Blood of the Impaler

Rating: 
3
Blood of the Impaler
Review by Pandora, submitted on 28-Oct-2001

Blood of the Impaler / Jeffrey Sackett. New York : Bantam, c1989. ISBN 0-533-28183-6 (paper) $3.95340 p.

The cover blurb reads:

The blood remembers...

Malcolm Harker is heir to the family fortune - and he is about to discover the family curse. Sunlight burns his eyes, consecrated wine sears his throat, and dark memories fill his dreams. The answer rests in his name, his ancient blood, and a terrifying legend that is much, much more than legend. It is fact.

The blood calls...

Malcolm Harker is an educated man. To unmask the lie that his family has accepted for truth, Harker must find the crypt of Vlad of Wallachia, the man once known as The Impaler. He must prove that the vampire prince holds no power over the blood coursing strong in Malcolm's veins... But when the century-old princess of the undead arises, the blood calls - and Malcolm will answer...

Blood of the Impaler

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Now for my humble opinion. :-) Not a bad premise: Dracula is not a work of fiction. All of the characters were real (with a few minor changes of name and place), and Jonathan Harker's descendants live with the tainted blood they inherited from Mina. This idea is interwoven with a history of Vlad the Impaler (told as flashbacks experienced by Malcolm, caused by Dracula's blood increasing in power).

Sackett seems more comfortable with Vlad's story than Malcolm's, though, and it shows. The modern-day sections are more clunky and the characters seem a bit wooden. There is a good bit of explanation about the characteristics of vampires (more theories for us to wrangle over! :-[) - the best bit comes late in the book when the devil (or Ordogh) is going over "the terms of the contract" one more time:

You shall drink the blood of the living and be a harbinger of death and terror, immune to the weapons of the mortals whom you destroy. The sword, the musketball, poison, fire, all shall leave you unharmed. And you shall be as a mirror image of my Enemy, Little Dragon, and so the looking glass will not hold your reflection, and in all things shall you be to Him as a dark twin. ...

 

... As He rose from the dead at sunrise, so shall you rise from the dead at sunset. As He walked upon water, so shall you be unable to cross water unaided. As He died impaled upon wood, and as you have delighted in impaling others upon wood, so shall your destruction be possible only by the wooden stake. As He gave His blood to others on that last night before His crucifixion, when He shared bread and wine with His disciples, so shall you share your blood with others and curse them with your own undeath. As He was transfigured on the night when He met with Moses and Elijah, so shall you transfigure yourself at will and become bat and wolf and rat and mist and wind. And as He shed His blood for others, so shall others shed their blood for you. -- p. 253 (if you're curious)

All in all, on a five-fang scale:

Technical aspects of vampires: [ [ [ [

Plot: [ [ [ 1/2

Execution (no pun intended): [ [ 1/2

Cover: 1/2 (what's that bimbo got to do with the story?)

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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