PRINCE DRACULA: Son of the Devil by Douglas Myles

PRINCE DRACULA: Son of the Devil

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Myles (The Great Waves, 1985) has, by his own admission, been ""half-mesmerized"" by Dracula, aka ""Prince Vlad III of Wallachia,"" ""Vlad the Impaler,"" and ""Son of the Devil,"" since seeing the Bela Lugosi film back in the 1930's. Here, he tells the stray of the 15th-century psychopathic ruler in an unhappy blend of scholarship and scatology. Dracula, as Myles points out, has been ""all but forgotten by history [and]. . . nearly totally submerged by myth."" When Myles sticks to the historical facts, he does a workmanlike job of explicating the immensely complex religious and dynastic rivalries that characterized the turbulent period. He is also able to sort out the dozens of participants in the narrative, from Popes to Sultans, Holy Roman Emperors to minor Balkan noblemen. But, un fortunately, Myles apparently has a lack of confidence in the appeal of this historical approach and has alternated these straightforward passages with novelized scenes remarkable only for the steaminess of most of the action--sodomy, rape, lesbianism--and the woodenness of the dialogue. When Dracula mutters, ""Dost doubt my power, knave'? Dost mock?,"" the reader may feel lost in a grade-Z Holly-wood epic. Many readers may be offended by what seems to be the author's, rather than his subject's, fascination with violence. Some historical insights, but these lie nearly buried beneath Myles' pornoviolent imaginings. Radu Florescu's and Raymond McNally's Dracula (1973) remains the definitive Vlad biography.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1988
Publisher: McGraw-Hill