Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty

I spotted this book at the library and started reading it as soon as I got home. It grabbed me from the get-go and while it never completely lost me, it didn’t have the atmosphere or tension to keep me riveted. Yet I read it quickly and hope that Prouty keeps writing. I’d check out his second book.

From the publisher: When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.
      After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.
      Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present

What I Liked:

  • The plot was intriguing.
  • I like my vampires to be mean and nasty and they are in this book.
  • I’m a sucker for stories about book-loving recluses with scenes in archives, cemeteries, and castles. And, of course, Wallachia.
  • I appreciate and admire writers who attempt to write in the tradition of Stoker.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The atmosphere is definitely lacking. With the locales, characters, and plot line there could have been such richness. Prouty touches on it, but never dives in.
  • The female “lead” in this book is take-charge, intelligent, tough, old, and a native of the region, yet she weeps over an earthquake and then the self-proclaimed coward/hero comforts her? I didn’t buy it, it came off as wishful male fantasy.
  • In the end the brother seemed too much like a plot device.

Should You Read It?

  • Probably not if you don’t like vampires or only like hot, sexy vampires. 
  • Yes if you’re a fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I think this is a much better take-off on Dracula than the family-sanctioned “sequel,” Dracula The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt, which pandered way too much to Hollywood.

Stoker’s Manuscript
Royce Prouty
Putnam, June 13, 2013
Source: library
Rating: 3/5 stars


  1. Oh, it couldn't be worse than Dracula: The Undead, that's one of the few books that actually made me mad.
    I'll keep a look out for this one, I like mean and nasty as opposed to sexy vampires.

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