The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram Stoker's--and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here...

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents' Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen--a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen--and that the nightmare they've thought long ended is only beginning.

Genres: Historical Fiction / Paranormal / Vampires / Gothic

Authors: Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Hardcover, 512 pages

Expected publication: October 2nd 2018

Publishing House: G.P. Putnam's Sons

My Review

“She was there at my beginning, and will no doubt be there for my end, as I was for hers. This was, and always shall be, our dance.”
-Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Descend into the dark reality and fictional world of the man who wrote the original Dracula. An account of diary entries by Bram Stoker himself, woven into a fictional plot that has created this stunning prequel.

"What does that say?"
"The Dead travel fast"

Welcome to Dracul

(Bran Castle, Wikipedia )

“…for the devil claims their soul, and the gates of Heaven are forever closed to their ranks, as their final test requires them to renounce God and embrace all that is unholy.”
-Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Bram was born in Clontarf, Ireland near Dublin on November 8, 1847 during the time of famine and disease. Ill and very sickly, he spent his first years of childhood upstairs at Artane tower, where he was cared for by Ellen Crone. She was in need of a home and was welcomed by the family to help with chores and aid in the care of Bram.

During a time when bloodletting and laudanum were the doctor’s only options to care for mysterious illnesses, Ellen was the one that spent the most time with Bram. Alone…behind closed doors, she always made him better.

Riding waves of high fevers and leeches gorging on Bram’s blood till they almost burst, he was often incoherent of what was happening to him or around him. So what was it that she did that made young Bram recover every time?

“Nanna Ellen’s finger came away red with blood: my blood. “Do you trust me?’ she said. I forced a nod, unable to speak. ‘You shouldn’t,” she replied.”
-Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Mrs. Stoker had her hands full caring for the younger siblings Thornley 9,Thomas 5, and infant Richard. Matilda, the only sister was a year younger and adored Nanna Ellen too.

It is 1854, and the beginning of an unforgettable autumn. Despite his confinements, Bram spends a lot of time with his sister Matilda too. He never ventures out or has dinners downstairs with the family, but it only took two words that would change all of that:

“Burried Alive”

Nanna Ellen keeps disappearing for days on end sometimes. Her sickly appearance after each healing of Bram, looking flaccid and ghostly with red glowing eyes, changed only for her to return with no pattern at all, rosy cheeked and back to herself.

After the siblings make a discovery in Ellen’s room and follow her out into the night, the two of them have no idea what deadly quest they’ve just begun. From Ellen leading them into secret places to her disappearance into the fog never to return, they are left with too many clues difficult to forget.

Time jump /Bram Stoker Diary Notes:

“I will gut you from groin to gullet and dance in your ruins as the blood bubbles from your lips if you do not open this door!”
-Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

There is a monster outside the door and the stench of death and decay is seeping through. Wolves howling and prowling outside, voices inside tantalizing with his mind. How much longer will the garlic paste keep the door sealed before this being will break through? How many more crosses can the hold? Hours and hours go by, he uses all methods of his recollection to keep monsters away but slowly he seems defeated....mocking laughter is torturing from behind the door.

“You’re getting careless, Bram. You forgot to bless your flower; must be the fatigue setting in.”
- Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Back in time:

The siblings have grown and laid their childhood memories to rest, until Matilda sees a woman on the streets of Paris that looks just like Ellen Crone…but unaged and younger looking. Can this be? As Bram still prefers to forget, Matilda makes some investigations and presents him with newspaper articles about a mysterious death. A lead they will follow that will take them traveling all the way through Germany.

At this point the novel switches back and forth to the scene of Bram keeping out the monster and the continuation of the storyline as some other characters enter the novel, enriching the riddling and terrifying quest from the other end. It commences in a crescendo as they learn about the legend of Dracul and realize their own connection to the legend.

“You are at my home deep within the Carpathian Mountains….”
- Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker


I loved this novel from the beginning. A prequel that is equal its original predecessor and written by no other than the great grandnephew Dacre Stoker of Bram Stoker himself with the influence and experience of the talented J.D. Barker. The book that will be in my top 3 books of the year and an amazing addition to my Dracula collection.

(First Edition – Archibald Constable and Company, 1897 The Daily Mail, June 1, 1897)

As it has been said in previous reviews, according to the afterword in the book, it is confirmed that the original manuscript for Dracula begins at page 102, crossed out at the top and renumbered as page 1, the first one hundred and one pages missing. Research and cross referencing of those missing pages became the basis of this prequel. As the authors describe, the process seemed eery at times, as if Bram himself was looking over their shoulder.


I liked the way the novel was laid out between different timelines, each adding more dimension to the plot. For most of my reading my heartrate was elevated and I was unable to put the book down. Not expecting anything, I just let the story lead me through the twisty landscape and moments till the end seemed to seemingly fit perfect to the beginning of the original.

This book will be high on the popularity list with all those Dacula fans (incl. ME). Without going overboard in the horror, it offers the perfect amount of hair raising old class scare and tension. I am already ready to read it again. I appreciated everything tying in historically in reference to the German Walpurgisnacht (Wal·pur·gis·nacht /välˈpo͝orɡisˌnäKHt) and other bits of information. And one day I shall visit Walachia!

(Auf dem Weg zur Walpurgisnacht, 1760, Teniers d. J., Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin)

“End Him”
Latitude 47
Longitude 25.75’

As always, Happy Reading :)

I purchased a signed hardcover of this novel and I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you.

For further reading, here are some interesting links I came across:

I STILL cannot get over my OBSESSION over this book & cover!