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Dracula the Undead by Freda Warrington

Dracula the Undead (original 1997; edition 2009)

by Freda Warrington (Author)

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Title:Dracula the Undead
Authors:Freda Warrington (Author)
Info:Severn House Publishers (2009), 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dracula the Undead by Freda Warrington (1997)



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Freda Warrington is a lesser known and underrated author of vampire novels. Her trilogy of 'blood' books, commencing with A Taste of Blood Wine, is hard to find, and I only managed to acquire a copy of her sequel to Dracula by chance! For all the effort, however, I would definitely recommend Dracula the Undead to fans of the original - authentic, dark, sensual, and scary in places, Warrington respects the narrative, characters and reputation of Stoker's work, while creating a worthy successor of her own. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this sequel is actually better than the original, with more depth and balance. Warrington doesn't ridicule any of the characters, or insert her own modern agenda, like some authors who take on the classics, but builds on what made Mina Harker and the Count so fascinating in Stoker's novel.

Seven years after the events of Dracula, Jonathan and Mina Harker are content with each other, and dote on their son, little Quincey. In fact, everything in life is running far too smoothly, so in a truly gothic plan to tempt fate, the Harkers accompany their old friend and ally Abraham Van Helsing to Transylvania, just to 'reassure themselves that the evil was destroyed'. Or not. Mina's presence on Dracula's native soil awakens the spirit of the evil vampire, who refuses to let an insignificant obstacle like incorporeality distract him from getting revenge on the stuffed shirts who plotted to kill him. Dracula manipulates a passionate and frustrated young girl, Elena, to stalk Mina back to England, there to do his evil bidding. Meanwhile, Elena's uncle Andre Kovacs, a good friend of Van Helsing, sets off into the Carpathian mountains to locate the fabled 'Scholomance', or school of the devil, where Dracula sold his soul to learn the dark arts. The keeper of the Scholomance, Beherit, has been imprisoned in the mountain for four hundred years, paying the price of Dracula's deception, and enlists Kovacs to help him send his immortal enemy back where he belongs - into the flames of hell. The living and undead come together to face an epic battle of good versus evil in the underground academy, but first Mina must decide between her own soul and the life of her son.

Yes, it's gothic, and fantastic, and melodramatic - Dracula wouldn't be the same without dialogue like 'I am so cold. So very cold' and 'You wish to make me a vampire!' - but there is also a thoughtful debate behind the rollicking good story. The diary format is stretched to the very limit, but then, Stoker himself took that particular narrative device to an omniscient level. Mina, Jonathan, Elena and Kovacs all write down their every thought and word, managing to find a scrap of paper and a pen, even when they break an arm or are trapped in the middle of nowhere. Yet the voices - and the intimacy - given to the main characters by allowing them to tell the story personally means that the reader shares the same fears and motives, and can empathise with the Harkers both. Jonathan comes across as a bit wet in Stoker's novel, but Freda Warrington portrays him as a loving husband and father who must fight not only a supernatural, external enemy, but also his own suspicion and jealousy. Even though Dracula is supremely clever as always, I found myself in support of Team Harker, simply because the diaries brought both Jonathan and Mina to life.

Mina is strong, practical - 'She has been my strength,' Jonathan writes, 'even when she so nearly fell prey to that foul monster, her spirit never faltered' - and yet still susceptible. Dracula's blood is in her veins, and she shares a connection with him that runs deeper than religious belief or social behaviour. Up until the fiery conclusion of the novel, I admired how Warrington developed Mina's character, maintaining the sense of unity and dependability established by Stoker, but also hinting at darker passions. She loves Jonathan, but behaves like a Victorian wife would. Elena, younger and unattached, is free to rant against marriage and domesticity, but Mina is happy with her role in life, and that is the impression I had of her character in the original novel, too.

Freda Warrington has done Dracula justice with this tense, atmospheric and (nearly) faithful sequel - the Scholomance is a claustrophobic nightmare, Dracula is a force to be reckoned with, and only Satan can stop him this time! ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 29, 2011 |
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Commissioned by Penguin books as a sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula for the centenary of the latter's first publication.
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It is seven years since a stake was driven through the heart of the infamous Count Dracula. Seven years which have not eradicated the terrible memories for Jonathan and Mina Harker, who now have a young son. To lay their memories to rest they return to Transylvania, and can find no trace of the horrific events. But, beneath the earth, Dracula's soul lies in limbo, waiting for the Lifeblood that will revive him.… (more)

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Freda Warrington is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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