J.C.'s Reviews > Vlad: The Last Confession

Vlad by C.C. Humphreys
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May 04, 2011

it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

When I was pitched this book, it almost sounded to good to be, well . . . good.

How many times have you bought a book (or asked for a review copy) and wanted it to be as good as the blurb, yet past let-downs jaded your hope?

I’ve never been so happy to be disappointed.

Historical Fiction can be a challenging genre to read if the author hasn’t take care to do their research. It also takes skill to weave that knowledge into a story seamlessly, never allowing it to detract from the overall storytelling, but to enhance it. When done well, it entertains and informs, tells a story of history with enough credibility behind the fiction to support and feed it.

Humphreys does this with his main character as well. Vlad, known by other names including ‘Dracula’, is a man many think they know much about, but in reality, the truth is overshadowed by unflattering propaganda. He fictionalizes Vlad’s life using as much truth as he could gather. He uses it in a way to be as fair as possible to the man while clarifying the forces which drove him to such brutal extremes in order to do what he felt was best for his country, his people, his faith.

This brutality was not innate. At least this is what the reader comes away with after reading Vlad’s story. It was learned, then reflected back at those who had used it against him as well as his enemies. This is the hardest part of the read and very disturbing.

Although Humphreys does not go into a great amount of detail, still, the heinous acts perpetrated upon Vlad, and the ones he inflicted on others is shocking. As much as I was prepared for it, it still had a powerful impact. It gives a complexity to the man that forces a re-evaluation of all that you have learned previously.

The most interesting aspect of this novel is the narration. It is told using the third person however, it is actually three people – those who knew Vlad best who are telling it. The writer mixes each voice to become one: Vlad, making his voice strong throughout.

The story is told in a linear fashion, allowing the reader to grow in understanding as Vlad descends in depravity. Not that it is to be excused, but at least there is a basis for it – a method to this dark Prince’s madness. The reader is left to decide if Dracula deserves his infamy, is misunderstood, or in a way a bit of both.

I have to warn you, this is a challenging read, not so much for some of its content, but the feelings that remain afterward. It makes you think harder about what it good, what is evil, and what happens when the two collide and combine within the soul.

I love this book. One of the best historical fiction novels I’ve read. It gets my highest rating and a strong recommendation.
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