Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty was not quite what I expected. The story starts out with Joseph Barkeley, a book dealer and authenticator, being asked to look at what seems to be the original manuscript of Dracula by Bram Stoker complete with an alternate beginning and ending. From the moment he agrees to look at the manuscript to the end of the story we’re thrown into a whirlwind of deceit, dark family history, murder, and of course, vampires. They don’t sparkle when sunlight hits them. Joseph brings the manuscript to Romania to Vlad Dracul’s son Dalca, someone you don’t want to mess with on a good day. Dalca has eyes everywhere and ensures Joseph’s cooperation with looking at the manuscript for clues about his long dead wife’s burial site. Dalca is feared throughout the Romanian town of Dreptu and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Even turning Joseph’s own brother, Bernhardt, into a human slave (someone who the vampires take blood from) to get the answers Dalca wants.
As the reader is drawn into the story, we are given a lot of history behind Bram Stoker and his manuscript, along with the family history of Vlad Dracul (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler), and some dark family history of Joseph’s, which he would love to forget. The reader is led on the journey of discovery with Joseph and we are able to see what makes each character in the story tick and what drives their decisions.
Overall, I found the story to have an interesting concept but it fell short for me. I found myself struggling to finish it. I wanted to like it, but found myself losing interest near the middle before being drawn back in near the end. The story was well written but had too many places where Mr. Prouty got a tad bit wordy. I would recommend this story if you’re looking for some history behind the novel Dracula and Romania.
Amanda loves spending time at home with her husband and their dog, Oreo. She loves reading, playing puzzle games, beading and watching movies. When she’s not reading, she’s working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Putnam Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.