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on 7 May 2011
I've got quite a few of Newman's books but, alas, I missed out on this when it first appeared almost 20 years ago (and it has now been out of print for the past 17). Despite living in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area, I've never in all those years came across a secondhand copy - and even the old UK and US paperbacks go for a pretty sum on eBay.

Well, thanks to the good folks at Titan Books it's now back in print - and not simply a reprint with a spanking new cover.

Think of this as the DVD equivalent of a 20th Anniversary Special Edition, for it comes with 120 pages of bonus material:

*alternate scenes and endings
*16 pages of annotations
*extracts from the author's unproduced screenplay
*and even a bonus short story.

Also, the main text features minor corrections to the 1992 edition.

Titan will also reissue the other two novels in the sequence, together with the long-awaited fourth volume, Johnny Alucard.

Got my copy this morning, and I'm really chuffed to bits: glad, now, I didn't fork out for an old copy off eBay or Abebooks - this new B-format edition is far superior.
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Anno Dracula is a novel that has been on my `to read' list for years. Mrs Cheesecake has mentioned it in passing many times. She read the short story version when it was first published as Red Reign, in the collection the Mammoth Book of Vampires in 1992. Her enjoyment of this prompted her to seek out the novel when it was released later that year. Mrs Cheesecake suggested that I give this a whirl when the re-release appeared again recently.

I read Bram Stoker's Dracula many moons ago, what self respecting horror fan hasn't? Anno Dracula is pitched as a direct sequel based on the premise that Van Helsing and his group failed. Dracula has survived their encounter and wormed his way into the highest echelons of Victorian society and marries the Queen to become Prince Consort.

Charles Beauregard is an agent of the Diogenes Club, a secret cabal tasked with protecting the crown. He is ordered to bring Silver Knife to justice and protect new-born vampires from the serial killers' wrath. Charles is the very definition of a Victorian gentleman. He comes across as single minded and driven. He is willing to sacrifice his private life in order to get results.

Genevieve Dieudonne is an elder vampire, older than Dracula himself, who works as a doctor in a charitable hospital in the heart of Whitechapel. She is appalled with the way the Count's bloodline is corrupting society. Genevieve is quite a mysterious character. She has been a vampire for hundreds of years and travelled the world but the reader only gets a small glimpse of her experiences.

The two characters meet at a crime scene, and discover they have a common goal. The two find themselves working together to stop the killings, and their partnership is one of the highlights of the novel for me.

The cast of additional characters in Anno Dracula is a veritable who's who of Victorian fact and fiction and this adds a depth and richness to the narrative. Everyone from The Elephant Man and Oscar Wilde, to Fu Manchu and Dr Henry Jekyll make an appearance. As a fan of old vampire/horror movies, I was also delighted at some of the other names that appear. For those uninitiated there are appendices at the end of the book where Newman details the various sources the character names are taken from. There is also information highlighting the differences between the original short story and the finished novel. There are even some scenes from a proposed movie script. All these extras were a nice added bonus.

Hiding just under the surface there is a strong social commentary running throughout that novel. Newman uses the vampire plague to illustrate the societal and economic problems of the Victorian era. The divide between the different classes is made that much more obvious with the additional split of humans and vampires.

I enjoyed the novel but I have to admit I was a bit surprised by how little page time the character of Dracula actually receives. He only shows up in the final chapters. Don't get me wrong his presence is writ large throughout but I expected him to appear a bit more often. In fairness, however, there are another two novels already published in this series, and it may be the case that he is a more central character in these.

From the dimly lit alleyways and opium dens of Whitechapel, to the throne room of Buckingham Palace, Newman captures the sights and sounds of Victorian London. There are some fantastic moments when the reader follows Silver Knife out on the prowl. If you have never read Anno Dracula before I strongly recommend that you seek it out.

Anno Dracula is available now. The second novel in the series, The Bloody Red Baron, is due for re-release next year.
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Many years ago (so many, in fact, that I believe I may have referenced it in the dissertation on the character of Dracula that I wrote for my degree) I read a short story by Kim Newman in a vampire-themed anthology which proposed that Count Dracula, instead of being destroyed by Van Helsing, could have married the widowed Queen Victoria and become the second Prince Consort, spreading a plague of vampirism through the nation.

This story was then developed into a series of full-length novels, the first of which, Anno Dracula, my brother bought me for Christmas. Anno Dracula expands on the above premise, taking as its setting a version of Victorian London in which vampirism is rife (and even fashionable) and the Prince Consort has brought back impalement as a form of punishment. Amid this steampunk-gothic dystopia, secret agent Charles Beauregard is assigned by the mysterious Diogenes Club to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper, who brutally dismembers vampire prostitutes with a silver knife. He's aided by Genevieve Dieudonne, a vampire 'elder' from mediaeval France who pre-dates even Dracula himself.

Anno Dracula is full of period atmosphere, whether we're meeting the characters in a dark Whitechapel alley, a disreputable pub or a fashionable society drawing room. Newman also appears to have put a huge amount of thought into every conceivable consequence of vampire rule which combined with the well-researched Victoriana makes for impressive world-building. Beauregard and Dieudonne; make an engaging pair, and Newman also makes a excellent job of developing a number of characters created by other writers, including Bram Stoker's John Seward and Arthur Holmwood and John Polidori's Byronic vampire Lord Ruthven (now Prime Minister).

The plot proceeds at a fairly steady pace and builds to an adventurous climax, although in some ways the plot itself is somewhat secondary to other elements of the book. Kim Newman is not only a prolific writer of fiction but also a renowned academic expert in all things horror, science-fiction and fantasy - and it shows. If you happen to have an interest in vampire myths, Victorian literature or horror cinema, the sheer number of mentions of familiar characters and events will make you dizzy; barely a page goes by without one and the character notes at the back of the book run to sixteen pages.

There is a degree to which this can distract from the story itself. Although I found it great fun because I share these interests and my frame of reference for this kind of thing is huge (my brother enjoyed this aspect too and gave me the book for this reason) I would imagine that someone less obsessed would miss out on a lot of the in-jokes and nods towards other sources, which are often included seemingly for their own sake. In other words, you don't have to be a hardcore Dracula aficionado and vintage horror fan to read this book ... but it helps.
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on 6 March 2006
This takes up the notion that Van Helsing and the gang failed in their attempts to stop Dracula from taking over the British Empire. A gripping read which moves quickly and builds to a fine climax. This also takes in many other literary figures, Jeckyll and Hyde, Allan Quatermain etc. which initially I found irritating but it all contributes to the sense of a time and place changed irrevocably. This also has a sense of humour without being flippant or undercutting the impact of the nasty events that take place. Well worth reading, particularly if you've read Bram Stoker's Dracula.
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on 14 July 2004
I bought Kim Newman's book 'Dracula Cha Cha Cha' a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it so much I resolved to buy the other books in the series. However, they appear to be out of print, and 'Anno Dracula' was only available through Amazon's (excellent) second hand book sales facility.
I was delighted when the book arrived, and the book itself lived up to my anticipation. There are so many literary and historical allusions to the era (1880s / 1890s )and part of the fun is seeing how many you know or can understand. They add to rather than detract from the excellent story telling.
This book should really be reissued.
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This is a fabulous confection of Victoriana Vampira; a glorious confabulation of actual history, fiction of the late 19th century and the cult of the vampire. It's wonderful. Stop reading the reviews and buy it: I was transfixed and swallowed the whole substantial tome in two sittings. Don't plan on doing anything else for the weekend!

Kim Newman writes pacy, fast-moving chapters which follow the action in Victorian London a few years after Bram Stoker's Dracula left off. Except in this universe, Van Helsing and co weren't the winners and instead Dracula's plan has come to fruition. The undead have seized the reins of power and are on course to dominate the world via the British empire, when Jack the Ripper starts his campaign of terror in the East End -- slaughtering vampire prostitutes in this alternate imaginary reality.
The result is a total romp, a thoroughly pleasing mix of Holmes' era detective novel and true gothic chiller. There are good and bad characters on all sides, and Newman gets to develop and explore his own interpretation of vampirism and how it might spread into the mainstream. Just about every well known vamp of the era gets a name-check, along with sundy dozens of recognisable characters (real and fictional). But it doesn't matter is all that passes you by -- the core story is itself extremely rewarding, with a big, punchy payoff.

This revised version, with all the extra goodies is really worth buying, too. I'd read the original novella, way back when, but enjoyed this version all over again.
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on 6 January 2016
Possibly a little unfair to rate this after reading only fifty pages on Kindle. I am a fan of alternative history and some fantasy genres, but I'm really not sure who Mr Newman intended this book to be enjoyed by. The cover would indicate this might be a fairly light hearted read, whereas the first fifty pages seem to be a quite serious and humourless portrayal of an alternative Victorian London with a growing power struggle between warm humans and vampires, whilst playing to the gallery by name-checking various real or fictitious Victorian characters. If the author wanted to portray a convincing alternative history / fantasy, all this Victorian name-dropping was distracting and inevitably limited new character development.
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on 5 December 2015
I read Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' as a young girl and fell in love with the movie upon seeing it. As a 30 something, both remain firm favourites which I've revisited many times over the years. I'm a lover of the true crime genre, as well as of historical accounts of pretty much anything and as many others, I'm fascinated by the Victorian era and find the dark and mysterious steampunk genre more hit than miss, provided there's not too much romance getting in the way.

Anno Dracula is a deliciously indulgent fusion of all of the above and more. I enjoyed losing myself in a few hours of pretty believable, if at a stretch, entertainment.

Everything a good story should be.
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on 21 October 2016
This took an age to get going and was packed full of real and imaginary characters, seemingly for the purpose of making the writer seem intellectual. Frankly, I got so bored with it a third of the way through and gave up. Not my sort of horror tale at all.
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on 11 July 2002
Anno Dracula is the first (and best) of a thrilling troligy from Newman, set in Victorian times, the old Queen has remarried, but not to British gentry, but to the famous bloodsucking Count. A fragile peace exhists between "Warm bloods" and Vampire's but someone is committing grusome murder in the alleyways of London and both sides believe it is someone from the other side.
Most of England's most famous Victorians feature in this excellently written tale.
A Fascinating theory well developed.
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