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Bram Stoker’s relative to write first prequel to Dracula

The prequel titled Dracul, which Dacre Stoker is co-writing with J.D. Barker, is set in 1868, and sees a 21-year-old Bram encountering some of the creatures he would later write about.

books Updated: Sep 11, 2017 11:42 IST
Bram Stoker, who fashioned portions of his character Count Dracula on aspects of Vlad the Impaler, used Bran Castle (in picture) in Romania as his model for Dracula’s castle.
Bram Stoker, who fashioned portions of his character Count Dracula on aspects of Vlad the Impaler, used Bran Castle (in picture) in Romania as his model for Dracula’s castle.(Shutterstock)

The great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker is writing the first authorised prequel to Dracula, based on scholarly research into the original, unedited version of the Irish writer’s 1897 tale of the undead Count, as well as Stoker family legends.

Dacre Stoker and co-writer J.D. Barker’s prequel Dracul is set in 1868, and sees a 21-year-old Bram encountering some of the creatures he would later write about, reports the Guardian.

The story focuses on Bram and his family, as a young boy growing up in Clontarf, Artane and Dublin. These parts were based on Stoker family background stories and knowledge, all of the existing biographies, and excerpts from The Lost Journal (Bram’s private notebook).

But the story will centre on Bram’s encounter with “an ungodly evil, which he traps in an ancient tower”. The book is due out next year.

According to Dacre, who also wrote a sequel to Dracula in 2009, there are 102 pages missing from the original draft of Dracula. He believes that only 17 of them have ever been found – published as the short story Dracula’s Guest by Bram’s widow Florence in 1914.

Dracula’s Guest features a nameless character – “very much like” Dracula’s protagonist Jonathan Harker, said Dacre. He makes his way to Transylvania, stopping in Munich for the night.

“(Florence) wrote in its preface that it was edited out of Dracula due to the length... The story fits as part of the early narrative, so most likely it was part of the missing pages,” the Guardian quoted Dacre as saying.

To write their prequel, Dacre and Barker have picked over the original typescript, as well as Bram’s notes and journals, to analyse what else the lost section might have featured.

They searched “for lines that were crossed out that may have referenced anything Bram had to take out of the 102 pages”, said Dacre.

“These crossed-out lines gave us clues about what may have been on those missing pages. Since Dracul is a prequel... We wanted to have a really good idea what was included in Bram’s original and unedited version of Dracula.”