Blood of the Impaler by Jeffrey Sackett (1989).
Still the same exciting and challenging novel I first read 29 Octobers ago.
Sackett is a fine writer, solid plotter, and a deft hand at character building: a truly fecund and confident aesthetic is at work here. Some may kvetch at multiple character p.o.v.'s within chapters late in the book, but I chalk it up to authorial exuberance.
This is the best continuation of Stoker's novel I have read, and deserves more popularity than it has received.
(Now available in an edition with a godawful cover art.)
I read Blood of the Impaler ten years before I finally read Stoker's cover-to-cover.
Both Dracula and Blood of the Impaler would have been emotionally incomprehensible to me at a younger age. Themes of responsibility, maturity, and social solidarity might be intellectually understood, but are not felt until the reader gets a little adulthood under their belt.
The dramatic impact of Sackett's novel, its central conceit: that Dracula is the anti-Christ, the reverse of the medal of the redeemer. Sackett is unafraid of Christianity, and of taking it seriously. Indeed, the great splattery climax of the novel would be meaningless (and impossible) without taking it all seriously.
Blood of the Impaler should not be forgotten. Or dismissed.
28 October 2018