps whirling around me. As I lie there, I see my pale friend growling at my father. My father begins shouting at the wolf, trying to frighten him away. But the wolf puts his head back and howls; and suddenly, from every direction, huge white sheepdogs come running, fiercer than wolves, barking and snarling, their ears down and lips drawn back to reveal ferocious teeth.
I see my father's expression turn to one of terror. These dogs are trained to kill. He turns and tries to run, but they leap at him, catching his arms and legs in their great jaws. One jumps at his face. He screams. I wish I could forget that sound, so raw, harsh and despairing! Part of me longs to help but part of me wants only to watch, cold and passionless - and the cold part wins.
I see Father fall down among the long white backs of the dogs. They rip and tear at his flesh. I glimpse his face and throat, a mass of blood. He stops moving yet they go on worrying at him, tearing at his limbs.Then my companion goes quietly between them as if he were their pack leader. His tongue lolls out to lap blood from my father's throat.
I cover my eyes. The next I know, my wolf is beside me again, urging me away with him into the trees.Although I am shocked, I feel only the faintest ache of grief, as if this had been meant to happen. He leads me once more across the wild terrain towards the castle. I stumble after his wraith-like form along deer-tracks and gorges, as if in a horrible dream. He must be a werewolf, I think, a man trapped in a wolf's form... nothing is impossible.
Some hours into the next day, we reach the castle. In the courtyard, with the stone walls and towers frowning down upon us, he leads me along a narrow, arched passage to an ancient door. A small wooden cross has been nailed to it, and a whitish substance used to seal the crack between door and wall; the wolf growls with head lowered to tell me most eloquently that this must be removed. The door is unlocked. I open it and pick the stuff away; it is a kind of putty, with other, papery matter mixed in. It has a smell of old, stale garlic. Someone has tried to seal the castle with wards against evil... to stop something going in, or coming out?
As soon as the door is clear, the wolf bounds over the threshold and into a low corridor. I feel intense tiredness creeping over me, and with it coldness and unease. I trust my friend but this place feels bad. Ancient, full of loss and memories.
He leads me down into a deep, ruined chapel, where faint rays of daylight fall through the broken roof. The air is thick with the odours of mouldering earth, as if a thousand rats have died here. And I see rows of graves and great tombs. A crypt! All is still and heavy with dust. So desolate. My companion leaves me and slips between the tombs, jumping up to look inside some. He looks less like a living animal than ever; he is spectral, skeletal. A thin high whine issues from his throat, hurting my ears. I move like a sleepwalker through this death, this horror, until all of it overwhelms me and I sink down on the earth floor. All I want is to sleep. But the wolf takes my skirts between his front teeth and pulls at me. As I look up, I find myself beneath a great tomb with one word engraved upon it.
I cannot encompass how I feel. The name means nothing and yet is familiar; it produces in me a sense of breathtaking awe and terror, and this feeling is so vast it seems to pass outside me to take in all the ancient chapel, the steep walls of the castle, the precipice and beyond, all the dark, wolf-infested forest...
Then the wolf leads me up a spiral stair into the body of the castle. He brings me to this room and leaves me, and here I remain. Where has he gone? Will he return? I am lying on a couch in a large apartment that I imagine was once light and pleasant with tapestries and rich furnishings, but now all is moth-eaten and draped with dusty webs. The waning moon rises. The only nourishment I have had is a bottle of wine I found, fifty years old and dark as blackberries. It was good, but has made me heavy-headed.
What will become of me? I look across an expanse of flagstones shining in the moonlight. In front and to the side are vast latticed windows, the stone mullions as delicate as lace, the night sky and the forests below the precipice all silvered by this mystical light. The whole window expands in my vision, a great lacy veil of white against which motes of dust glitter and dance. I feel hands stroking me. Soft voices laugh and sigh like glass bells.
'Sister,' they say. 'Sister, sweet sister.'
I am cold. So very cold.
Copyright (C) Freda Warrington 1997 and 2009
Some Amazon Reviews...
***** Forgotten Gem Rises From the Grave, November 23, 2009
By William Patrick Maynard (Parma, Ohio)
First published for the centennial of Bram Stoker's classic novel in 1997, the publication of Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt's "authorized" sequel of the same name earlier this year has given this excellent literary sequel a second chance at life. Freda Warrington is an exceptional writer and achieves what few if any other writer has done before or since - craft a faithful sequel to Stoker's original novel maintaining the author's distinctive voice and affection for his characters. Anyone who loves the Stoker book will be gladdened to see Warrington pick up the threads seven years on after the events of the original. Warrington does it so well, you'd think you were reading Stoker's own work. Warrington's approach to reviving Dracula is surprisingly original and believable - quite an achievement after decades of run of the mill movie sequels had long since jaded fans of the Stoker classic. The one lingering regret is that this is Warrington's only foray into the world of DRACULA. Her book is so good, you'll wish she would continue her spellbinding story of Dracula's return to the Scholomance in a second sequel. Highly recommended.
***** The devil's own, November 25, 2009
By E A Solinas (MD USA)
Freda Warrington has written one of the rarest kinds of books - a sequel to Bram Stoker's "Dracula" that doesn't, well, suck. In fact, "Dracula the Undead" is a glimmering gem compared to the mountains of Draculean dreck that are often published about the Transylvanian count. But even if you appreciate it purely on its own merits, Warrington's sequel is an excellent vampire novel - lush but formal, horrific and exquisite, with a deeply-rooted respect for Stoker's original novel.
Seven years after "Dracula," Van Helsing leads the survivors on a trip back to Transylvania, accompanied by an old friend of his, Professor Kovacs, and a downtrodden niece named Elena who soon befriends Mina.
But Elena becomes the instrument of evil when she befriends a Dark Companion, who kills her tyrannical father and leads her to London. Soon the Harker household is haunted by weird incidents, strange impulses and horrible dreams, which start to divide Mina and Jonathan - and Van Helsing soon discovers that the evil presence is none other than a reborn Dracula, who is intent on regaining his former power through Mina's blood.
And during all this, Kovacs has gone searching for the legendary Scholomance ("the devil's own school"), and uncovers a cocooned horror in an ancient mountain citadel. When Dracula kidnaps Quincey and lures Mina away to save her son's life, the little band of heroes rejoins to rescue her and Quincey - and as they return to Transylvania, they encounter something more evil than Dracula or any of his minions...
It's pretty obvious that Freda Warrington has immense respect for Bram Stoker's original novel, because "Dracula the Undead" is perhaps the most faithful, original "Dracula" sequel ever penned. Aside from the vampires, horror and demons, Warrington interweaves elaborate and unanswerable questions about free will, God, the devil, and terrible choices where there is no "right" answer (Mina forced to choose between her own soul and her son's life).
And Warrington makes a genuine effort to imitate the formal nineteenth-century flavor of Stoker's writing ("The path that winds down to it is barren, but for the mould of many autumns"), with a slowly-unfolding story made out of many letters and diary entries. And she injects her own exquisitely ethereal style into many scenes ("a great lacy veil of white and silver against which motes of dust glitter and dance"), amping up sensual side for both Mina and Jonathan. Not to mention Elena, who becomes fanatically infatuated with her Dark Companion.
The downsides: the story dabbles in a bit of Dracula/Mina passion, although Warrington never forgets that Mina's real love is for Jonathan. And there's a LOT of longwinded talking about God, evil, sin, and vampiric lust for life.
Dracula is perhaps the greatest triumph of this book - he's still an unabashed villain who kidnaps children, tempts Mina and wants revenge against those who "killed" him, but Warrington manages to add in a sympathetic edge to his personality (such as his passionate attachment to his dead brides and to Mina). Mina and Jonathan are also wonderfully sketched out, as their marriage starts to crack from Dracula's presence. Seward and Godalming don't have much presence, but Van Helsing finds himself in the terrible position of having his old friend and comrade turned into a vampire.
And many of the original characters are wonderfully in sync with Stoker's original ones: Elena is a selfish girl who allows herself to be seduced away by her "Dark Companion," Kovacs is a weak and rather pathetic man, and Alice Seward serves as a strong, kindly woman who seems unswayed by the vampires.
Forget the ghastly, diseased Dacre Stoker novel - Freda Warrington's "Dracula the Undead" is a brilliantly passionate, exquisitely written sequel that tries its hardest to preserve the original's flavor.