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LORD OF THE VAMPIRES by Jeanne Kalogridis


The Diaries of the Family Dracul

by Jeanne Kalogridis

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-31414-0
Publisher: Delacorte

 Last of the Dracula trilogy begun with 1994's Covenant with the Vampire (not reviewed) and Children of the Vampire (1995), and a tasty feast it is. Volumes one and two were prequels to Bram Stoker's Dracula, while the new work carries the action straight into Stoker with an overlapping plotline that cleaves closely to the famous original-- and to Francis Ford Coppola's superb film Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the film, Anthony Hopkins played with huge relish the glorious vampire-killer, Dr. Abraham (Bram) Van Helsing, and since Van Helsing is the main character here, the reader finds it hard to divorce grandstanding Hopkins from the author's Van Helsing, especially when Van Helsing's lines richly echo Hopkins's, as when he describes the only way to save Lucy Westenra from rising from the dead: ``We must cut off her head, put a stake through her heart, and fill her mouth with garlic.'' The Lord of the Vampires is an intensely dark figure who first gave Vlad (Dracula) immortality on the condition that he kill the first-born son of each generation of his family. Kalogridis keeps her genealogical spaghetti-tangle fairly clear. Van Helsing, the mortal son of Arkady, a vampire whom Van Helsing killed but failed to behead, must save his own son, wealthy Dr. John Seward, who owns and manages the famous madhouse where insect-eating Renfield is kept behind bars. Vlad must kill Seward. Kalogridis's story quickly dissolves into Stoker's, and familiar scenes pass by, viewed from a fresh angle. The new storyline involves the radiantly beautiful Elisabeth Bathory, who has thrived for many centuries by murdering virgins (600 and counting) and bathing in their blood. She is in search of a magic parchment that will help her kill the hopelessly medieval Vlad himself and bring vampirism up to speed in the 19th century. Kinky sex, a sly, literate narrative and liplicking action, even if largely reheated. Fun.