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4.4 out of 5 stars50
4.4 out of 5 stars
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In a world where the very name of a certain Eastern Count is the very epitome of fear and evil deeds it was with great interest that I awaited the first novel by CC Humphrys to land. Not only has the author humanised the principle protagonist but rather than ridding the tale of some of the excesses of the "Impaler" they allowed the character the chance to explain their actions before a reading public which presented them in turn with the discovery that he was not quite the rogue agent that we've all come to believe.

Whilst many would prefer to keep the Prince as the Vampire of Legend who dreamt of new ways to torture his prisoners, CC allowed the reader the chance to see the man behind the myth and what he did to save Christendom from the Turk. Cracking historical fiction with a humanised Count who utilised the greatest weapon in his arsenal against an invader and a book that is a must have for all fans of the genre.
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on 3 April 2009
I don't read much fiction, usually opting for real history but I thought I would give this one a go and I am so pleased that I did. This novel exceeded my expectations in every way.

The idea behind the book is that 3 people, all of whome knew Vlad throughout his life are brought together to retell his story in a trial that hopes to re-establish Vlad Dracula as a hero of Christendem and not a blood thirsty monster.

Through these three narratives we are able to follow Vlad from his younger years (as a hostage in Turkey), into the prison where he learns the art of Impalement, onto his crowning as Voivoid of Wallachia and the war he raged with Turkey, and finally onto his final years as a fallen Prince feared and despised my most but still loved by some. Along the way we meet a cast of colouful characters that will stay with you even after you put the book down. Ion Tremblac his right hand man best friend and one of the few people Vlad trusts. Ilona Vlad,s love interest, the Sultans, Murad and Mehmet, Hamza Pasha Vlads mentor in his younger days and Radu Vlad's younger brother.

I don't want to give anything away as it will spoil the read but I did find myself at 2.00am saying "Just one more chapter" "I've got to see what happens next" and this sums up the book for me. It's moving in places as Vlad's relationships with his closest "friends" change and is quite graphic in others (the impalement scenes leave nothing to the imagination) but in the end it's a great story well told and that in my opinion is what makes a book worth reading.

The only negative thing I could find to say about this book is the chapters did jump ahead in time quite a lot (7 months later, 1 year later etc) but that's only because I wanted to know more, what happened in those 7 months? tell me more!

Give this one a try, I'm sure you won't be dissapointed especially if you have an interest in the real Dracula. However, if you are looking for a book about Vampires this may not be the ideal book for you, but it's still a great read and worth a try.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 June 2011
In this excellent title by CC Humpreys you meet finally the real Vlad Dracul, not the blood sucking vampire but the real man the prince, you learn how the legends were born and may have been twisted by history "History is written by the victors" and in this case they didn't write very nice things, but maybe that just goes to show how effective one small prince and his small army was against the Muslim hordes that were banging on the door of the Christian west?
This take told in a time slip style part confessional, part transported back to the events is a lesson in how to write very real characters, to make them live on paper, all action scenes are fairly short but even so leave the reader breathless and wanting more and at the end it does not wrap the take up with a pretty bow, it leaves the reader with the question of who is right, has history treated him badly? does he deserve his reputation?

I enjoyed this book so much it went down as my favourite book of 2009
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Vlad: The Last Confession: n/a

Vlad "The Impaler" - oh, how that name sends a shiver down everyone's spine. Most of us know that it's said that the Dracula tale is based on the story of Vlad, but, here, C.C.Humphreys has tried to show the story of Vlad, the man behind the legend not the man behind the Dracula tale.

This is a vary well written book and, although fiction, is based on what few facts (rather than the fiction) which still exists about the man. This is less a story about the events and more a story about the man. Whilst there are some parts of the book that talk about his actions (such as the impalings), they are not dwelt upon and are certainly not described in ultimate, bloodthirsty detail. This enables the reader to focus on the person and the reasoning behind his deeds rather than the deeds themselves. Having said that, Humphreys in no way tries to excuse the actions but allows you, the reader, to make up your own mind.

This is the second of Humphreys books I've read and in each case have found them absorbing reading.

Excellent book, but not for fans of Dracula as, apart from references in the forward to the book, that name does not come up.

Highly recommended
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on 21 July 2009
I have read many books in my time, but only a limited few have been able to maintain my attention to the point of not sleeping! This book is not about 'Dracula the Vampire' or the hundreds of myths and legends which have woven themselves to his name to the point of blinding the man, Vlad. I admit, when I brought the book all I expected were those stories, but instead I found something different. I learned of Vlad as a man striving to free the chains which held him and the people he loved. Although at times I was shocked and put off my lunch for 5 minuets, I have found this tale inspiring, because he never gave up fighting for what he believed in, no matter the cost.

C.C. Humphreys has done a marvellous job in writing this novel, and has found a new fan.
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on 17 March 2011
I stumbled across Vlad: The Last Confession after reading several reviews on this very page and decided to give it a go. I have a passion for reading historical fiction and works by the likes of Conn Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell etc

Whilst C.C. Humphrey's has certainly created a refreshing take on Vlad 'Dracul-a' I still felt he strayed towards the more fantasy elements surrounding the story of Dracula, no he didn't have Vlad baring fangs and drinking blood but he certainly leaned towards a more exaggerated course.

The writing at times was clumsy and certainly I found myself re-reading over certain sections of dialogue to get a firm grasp of what characters had said and to whom. Although the character development of Vlad is at times questionable in general the characters Humphrey's has created are rather good.

C.C. Humphrey's had his work cut out dealing with the real 'Dracula' because so little is actually known of the man and to a degree he succeeded but by his own words found in the Authors Notes one of his editors 'admirably restrains my tendency towards the Hollywood epic' perhaps in my opinion he didn't restrain him enough!
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on 3 June 2012
A truly brilliant read. I am a great fan of historical fiction, and this one ranks right up there with the best.
I am also a fan of Bran Stokers book but don't buy this if you are after a Vampire story. Instead this tells the story of the real Vlad the Impaler, who he was, what he did and what shaped him to become the figure of legend that he is.
It's a magnificent tale beautifully told of deeds great and terrible. At times I found myself literally wincing at the atrocities committed, but deep down I found myself sympathetic to the character of Vlad and longing for him to win out against the odds.
In the end I definitely didn't want to finish it, and I am pretty sure this is one of those rare books that I will want to re-read in the future. Thank goodness I got the Kindle edition.
Thoroughly recommended.
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on 21 August 2011
This is the first of this author's work that I've read and my, what a treat! His depiction of Vlad the Impaler is as grounded as you're likely to find on the subject anywhere. He pulls no punches on the dark acts that made this man's reputation; yet he manages to give the reader pause for thought, not to rush to judgement. Vlad's place and time - 15th century Wallachia - is brutal, treacherous and full of intrigue. We catch a glimpse of famous personalities - Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, Sultan Murad (his father) and Matthias Corvinus. It is a pacy read, with exciting skirmishes, plot twists and turns and was very difficult to put down. I recommend this title to anyone with a passing interest in VLAD TEPES. Well done Mr Humphreys and thank you.
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on 25 July 2012
This book took me by surprise Friends had spoken about it and having just finished Bram Stokers Dracula again, I decided to follow up with this book. The story is based on the historical wars between Eastern Europeans and the Turkish Empire. Crusades being waged, bribery.corruption and treason as well as sadistic torture. This book has it all. AS TO VLAD well you can make your own mind up, CRUSADER, WARLORD, SADISTIC MURDERER,or as believed to this day HERO.
The explination of impailing is very graphic and also torture and revenge killings very novel. Battles also enjoyable.
PLEASE READ THIS BOOK TO ENJOY THE STORY. If you want facts then there are plenty books out there about the Turkish Wars.
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on 15 April 2010
Well this is a bloody tale, but it is blood 'spilling' not blood 'sucking'!

Humphrey's gives the infamous 'Vlad the Impaler' the historical treatment rather than another vampire story. And lets face it this guy was scary enough without fangs, a bad hair do, a pantomime cape and a pet bat!
There are wooden stakes involved though they are somewhat longer than Buffy's and are not driven into the heart!

The author ackowledges it is the gaps in history that allows the historical author to thrive and Humphrey's makes full use of the somewhat patchy records in 15th Century Wallachia to create a kind of fall and rise, fall again rise again, fall... I could go on but you would rightly stop reading!

The book has two main strands. The Vlad story - What made him the man(monster?) he was, who were the people around him, was he justified in his rather brutal methods and just what happened to him.
Then there is the Turkish element. The religious tensions, the expansionist ambitions and the taking of Constantinople.

This makes for a heady brew and enough material for a couple of volumes, but Humphreys decides to keep the action within one book, and personally I want to applaud that as I do get tired of all these endless serialised historical sagas that need 5 years to conclude with huge gaps in between so that you have to practically re-read the previous novel again to follow the story and costs you about £50 all told!! (ok rant over)

Those of you who are looking for a Conn Iggulden/ Bernard Cornwell type book may be disappointed. The emphasis here was far more charactor study and personal rivalry than epic 20 page battle scenes. Action descriptions are short and low on detail and can often at the next page have jumped forward 2 years. I would perhaps have liked a little more but at the same time other authors can over do it with 3 pages of parry and thrust!

My only other minor criticism is that I did see a couple of the twists coming from some way off, something I'm usually rubbish at!
Also I never really sympathised with Vlad but then I'm not sure I was ever meant to. Humphreys rather points to the events that would warp anyones personality and asks US to judge Vlads last confessions!

In summary, a brilliantly written and researched work I would heartily recommend but would warn 'warfare' fans the cover on this edition is a little misleading. Think more 'The Borgias' than 'El Cid' and completely forget 'Count Dracula'
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