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Book Review

Book Cover

Anno Dracula
The Bloody Red Baron


Author: Kim Newman
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $14.95, Cdn $16.95
ISBN: 978 0 85768 084 6
Available 27 April 2012

Although Dracula’s hold over the British Empire finished with his expulsion, his reign as prince consort had the effect of normalising the inclusion of vampires into society. Now, he has his talons in German society, helping to run the direction of the First World War. Vampires appear on both sides, some fighting for and some against all that Dracula stands for. Deep in the fight are Charles Beauregard, Kate Reed and Edwin Winthrope...

Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron is a reprint of Kim Newman’s second book in the series. The books are being reprinted in the anticipation of his new novel this year (2012).

Although, the books have already been published, Newman has reworked the novel, including material missed out from its original outing; the new material works to pull the series closer together. Even if you already own the book, the new material will still make this a temptation. As well as the new material, Newman has included a novella (Vampire Romance, which follows the further adventures of Genevieve Dieudonne, as an agent of Britain’s most secret organisation, the Diogenes Club) and a prospective film script.

The main focus of the book is Baron Manfred von Richthofen, a powerful vampire who fights for Germany, and Edwin’s fight against him - a fight which almost costs him his own humanity. Newman mixes both real and fictional characters in his narrative, something which has almost become common place today, but the original novel was published in 1993, which put it way ahead of the pack.

A retelling of the First World War, with its devastating land battles and the lonely death of flyers, would seem to be fertile ground, and so it turns out. Newman’s descriptions of aerial battles are fluid and exciting, although, given the massive build-up to the Germans land push, the amount of pages dedicated to this much anticipated event, turned out to be a little paltry.

There are many references to both real and literary characters, for instance Poe turns up as the Baron's biographer and some of the fun of reading the novel is to spot the quotes, allusions and references. For those whose knowledge of early nineteenth century minutia is limited, Newman provides appendixes which explain some of the most important names and places.

Although, this is essentially a high class boys own story, the language is not so stylised. Newman has a fairly straight forward way of writing. There are a few instances of what would seem to be anachronistic language, although relevant to the time in which the story is set, such peppering's are never distracting or overwhelming.

It’s hard not to recommend this novel, both to those who may have already bought the original and those that have missed out on a fully rounded novel full of both fun and horror.


Charles Packer

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