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Vlad: The Last Confession by C. C. Humphreys
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Vlad: The Last Confession (edition 2008)

by C. C. Humphreys

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2231552,123 (4)9
Member:J.Blackwood
Title:Vlad: The Last Confession
Authors:C. C. Humphreys
Info:McArthur Publishing (2008), Paperback, 365 pages
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Vlad: The Last Confession by C. C. Humphreys

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I bought this a while ago & in my continuing 2013 quest to read some of the lingerers on my Kindle, I tore into this one. I do have something of a fascination with Vlad (not the vampire) & really enjoyed reading a fictional recounting of his final confession as told through three closest to him. I really had hoped it would be something like Vlad's own words speaking to us in found journals or from the great beyod but I really came to enjoy the points of view of those closest to him. I think the main character is well known enough that I don't need to recount them here but I will say that the author spared nothing in the bloodfest & ruthless campaigning that was done. I thought it was necessary & certainly well written & ultimately does give one a lot to think about when trying to reconcile the man with his deeds. I don't think the author was giving Vlad a pass for anything but simply laying out the complexities of the man & that made for a good read for me. I'm glad that I read it but I probably wouldn't read it again (not a 5 star for me) but I will definitely read more by Humphreys. ( )
  anissaannalise | Jan 1, 2014 |
This is one of those hard books to review. I picked up the bargain ebook because I had seen some good buzz about it here or on another forum, my ereader was new and itching for content and it was on sale. It sat in the TBR section for several months because the time and place were not my favorites (I was "stretching" when I bought the book) and newer, shinier books kept bumping it back. I finally took the plunge while on a trip. I read it sitting around airports and on the plane, but it never quite grabbed me.

The story is about Vlad Dracula--The Impale--and I thoroughly enjoyed the craft of the writing. Humphreys is a solid writer. I particularly appreciated the framing story where--after his death--three intimates of the infamous Dracula (his best friend, his mistress and his confessor) were brought together to tell their stories in an effort to combat the propaganda being spread by his enemies. The narration is smoothly integrated with occasional visits to the "present" where third parties fill in background and detail--very clever. My only quibble with the writing was the twist at the end, which I didn't feel worked.

I also appreciated learning more about this historical character, but suspect I would have enjoyed one of the non-fiction books mentioned in the end notes more. In the end, the characters didn't pull me into the story, nor did the plot. There was a lot of graphic violence, but this is a tale about a man called "The Impaler" so I didn't expect different. I would have given it two stars for enjoyment, but bumped it up for good solid writing. Others with an interest in this time period and character will find it more enjoyable. ( )
  MarysGirl | Jul 18, 2013 |
This book was written very well and kept me glued to the story all the way thru.
I really liked the angle the author used to tell the story of Vlad.
Anyone who is into Dracula would love this book. ( )
  marysneedle | Mar 28, 2013 |
I began this book expecting not to like it. My name and heritage are such that I know a little bit about Vlad Țepeș, and I know a few words of Romanian, and have visited some of the locations talked about in the book - always a set up to be disappointed. And my experience with historical novels that reproduce the life of a historical figure has been mixed. But I'm glad to say that I enjoyed this considerably more than I expected.

The novel is a fictionalization of the life of Vlad Țepeș "the Impaler", a 15th century Wallachian prince and one of the inspirations for Stoker's Dracula. There's little known about him aside from a few major events, so maybe that's why the novel works: it gives the author room to create his own character(s) and their own motivations. And he does this pretty well. They were compelling and fairly real. Bringing 15th century Romania to life was a little less successful (compared to, for example, Sansom's success in bringing 16th century London to life in the Shardlake novels) but not a major impediment.

I have a few niggly complaints: the lack of diacritical marks for all the foreign words (Romanian, Hungarian, Turkish) is distracting for those of us who expect them and know that they actually help us pronounce the words correctly. And I have not figured out what the author was doing with some of these words. For instance the major church in Tîrgovişte, where some of the action takes place, is the Biserica Domneascǎ which is consistently called the Bisierica Domnesc. Is this a mistake? If not, then what am I missing? And the fortress of Giurgiu! OMG! In three pages it's spelled three different ways (Giurgiu, Guirgui, Giurgui) and this continues throughout the book. At first I thought it was bad copy editing, but now I think the author must be foolin' with us. If so, I wish he would let us in on the joke.

Anyway, minor distractions aside, it was enjoyable. Oh, by the way. If you are thinking of reading it, you better have a strong stomach. Vlad was not a nice guy and if you can't stomach descriptions of impalement and other tortures you might want to give this book a pass. ( )
  scvlad | Mar 3, 2012 |
I can't point to any one thing that was "wrong" with this book, but it just failed to capture my interest. I liked the premise and the characters were reasonably interesting, but I found my attention wandering every few chapters. I suspect that another reader will read and love this novel, but it didn't click for me. ( )
  Jthierer | Jan 29, 2012 |
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Epigraph
I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me. -- Terence
Dedication
To Alma Lee, lady of letters, adviser and inspiration. and In memory of Kate Jones, the very best of literary agents, and of friends. Sorely missed.
First words
All was still in the forest.
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Book description
DRACULA. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality. Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his story not of a monster but of a man - and a contradiction. For the one they called 'The Devil's Son' was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer. His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved, who he must sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes - 'The Impaler'. But Vlad's actions defy such labels. His extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade - there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his innumerable sins.
Retrieved from Amazon, 4/23/2912]
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Dracula. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality. Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his tale not one of a monster but of a man ... and a contradiction. His tale is told by those who knew him best.

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