A sensual, terrifying, incredibly accomplished first novel, this fascinating prequel to the classic and most popular horror novel of all time, Dracula, focuses on Dracula's great-nephew, who inherits the job of managing his great-uncle's estate...and his appetite. Written in diary form as Dracula is, this compulsively readable book has revelations that will shock and delight readers of the original. More erotic than Anne Rice, Kalogridis is a major new voice in vampire fiction. The first chilling tale in an exciting new trilogy is a rich and terrifying historical novel set fifty years before the opening of Bram Stoker's Dracula. At the castle of Prince Vlad Tsepesh, also known as Dracula, Vald's great-nephew Arkady is honored to care for his beloved though strange great-uncle...until he beings to realize what is expected of him in his new role. It seems that either he provides his great-uncle with unsuspecting victims to satisfy his needs, or Vlad will kill those Arkady loves. He is trapped into becoming party to murder and sadistic torture. And it is in his blood. When Arkady learns that his newborn son is being groomed one day to follow in his footsteps, he knows that he must fight Dracula, even if it means death.
Jeanne was born in Florida , and has been interested in books ever since. Her interest in language led her to earn an M.A. in Linguistics. She taught English as a Second Language for eight years at The American University of Washington, D.C., before retiring to write full time.
She now lives in California with an overly adored Labrador retriever. Her outside interests include yoga and reading everything ever published.
We're doing a Halloween 2016 Reading Challenge in the Unapologetic Romance Readers group and one of the categories is a romance novel with blood on the cover. This proved surprisingly difficult, because while 80s and 90s vampire romance novels were content to own up to their gothic horror roots and splatter their covers with blood, modern day vampire romance novels are much more coy and more likely to feature a woman in a prom dress being coddled by a brooding heartthrob than, well, a bleeding heart.
Luckily, being the old soul that I am, I have a conveniently large horde of retro romance novels to dip into for precisely these kinds of occasions. COVENANT WITH THE VAMPIRE is not a romance so I'm technically cheating, but given that the summary of the book speaks of seductive caresses and the hero's intense love for his wife and child, I figured that this was going to be a case of blurred genres.
I could not have been more wrong. This is a horror novel in every sense of the word. I actually considered putting it down at one point, because it's just awful. There's incest and necrophilia, creepy vampire foreplay, and really unpleasant torture scenes that are described in gory detail although not, thankfully, put into practice. At least not in this volume - I noticed that there are sequels. Perhaps the author is saving those delightful little nuggets for laterz.
COVENANT WITH THE VAMPIRE is about Arkady Tsepesh, a descendant of Vlad the Impaler. He lives in England, with his English wife, Mary, who is pregnant with their unborn son. When he is summoned by his uncle, to care for him in his failing health, his return to Romania is swift. An imposing castle greets him, run by superstitious and resentful servants. Vlad is effusive when he receives the couple and seems genuinely glad for their presence but there is something creepy about him. Mary, especially, finds him off-putting, but can't exactly put her finger on why.
Things get worse as Arkady's sister, Zsusanna, begins to sicken. Various people affiliated with Vlad and his family in some tangential way disappear. One of the servants shows up wearing one of these missing men's watch fobs and rings with blood on his wrist. And, of course, Vlad continues being creepy. Arkady takes a hit as well, with powerful headaches that come and go without warning, and lapses in memory that he is unable to explain. Mary and Arkady are starting to suspect that Vlad's servants' inexplicable terror and loathing of their master are perhaps not so inexplicable, after all.
To be fair to the book, it is a faithful reimagining of Bram Stoker's original DRACULA. Like the original, this book is written in epistolary format from multiple POVs, and the build-up is slow, gradual, and atmospheric. Many retellings often just focus on Dracula, and I appreciated how this book incorporated Romanian folklore about strigoi, as well as vampires' servants and brides.
My problem with this book is that it was just too gross. A lot of the random scenes in this book felt like they were included for shock value. I'm not averse to gore and violence necessarily, but I do think it should serve some purpose. George R.R. Martin, for all his faults, can be excellent at using horrible acts correctly: to show the effects of extreme terror or loathing, or as acts of power by someone who is attempting to curry favor or fear. I did not get that same impression here.
The diary entries also did not work for me. All the characters sounded very similar - bland and disconnected. I thought the story was interesting and liked the twist at the end, but I felt like it was told in a very poor way and that the medium in which the story was delivered was a huge contributing factor in this.
As far as COVENANT WITH THE VAMPIRE goes, I am not a fan. I love vampire stories but I did not like this one at all and will probably not be pursuing the sequels. Oh, and yeah, I was wrong - it's not a romance. (Whatever, I'm still counting it towards the challenge.)
I'm not normally a fan of horror. Not that I don't like the genre, but I just never really found an author or horror novel that really made me want to find more books in the same genre.
Then I read The Historian and found that horror can be about more than just shock moments and blood. That book melded historical fiction (one of my favorite types of fiction) with vampire lore and myths about Dracula and yeilded a book that's one of my favorite reads to date.
Amazon recommended the Family Dracul books after I rated the Historian highly and reviewed it. And I'm glad I came across this book!
Similar to the Historian in a way (which is primarily told through a bunch of letters that is found by the story's main character over the course of time), Covenant With The Vampire is told as a series of diary entries written by decendants of Vlad Dracula.
Most everybody that's even remotely familiar with the Dracula legend knows some of his true history as well as the folklore: How he sold his soul in order to live beyond the grave, using the blood of the living to grant himself immortality and power. This book expands on an already rich and interesting subject. It delves deeper into that pact and how it would affect generations of Draculs for centuries. As it happens chronologically, this book takes place BEFORE Bram Stoker's Dracula
The book is quite addicting. Reading the characters' experiences and horrors in the first person via a series of diary entries really sucks you in as a reader and makes the horrors, loss and experiences all the more powerful. I really couldn't put this book down after I started it. Definetly what I'd call a pleasant surprise and highly recommended.
My favorite book by my favorite author of all time!
I simply could not put this book down. It read like music to me and when I was finished I emailed the author. She and I wrote back and forth several times and she was not only kind and geniune, but offered me sage writing advice that helped me in my own writing career!
I’ve tended to shy away from vampire fiction in recent years although I am a huge fan of the original Dracula by Bram Stoker and stories that take place in a similar vein (no pun intended). In other words, I enjoy the historical fiction aspects of Dracula, vampire lore, etc. much more so than the blood/guts, sexual innuendo/love triangles etc. that seem so common today.
This novel is the first of a trilogy and fits my preferences very well. It takes place over the course of just a few weeks in 1845, which is actually about 50 years before the Dracula story occurs. It’s told from the first person POV of three separate individuals, Arkady Tsepesh, his young (and pregnant) bride Mary, and his sister, Zsuzsanna Tsepesh. It is through their detailed diary entries that the entire novel is presented and that method works very well for it allows the reader to access their innermost thoughts when they are confronted with evidence of the impossible. It also allows the characters to sneak in and read the others' diaries to gain a better foothold on what is happening (and convince themselves that they aren't going mad).
The story takes a deep dive into the history of Vlad Dracul and the family tree as Arkady returns from England to his Carpathian home to bury his deceased father. But it is his uncle Vlad that begins the real horror of the story as it becomes evident who he really is. The pact or covenant that the family Dracul has with the local village population to protect them from the strigoi also plays center stage. What follows is pure vampire horror in the traditional gothic horror style as Arkady and his loving wife struggle in a war for their very souls.
I liked the writing style of the novel as it is very similar to the original Stoker style, reading like Victorian age literature. It drips with authenticity and while I am certainly no expert on all things Transylvanian, the language, the visual tapestry that the words paint, the place names and family names…it all seems perfect. The ending, to me, seemed a little abrupt as a very long build-up nose-dived off the cliff to a very quick conclusion. I would have preferred a little more meat to this part but, perhaps that is just me wishing the book wasn’t over yet. Nevertheless, it does set up the second book and the very real possibility that the plot may move to England.
I will eagerly turn my attention to the next two books of the trilogy.
“Is there anything more horrible than death?” ― Jeanne Kalogridis
In my search for the "Scariest Vampire Novels Ever", this book popped up on my radar. Published in 1995, "Covenant With the Vampire" is an old school novel with a gorgeous "touchy feely" cover.
The year? 1845. Prequel to Dracula, told via diary entries by Dracula's descendants. Kalogridis's writing echoes late 19th century Gothic. However, a discerning eye can tell it's not authentic 19th century prose. Fans of Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian" should definitely check out Kalogridis's vampire yarn.
There's a slow stretch half-way through the novel that crippled the pace, but the last 80 pages made the book worth the candle.
Not near as creepy as Bram Stoker's Dracula. Genuine feelings of dread and terror didn't descend down and around until the last 80 pages. I'm sure Kalogridis tried to scare me earlier, but it didn't work. Kalogridis described scary stuff. However, her prose didn't transfer terrifying feelings to me. Sensual sex scenes seemed tacked on. Arkady, his wife Mary, and his sister Zsuzsanna's diary enteries dovetail too perfectly, as if they were a well rehearsed profession wrestling tag team.
Gothic vampire fans should bump my rating to 4.4 stars.
Good, but nonessential addition to any vampire or horror collection.
Muy parecido a "Drácula" de Bram Stoker pero añadiendo el sexo, el gore y lo escabroso en la temática que en la época del original no se permitía escribir. Pero aún así, no deja de ser una copia de "Drácula", sobre todo al principio, que es lo que se me ha hecho tan largo. A más de la mitad del libro la cosa empieza a interesar... cuando el protagonista ¡¡por fin!! se da cuenta de que en el castillo donde vive hay algo raro XD Ha cumplido, sin embargo, mis expectativas, así que leeré el segundo de la trilogía.
This book is another pseudo-Abyss title. It was published right around the time the imprint began to lose steam, and it was horror, but it lacks the Abyss logo and name. I remember getting it when the imprint was still in existence, though, so I added this title to my Abyss project.
As for the book itself, it's not that bad. Kalogridis' style is easy without being simplistic, and the story she tells is engaging. Her characterization skills are good, and while she doesn't re-use any of the main characters from Dracula, she does, of course, include the count himself, and she writes him so that he matches the original character. My biggest issue with the book is that, even though it's not explicitly re-telling the story of Dracula, the thread of the plot is nearly identical to that of the original book. It's even told in an epistolary way (though restricted to diaries of the principle characters).
I wasn't thrilled with the ending, not because it didn't belong, but because it happened so suddenly, and a critical plot point was resolved off screen. What should have been an up-close-and-personal account of one character's choices is relegated to a line or two in the last few paragraphs of the book. I know this is the first in a trilogy (planned, at that), but for all the attention Kalogridis paid to other people's emotions during critical choices, she didn't put much in that one, which struck me as being the most critical for that character.
Even if I weren't committed to finish all the Abyss (and Abyss-related) books, I would still read the rest of this series, because I like the way Kalogridis writes. I can see fans of the original Dracula, and fans of Anne Rice's vampires, also liking the book.
This book started off well, but I found myself liking it less as it went on. Everything seemed like a rehash of Stoker's novel and the events progressed in pretty similar ways. The history of the Tepes line incorporated into an early conversation was very interesting, although anyone who has read 'The Historian' will be treading familiar ground.
One thing the author did very well was build atmosphere. The only thing I remember wishing was different about Stoker's novel was the time spent by Harker in Transylvania. I would've liked to read more about his time in Dracula's realm and that is something this novel provides, although we have a different protagonist. If you read it on a 'dark and stormy night' (like I read Stoker's novel for the first time)there might be actual frights in there somewhere. Reading by the bedside lamp though, what you get is a story that is slow to start off, has too many familiar elements and no actual frights. Kostova's Dracula was creepier. I found the sensuality to be a little forced too. The scene in the original Dracula where Harker meets the Count's wives is sensual yet creepy. Similar scenes in this book are just plain sensual and feel tacked on.
Thankfully, J.K didn't go the stupid Twilight way with vampires, which I find extremely silly and annoying. This Dracula is still menacing, although Kostova did a better job at potraying a prince who lived through centuries of change. Stoker's novel remains the best one on Dracula, if only for having better pacing.
This series is excellent! It captures a historical voice, but doesn't waste words or time. This series makes Bram Stoker's Dracula looks like just a ring on the hand of an exotic princess. So many things that didn't make sense, make sense now. I enjoy all three books, the original Dracula and Coppola's movie so much more!
Es complicada mi reacción ante este libro. La lectura es dentro de todo amena, esta escrito en forma de diario, cada personaje escribe su propio diario y son estos fragmentos de historia lo que nos llegan. Leemos a Mary, a Zsuzsanna y sobre todo a Arkady Tsepesh quien ha vuelto a su tierra natal en transilvania, para enterrar a su padre, y cuidar a lo que le queda de familia, su hermana (Zsuzsanna) y su tío abuelo .. el príncipe Vlad alias el empalador.. alias Dracul. Al principio de la historia nos vamos enterando de la vida y el pasado de los personajes, si bien no es aburrido porque tiene partes bastantes sombrías, no lograba engancharme del todo con la lectura.. razón por la cual me tarde bastante en terminar de leerlo. Pasando la mitad del libro y acercándonos al final, la tensión, el drama y los sucesos se desencadenan sin trabas y es lo que me terminó de enganchar para acabar con el libro en estos últimos días. Salvo todo lo que tomo para que la acción fuera más entretenida, lo otro que le criticaría al libro es... ¿qué manía les ha dado a los autores de hacer que los vampiros brillen o tengan luz propia? Mientras lo leía pensaba.. estos tienen Ki, Aura y tienen que incrementar su aura hasta alcanzar el 7mo sentido y gritar "dame tu fuerza pegaso" (bueno quizás yo deba dejar de ver animes o leer mangas XD Por más que lo describan como que el no muerto esta rodeado de una luz propia bla bla bla... no me termina de cerrar ni de gustar (ni hablar de los vampiros de crepúsculo y sus lucesitas de navidad T_T ) en fin, es la única parte de la descripción de los strigori que no me gustó. Por como terminó la historia diría que el 2do libro debe estar mucho pero mucho mejor, vamos a ver cuando me voy a la librería a comprarlo *-*
The author does a good job of creating atmosphere and mood. However, through the first 300 pages the story unfolds maddeningly slowly, then she crams so many developments into the last 50 pages that your head will spin. The ending seemed rushed and contrived. And then to find out that the whole book is just the set-up for the sequel made me want to scream.
I have learned something about myself. Apparently, I like my vampires to be self-loathing and relatively harmless. Which means I like Anne Rice's Lestat and Stephenie Meyer's Cullens, but beyond that I'm not a big vampire fan. In other words, I want the superhero, not the bad guy.
I went into this one asking if we really needed yet another Dracula retelling. At the end, I believe the answer is yes... Enough of a fresh viewpoint for this prequel that I'm happy to have run across it and enjoyed it very much. More sex and gore than usual, and the mix along with some original(?) mythology made it a captivating read for me. Not sure if I'll rush to the next volume, but I will keep an eye out for more by this author.
Diaries of the Family Dracul #1: Covenant with the Vampire, by Jeanne Kalogridis
"Covenant with the Vampire" is the first in a trilogy about the family Dracul, and is a prequel to Stoker's classic "Dracula."
Arkady Tsepesh and his wife Mary journey to Transylvania from London; Arkady is returning to his childhood home after the death of his father. He must take up his father's duties as the caretaker of Vlad, Arkady's uncle. Incredibly eccentric, Vlad shuns daylight and human contact, but welcomes strangers to his home...
As Arkady learns more about Vlad, he becomes increasingly befuddled and confused. His uncle flies into a rage over the smallest things, but is extremely benevolent at other times. And the longer Arkady and Mary stay at the castle, the younger Vlad becomes. Mary's own suspicions are aroused when Arkady's sister, Zsuzsanna, an invalid since birth, swings between death and vibrant life, especially after she sees Vlad and his niece sharing a night time visit.
Kalogridis pens a great tale for all vampire fans, filled with horror and chills, thrill and gore, suspense and excitement. I was a little surprised at how much I got into this book; reading it from start to finish in about a day. Her explanations for Vlad's past and present, and the origin of vampires are creative, and even fit into "Dracula." The characters are compelling; but the format of the story is a little limiting. "Covenant with the Vampire" is written in a diary format, alternating between Arkady, Mary, and Zsuzsanna. The diary format gives readers a view into each of the main characters, but also limits readers as the narrative is influenced by the writer they are reading.
"Covenant with the Vampire" isn't high literature, but it's very entertaining. I like that the author isn't afraid to go anywhere, and this is definitely dark fantasy.
I actually would like to give this three and a half stars...
I really enjoyed the story, with the new take on the Dracula legend. It's a great interpretation on the legend, and a way to make it fresh again. The diary concept was also great--there was such an internal element to all of the events that if you had had only one person giving a first person account, so much would have been missed. The characters were compelling, if a little dense at times, and the scenery was well imagined.
I had a few problems with the writing. Kalogridis used waaaaaay too many $2 words when normal everyday language would've made more impact. Although she may have been trying to emulate the more flowery language of the era in which the book is based, it still made reading the book a more trying experience than it needed to be. Also, the "sex" scenes...she tried so hard to make them shocking that they were just ridiculous. They were also really unnecessary, for the most part, to the understanding of the story as it was. I think Anne Rice does the "sensual vampire" thing way better, and it felt like Kalogridis was just reaching for that but not quite getting there.
Overall, a good read, and recommended for vampire literature enthusiasts.
Escrito con el estilo del Dracula de Bram Stoker, apuntes de diarios, la visión de un primogénito de la descendencia de Vlad Tepes, su esposa embarazada y su hermana enferma, unidos en Transilvania tras la muerte de su padre y el vínculo con el tío abuelo Vlad Tepesh. Ante la grandiosa ausencia de un Van Helsing que traiga la solución a sus problemas, sino las viejas leyendas Transilvanas y los extraños sucesos que cada uno vive y plasma en su diario, poco a poco se va desatando un desenlace inesperado, quizás para este primer libro de la trilogía a la que pertenece. ¿Que hay detrás del pacto de Dracul? Tantas generaciones de primogénitos y parientes deformes, dan paso a la evolución de un conflicto entre alguien que no era su destino ser el indicado para continuar el pacto, pero si el ideal para romperlo o para modificarlo...muy buen libro, incluido en mi colección del Dracula de Stoker y La Historiadora de Kostova.
You love vampires? And not the sparkly abusive kind? This is for you, a sort of prequel to the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. Written beautifully, fast paced and creepy as hell! I personnally read it in only two sittings.
There a lot (too many) vampire books on the market right now. Works like those by the brilliant Anne Rice are being ignored since they are just as much "historical" as they are "Vampirific" Indeed, a number of novels have tried to attached themselves to the Dracula legacy started by Bram Stoker. Few deserve mention... this book is an exception.
Written in the same style of letters and journal entries that the original Stoker novel was composed in, the prose echoes the time period in mood and sensibilities. A prequel occurring some 50 years before the events in "Dracula," we are given access to the history of Tepes family line, the linking of Vlad The Impaler, Son of Dracul to the infamous novel. Mysterious and gruesome, seductive and heart-breaking, it is a worthy novel to stand beside the original of your bookshelf.
The last fifty something pages were the best part of the book. I think because I knew I was reaching the end. The rest of the book, the three hundred pages before were just dragging on...
For a horror novel, there wasn't a lot of horror in it. There was no gore and it was just depressing. Unless the "Horror" aspects were necrophilia and incest. And that's not horror that's just really nasty.
I also couldn't believe that the author kept referring to a character by their first initial. It was just annoying and I was wondering if they were trying to save pages.
Either way, this is a series I have no interest in continuing. The ending was sort of predictable.
Only positive, a lot of the vampire "lore" was adhered to. So that was something.
One of THE absolute best Dracula-vampire stories I have EVER read. If you claim you love vampire fiction, then do yourself a favor and read this book/series now. Serving as an unofficial prequel of sorts to Bram Stoker's Dracula, it gets to the actual storytelling fairly quickly. While it does have some exposition phases, for the most part, CwtV is more show-action than tell-action (as a lot of novels in this genre tend to be). The eroticism can be a bit overwhelming if you're not used to that kind of prose but make no mistake, this is a vampire novel through and through
reading for May's bookclub meeting.. I started it yesterday and have only 129 pages to go (out of 352). It's a quick read so far, not a challenging vocabulary. So far it can be summed up as "a guilty pleasure read".
Ok So I finished, and I'm disappointed. It seems as if the author was in a rush to meet her deadline and crammed way too much into the last 40 pages or so. There was some unnecessary graphic content that didn't do anything to further the plot. All in all, I was left confused and am not sure I'll read anything else by this author.
I read this book eons ago, I had taken it out from the library, and years later I couldn't for the life of me remember what the title was and its been driving me crazy because I wanted to read it again. The series is a really original take on an old story and I've finally been able to find it again and re-read it. Its just as awesome the second time around! I'm so glad I found it again!
It's Dracula and somewhat accurate to the history, but it throws in Elizabeth Bathory at the end of the series (which is awesome!). It's a very good read, but I will warn you, it's even a bit angsty and twisted. It's the evil Dracula that we're taught about in school (or rather, I was). It even has Van Helsing, or one of his children--it's a good twist of a story.
I loved Kalogridis historic fiction novel, so i was pretty excited to read a book about VAMPIRES from her. I thought the book would be fast paced and filled with incredible detail; however, I was so disappointed.... The story just didn't do it for me, I was expecting it to be richer and perhaps a bit more historic. I don't think I'll be reading the rest of the series
I read this on the suggestion of an ex who swore up and down that it was the greatest vampire novel since Dracula. I tried so hard to give it the benefit of the doubt but unfortunately, I found this to be rather dull. The plot dragged, it struggled to hold my attention. Nonetheless, I finished it and cannot say I will be reading any more of this series.