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Anno Dracula #1

Anno Dracula

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It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel follows vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

Anno Dracula is a rich and panoramic tale, combining horror, politics, mystery and romance to create a unique and compelling alternate history. Acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London.

This brand-new edition of the bestselling novel contains unique bonus material, including a new afterword from Kim Newman, annotations, articles and alternate endings to the original novel.

381 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1992

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About the author

Kim Newman

283 books866 followers
Note: This author also writes under the pseudonym of Jack Yeovil.
An expert on horror and sci-fi cinema (his books of film criticism include Nightmare Movies and Millennium Movies), Kim Newman's novels draw promiscuously on the tropes of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. He is complexly and irreverently referential; the Dracula sequence--Anno Dracula, The Bloody Red Baron and Dracula,Cha Cha Cha--not only portrays an alternate world in which the Count conquers Victorian Britain for a while, is the mastermind behind Germany's air aces in World War One and survives into a jetset 1950s of paparazzi and La Dolce Vita, but does so with endless throwaway references that range from Kipling to James Bond, from Edgar Allen Poe to Patricia Highsmith.
In horror novels such as Bad Dreams and Jago, reality turns out to be endlessly subverted by the powerfully malign. His pseudonymous novels, as Jack Yeovil, play elegant games with genre cliche--perhaps the best of these is the sword-and-sorcery novel Drachenfels which takes the prescribed formulae of the games company to whose bible it was written and make them over entirely into a Kim Newman novel.
Life's Lottery, his most mainstream novel, consists of multiple choice fragments which enable readers to choose the hero's fate and take him into horror, crime and sf storylines or into mundane reality.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,309 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Gibson.
Author 6 books5,679 followers
June 1, 2020
I found myself randomly thinking about this book today (as I’m wont to do, though my random thoughts generally tend to trend in the direction of Ghostbusters quotes, the deliciousness of Slurpees, or marveling over how Weebles wobble BUT THEY DON’T FALL DOWN!), and what I was thinking was how frustrating it is that books don’t always find as big an audience as they deserve. This is an exceedingly entertaining pastiche of all things horror, supernatural, mysterious, and Victorian, and if that’s your jam, you’ll love it

If that’s not your jam (and, frankly, I’m not entirely sure I’m using the word “jam” correctly, as I’m about as hip as an octogenarian joint replacement procedure), well, then, maybe you won’t love it. But, you should reconsider your jams if that’s the case.

I suggest grape. Or is that jelly? What’s the difference between jam and jelly? It occurs to me that I have no idea.

I need to get out more.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews315 followers
May 13, 2013
In Victorian England, history has taken a peculiar turn: Queen Victoria has married Vlad Tepes, who has turned the Queen, restored her youth, and given her eternal life. With the Queen of England and her Prince Consort counted among the undead, it's not long before it becomes a fashionable choice, and even a political necessity, to embrace the Dark Kiss that brings immortality. High-born and low-born alike have renounced their "warm" lives in favor of the "red thirst." To accommodate the societal change, most business is conducted at night, silver is in restricted supply (hide grandma's tea service!), and humans increasingly find themselves in the minority. In the midst of this societal upheaval, a new threat has emerged as poor, eviscerated vampire prostitutes have been found in Whitechapel, "ripped" by a murderer with his own violent agenda. Welcome to A.D.--the year of our Dracula.

Anno Dracula is an inventive premise that eventually collapses under its own weight. Newman's novel builds upon a reimagining of events that occur in the wake of Bram Stoker's Dracula had it been history instead of fiction. In Newman's Victorian England, the hunt is on for the murderer known as "Silver Knife" until he is given a new moniker upon receipt of anonymous letters signed "Jack the Ripper." Turning the killing spree of Jack the Ripper into a hate crime against vampires is brilliant, but instead of being the axis of the book's action it serves only as a loose framework. We as readers know the identity of the killer within the first 20 pages, but this revelation never creates any real sense of dramatic irony. If anything, it lessens the suspense that could have been created by a tense manhunt through the streets of London. The characters purportedly brought in to track the murderer do little other than show up at the scene of the crime and discuss everything but Jack the Ripper. No one character seems truly invested in tracking the madman. In fact, it's possible to forget the Jack the Ripper angle for entire chapters as characters fall in love, fall out of love, and engage in all of the social duties expected of the upper class.

The two primary characters (and it's hard to narrow it down to just two because you need to fill out a dance card to keep up with who you're supposed to focus on in this large cast--a problem further complicated by a constantly shifting point of view between chapters) are Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard. Genevieve is a vampire elder, older than Dracula by half a century. Mirroring European snobbery based upon pedigree, she is of the pure bloodline of Chandagnac and looks down upon those from the "polluted" bloodline of Dracula. An undead philanthropist, she works in a free clinic for newly turned vampires, shows up everywhere looking beautiful and refined, and, for reasons that are murky at best, is asked to begin looking into the Jack the Ripper case because of her unique insight (of which she basically has nil). Charles Beauregard is a member of the Diogenes Club, a secret organization of powerful men who pull the strings in London society. Charles rejects the idea of becoming a vampire, shows up everywhere looking handsome and refined, and, for reasons that are murky at best, is asked to begin looking into the Jack the Ripper case because of his unique skill set (of which he basically has a silver sword concealed in a cane). Given that these two have nothing to do at the crime scenes other than shake their heads sympathetically over the gruesome loss of life, it's inevitable that they will fall in love. In terms of characterization, we're wading in some shallow waters. Neither character seems anything more than a fictional construct simply acting and reacting in ways that move the plot forward in a serviceable, if not seamless, manner.

In regard to the large cast of characters, Newman has considerable fun weaving historical and fictional characters into the plot. Bram and Florence Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Beatrix Potter, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Mina Harker, and several Victorian societal and political luminaries either make appearances or are alluded to throughout. Even Lestat de Lioncourt makes a brief appearance as a foppish rebel against the Christians who denounce the rise of the undead. Now, initially this might sound like fun, but these characters make appearances so brief that they don't really add anything to the narrative. It's name-dropping in lieu of a clever conceit; basically, it's the literary equivalent of spotting Angelina Jolie in a crowded airport, snapping a photo as she whisks through the terminal, and then boring everyone for the rest of your life with a photo of the back of her head. And, in grandiose terms, you shall forever refer to this event as "the day I met Angelina Jolie."

The book is not entirely without its merits and I can certainly see where hardcore Dracula fans or Victorian Era Anglophiles would enjoy the hell out of this. As for me, it was a marvelously ingenious idea that ultimately felt as cold and stiff as a vampire sleeping it off in his crypt. The absence of Dracula until the last 20 pages also added to the disappointment and, while the scene in which Genevieve and Charles finally visit the vampire court is horrifically twisted, I was disappointed in the anticlimactic ending that was over with too quickly and easily.

And now, for those who won't read the novel, a quick rant about the end!

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder and at Shelf Inflicted
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews344 followers
January 4, 2015
Gutted. I had such high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it is the problem with a lot of steampunk-style novels, in my experience: it sacrifices plot, characters, any semblance dramatic tension in favour of Victoriana and corsetry. This is clever-dick writing, and I don't like it.

The broadest, hand-waviest of plots: Harker, Van Helsing Et Al fail to kill off Dracula, who survives, gets married to Queen Victoria, and establishes his own autocracy. Jack the Ripper is still a Thing, only this time he's killing newly-made vampire whores (which means we get to have a bit of bodice-ripping, check that one off your list!), and our two broadly-speaking heroes, a Victorian Gentleman Of Some Distinction, and a Vampire Lady-Elder Who Even After Six Centuries Still Looks Sixteen, can go about detecting. I mean, I assume that's what they do. I didn't see that much of it.

The rest of the book, and it's a bit of a whopper, is more of a mood piece. There's no real progression. There's very little conflict, and only sketchily drawn characters. What there is, instead, is a cardboard-cutout diorama of Everyone Who Was Alive in 1888 London. Starting out reading this, it was exciting. Look at all the people I know! But round about page 300, I caught myself thinking, "It's really taken you this long to mention Walter Sickert?" and I realised that I wasn't interested in what was going on. I was looking out for the references, because that's all this book has to it. It's four hundred and fifty pages of constant references. Stoker, Conan Doyle, Gilbert and Sullivan, Tennyson. At one point, someone openly wonders who this C. Dodgson fellow is. At another, Beatrix Potter incites open rebellion, somewhere in the background. A chorus of clones of Nancy from Oliver seem to populate every other page, interspersed alongside newsboys, rowdy Londoners in pubs, upstanding policemen and mysterious Chinamen. It's all very pretty window dressing, but that doesn't hold a book together, and it doesn't count as world-building. It's nicking other people's world-building and stitching it together.

And when Newman builds his own bits of world, he doesn't really fare much better. No character gets enough time for any development, and most are dismissed with barely more than a hand-wave. The scenery likewise: it's as if he relied on other people's storytelling to build a place that's already recognisable, and then decided he didn't need to add anything to it. Inside Anno Dracula is the story I really wanted to read, set in a nightmarish twisting of Victorian London, and really dealing with the conceit of vampirism and an overblown climate of fear sparked by the few deranged actions of a Ripper-like serial killer, shattering their delusions of immortality. But that book was so sodding buried under references to Ruddigore and the Diogenes Club that it got confused, distracted from its purpose, started chasing its own tail until it forgot the point entirely. This book wanted to be all sorts of things, at all sorts of speeds, but it couldn't decide which of them to go for, so it ended up missing all of them. This isn't a novel, it's a set piece. Four hundred and fifty overblown pages of set piece. With pretensions.

I read Dracula last year, and didn't get on with that very much either, although for entirely different reasons, so maybe I'm just not having much luck with vampires. They're too easy. They paper over too many cracks. Sorry, Kim Newman; no dice.
Profile Image for Andy.
415 reviews67 followers
February 7, 2017
Steampunk & Vampires.... A winning combination for me......?

The reality.... a real struggle as I was assaulted by endless character introductions who flit in & out of the story for the first 100 pages, with endless descriptions of what they're doing & their world but with very little dialogue, interaction & character building..... I hoped it was going somewhere & will “kick-on”....... It jus didn’t as I read a further 25 pages which contained only 2 pages of dialogue & interaction with other characters & so sorry this isn’t for me. If the world building had been good I would have ventured forth having put the time in but it was so dry I found myself drifting near everytime I started reading this one.....

1 star as I actually hated it & found myself Zzzzzzzzz.........
Profile Image for F.R..
Author 29 books197 followers
December 1, 2015
Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde, Mycroft Holmes and the Diogenes Club, Doctor Jekyll, Dr Moreau, Fu Manchu, Bill Sykes, Rupert of Hentzau, John Merrick, Gilbert & Sullivan, The Invisible Man: the game to play here is ‘spot how many Victorian references the exquisitely moustachioed Kim Newman can cram into ‘Anno Dracula’; although the real question is – as always in these cases –can he make them congeal into a book that matters?

I’ve meant to read ‘Anno Dracula’ for such a long time. Kim Newman, whenever one sees him as a talking head on television, is clearly a horror writer straight from central casting. There he is with his bushy and wonderful moustache, and his fine – yet slightly sinister – full head of hair, peering like a malevolent owl out from behind thick rimmed glasses, his voice mellifluously soft and measured even as he talks with amusement of the most brutal subjects. Furthermore, whenever I’ve chanced across a story of his in the annual Stephen Jones collections, I have been rapt and intrigued and basically delighted. Yet for all that, ‘Anno Dracula’ has been gathering dust in the wish-list of my mind for quite some time, and now that I’ve turned the last page I cannot possibly fathom what took me so long.

Stretching his and our imaginations, Newman takes us to a world where the ending of Dracula is very different. Instead of being defeated, the good Count proved victorious. His attackers were scattered, Van Helsing was murdered (his head ending up on a pike) and Dracula moved to London where he met and fascinated Queen Victoria, making her his conquest and his wife. Now it’s 1888 and London is an uneasy city where vampire and warm cohabit suspiciously, each resenting the other and believing nothing but the worst across the divide. Into this powder-keg world steps an unknown man, a brutal and vicious murderer who targets new born vampire prostitutes in Whitechapel. The powers that be in distant Whitehall and Westminster are aghast, the tensions in this Capital of the Empire are getting hotter and hotter and all it will take is a spark to make them truly explode.

Newman is clearly out to have fun. Literary references pile onto literary references, then rub shoulders with real people and witness real events, so that the whole is a gleeful rush of the gas-lit, hansom cab age. I almost want to say that the sinister undertaker, Kim Newman, shovels the references in, but that makes the result seem decidedly less elegant than it actually is. Yes, the references are piled up in abundance, but they aren’t the book’s raison d'être. It doesn’t matter if the reader misses an oh-so-clever allusion (I’m sure I missed more than one allusion), as what’s important is the storytelling. This is a horror novel, a vampire romance, a social commentary, a sideways look at Victorian history which manages to combine the epic and the intimate, to bring together a collection of beautifully realised characters (real, stolen from other literature, born from the author’s own wryly terrifying imagination) to create a compulsive and constantly building tale which manages to wind in the small moments even as its aims grow increasingly big and terrifying.

Blatant Victoriana this may be, but what’s truly impressive is the fact that this in no way sanitises the Victorian age. The disease, the filth, the terrible poverty and the oppression of the masses are all present and thrust forcefully into the reader’s face. They’re not just nodded to, they are full and realised on every page, part of the plot, something that (most of) these characters have to navigate and contend with on a daily basis. And that’s what truly makes this book triumphant, the fact that all the gothic horror of the Victorian age is brought together and yet it’s the poverty of reality, the desperation of lives lived at the bottom in the richest city on Earth, which is the most awful and stomach wrenching aspect.
Profile Image for Warwick.
812 reviews14.5k followers
April 13, 2017
The title kept niggling at me: shouldn't it be Anno Draculae? Latin declensions aside though, this counterfictional mash-up is quite good fun, if a little baggy. The premise is that Dracula was not defeated by Van Helsing, but instead succeeded in his plot to take over British society, and ended up marrying – and turning – Queen Victoria. As the Prince Consort, he now rules over a British Empire where vampirism is a fashionable lifestyle choice, and where historical figures like Joseph Merrick or Bram Stoker rub shoulders with such fictional worthies as Dr Jekyll, Mina Harker and Mycroft Holmes.

Although Newman's joy in playing around with these familiar tropes is everywhere in evidence, there is often a sense that he is more interested in pastiching the conventions of Gothic Victoriana than he is in developing a really compelling narrative of his own. Many scenes consist of clever-ish little conceits that move the story on not at all. And sometimes even as a period exercise his voice does not ring true – amidst the pea-soupers and Hansom cabs of the opening chapter was description of a streetwalker that mentioned her ‘bangs’, a word so completely at variance with the time and place that I had to put the book down and stare with bemusement directly into the camera, like someone from The Office.

The main plot revolves around the hunt for Jack the Ripper, here recast as a potential catalyst for open war between the undead and the ‘warm’. But all that is very much a pretext for the main business, which is about crowbarring in as many references to obscure literary vampires and Victorian marginalia as physically possible. Spotting them all is, admittedly, quite fun, although this newer edition spoils the game somewhat by including an appendix which makes explicit most of the references. Perhaps ironically, the most compelling characters by far are the two that Newman has invented himself – Charles Beauregard, a kind of proto-spy, and Geneviève Dieudonné, a four-hundred-year-old, more-or-less virtuous French vampire who looks like a teenage girl. If only he had put a little more faith in his own creations and felt less need to lean quite so heavily on his metafictional scaffolding, you feel that this could have been wildly successful.

As it is I still enjoyed myself much more than some critics here seemed to – though other books have done this kind of thing better, most of them came later and looked back to Anno Dracula when they did it. Besides, Kim Newman's love and knowledge of horror conventions and B-movie devices was, I felt, rather irresistible. I find myself quite wanting to read more in the series to see whether the prose gets any leaner and more controlled, and indeed whether Newman's Latin improves.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,106 reviews3,884 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
November 11, 2018
"Murder brought us together. Murderers kept us apart."
Not the opening line, but it would have been a good one (it actually comes much later)!

This is probably quite a good book if this is your thing, but it's not mine, so I abandoned it.

In this alternative history, there's been a global ascendancy of vampires. Dracula has married widowed Queen Victoria and he has expelled some from the country, after a feud that I didn't quite follow.

The narrator is one such refugee, on a ship to Japan. The Emperor has decreed that there are no vampires in Japan, so those they do have live in a secure town, not unlike a leper colony. There's espionage, an evil ship's captain, separated lovers, and struggles to survive. Sherlock Holmes' less famous brother, Mycroft, is a key character.

There is historical (and imagined historical) colour, plenty of rich language, sometimes crass exposition... but not really a plot or characters I could engage with. Given the Japanese setting, perhaps it would work better as animé or manga?

Image: "Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign", contemporary Japanese vampire animé. (Source.)

Maybe reading it in Firenze (Florence) didn't help: too much of a disconnect. But there was plenty of Halloween stuff in shops and restaurants, so I don't think that was a major factor.
Profile Image for Graeme Rodaughan.
Author 9 books339 followers
February 9, 2018
I've DNF'ed this book at 20%. Gave it a good shot, just not enough action and too much fluff.

If I was going to rate it (against policy) it was running at 3 stars, but I don't have time in my life to read anything that's not running at 4 stars by 20% in.

Now - it's time to find a magic sword, open a Warren and war with a god - it's off to Malazan.
Profile Image for snowgray.
85 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2011

This book was recommended to me by the owners of a gaming store (the Magic-and-Warhammer type), and I was eager to read it based on the premise of “vampires are ‘out’ and taking over.” I knew that Dracula would be a character, and I didn’t mind that the rest of the Dracula cast appeared as well (in this version, Dracula’s invasion of England was successful, and he has married and turned Queen Victoria). What ended up bothering me was the ridiculous proliferation of spot-the-reference vampire appearances. Lord Ruthven is there, Carmilla gets mentioned, Lestat appears, and there are repeated litanies of vampires that include movie, novel and television characters large and small. Similarly, Jack the Ripper, Fu Manchu, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes all appear (though not the good doctor or his detective friend; of course they would have solved the case too quickly). There are two major original characters, Beauregard the human spy and Dieudonné the vampire charity nurse. Unfortunately, neither of the two has much appeal or charisma. Dieudonné, of course, still looks 16 but has been a vampire for some 400 years; Beauregard spies for the British government on multiple continents. In fanfiction, Dieudonné would certainly be labeled a Mary Sue, and Beauregard is kept from Gary-Stu-ism by a mildly creepy engagement to his dead wife’s cousin.

In the story, the Jack the Ripper killings are reconfigured to be murders of vampire prostitutes, and though the reader knows the killer’s identity, the main characters’ search for the killer drives the plot. The concept that vampirism has spread to the lower classes, and that there is a class divide between vampires as much as there is a species divide between humans and vampires, is essentially interesting. But we come to know the lower-class vampires only through Dieudonné’s patronizing eyes (she is of a different ‘bloodline’ from Dracula, and refers to his blood as polluted), and given the rather disgusting afflictions that the poor vampires suffer (a half-bat child looms large), it’s hard to feel much for them beyond polite pity. Vampirism in this world does not always go well (the aforementioned afflictions), but again, there is little discussion of the potentially rich topic of risk versus reward; Beauregard discusses it only briefly with his fiancée. The Ripper murders are deemed important by virtue of the fact that they threaten the vampires’ façade of immortality, and indeed near the end of the story there are anti-vampire demonstrations by some humans. But all-out warfare never emerges, and the ultimate goal of the Diogenes Club (hey, another reference!) in sending Beauregard to investigate ends up being... kind-of flat.

In the end, my problem with this book is twofold. First, it isn’t coherent. It takes too much delight in name-checks of characters from older works, which may delight the well-read, but unfortunately annoy those of us who have not the massive mental bookshelf (and DVD rack, I suppose) of the author. Too many characters pass through the story with a bit of a thrill of recognition, but no development or plot movement. Dieudonné and Beauregard don’t grow as people, and their attempts to solve the ‘mystery’ are frustratingly slow and stupid, doubly so in that the reader already knows who it is. The book can’t decide if it is a political novel, a spy novel, a society novel, a murder mystery or something else, so bits of each are flashed before the reader and passed over. My second problem is that the book has so many nice opportunities for something interesting, but it drops the ball every time. Vampire class warfare? Totally fascinating! Any old schmoe can become a vampire? Give me a schmoe to care about! Vampirism: not all it’s cracked up to be? Refreshing! But none of these threads pan out satisfactorily. For the first time ever, I found myself wishing I’d read a Charlaine Harris novel just so I’d have some comparison for the ‘vampires-are-out’ trope.

Neil Gaiman is quoted on the cover praising the book, and I’m not surprised, in that he does a lot of work in the similar arena of revising-mythology. I’m not a huge fan of Gaiman’s more recent adult works, but little in modern literature visual or otherwise can compare to the beauty of the Sandman series. Though I didn’t get the references to comic book characters in that series, I did catch the mythological and literary references, and the repurposing of characters never bothered me. Gaiman’s own unique mythology of the Endless, and the persuasiveness of Dream as a character, were strong enough to make the other characters serve Dream’s story, rather than simply guest-starring. Newman’s narrative in Anno Dracula, and his original characters, just aren’t strong enough. I don’t give a shit about Dieudonné and Beauregard. I was rooting for Jack the Ripper’s character almost all the way through the book.

Finally, I think this book is interesting in that it has made me question the nature of fanfiction. Fanfiction is frequently derided, and often its reader-and-writership is described as predominately female. But Anno Dracula is, in my opinion, clearly a work of fanfiction (alternate-universe crossover with original characters), and its author as well as the people who recommended it to me most highly are all men. Does this mean that men are willing to read fanfiction if it isn’t described as such (alternate-history books always felt like fanfiction to me...)? Could there be a wider market for the ‘tamer’ types of fanfiction, or for fanfiction in longer form? There’s been a long tradition of writing new cases for Sherlock Holmes, and Gaiman repurposes Shakespeare and Aeschylus, all clearly in the public domain. Under the anxiety of influence, is everyone just writing fanfiction anyway?
Profile Image for Stephen Theaker.
Author 78 books58 followers
September 28, 2008
I hadn't read any fiction by Kim Newman before, though I've always enjoyed his film reviews for Empire magazine. I'm pretty sure I haven't read Dracula either, though I've seen plenty of film versions of it.

The twin premise here is that Dracula was not defeated at the end of Bram Stoker's novel, and that he existed in the same world as many other fictional characters.

It's hard to mention that second bit without thinking of Alan Moore's later League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. There are other similarities, too, in that both authors have penned sequels taking their stories into the twentieth century. Earlier books in a similar vein include Philip Jose Farmer's Wold-Newton books (credited here by Kim Newman), and of course just about every comic published since the 1940s.

Part of me wishes that Newman had limited himself to the characters from Dracula - occasionally the book drives you off to Wikipedia to look characters up, rather than drawing you in to its plot - but you can't begrudge an author his enthusiasms, and in general he carries it off very well. Indeed, one of the book's most interesting ideas is that the differences between vampires in different books stems from there being different families of vampires, with different abilities, mentalities and relationships. Dracula's line, for example, is said to be tainted, damaged and more demented than most, because of how he died before turning.

For most of the novel Dracula himself is an offstage, pernicious presence. When he does take centre stage, the wait was worthwhile - Newman's Dracula is utterly terrifying.

Overall, this is a much more plot-driven book than you might expect, and, though the mood of fear, oppression and decay is kept at a high pitch, every word compels the reader to keep turning the pages. The literary games are always subservient to the storytelling. Similarly, Dracula's far-from-bloodless coup has serious consequences for Britain's society, from its class system to its political organisations and its foreign policy, but we only learn about those things as they are relevant to the story.

A brilliant book.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,395 reviews823 followers
December 15, 2018
I found this confusing and disjointed. There was too much Victorian name dropping . It had many elements of Victoriana and Steampunk that I have enjoyed previously, but unfortunately this particular effort did not work for me.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,136 reviews1,316 followers
October 29, 2022
I was kinda hoping to enjoy this a lot more than I did.

The premise is fantastic, an alternative history of Bram Stoker's famous novel that sees Dracula actually prevail against Van Helsing and plots to take over Britain most notably by marrying the Queen.
The story also throws in a Jack the Ripper murder plot and a hunt for the sadistic killer in Whitechapel.

I do love a bit of Victorian era fiction and the book is chock full of references to the time period, to an extent that I found myself confused with what actually going on within the novel.

This is probably one of them books that I'd appreciate more of a re-read though can definitely see why a lot of people have enjoyed it more.
Profile Image for Stephen Robert Collins.
558 reviews46 followers
June 12, 2018
This modern classic a New take on Dracula that has even got Sherlock Holmes in it.
Why Kim Newman has not done a Doctor Who is mystery it isn't for want of trying.
This a what if ........
Queen Victoria marries Dracula hail King Of The Vampires the original hemophiliac
This dark creepy re working of Bram Stoker's classic book but with what if twist that make your hair curl
Newman has now done five books in this series from WWI to Japan to Pop musical. He also .has number of other books such as Making Professor Moriarty into the hero & Holmes the villain
This the same here Dracula Is the hero & Queen Victoria his lover. Sick
Profile Image for William.
Author 395 books1,788 followers
March 19, 2008
1888 London, and Dracula is hanging out with Queen Victoria, while in Whitechapel, prostitutes are dying strange bloody deaths...

It's obvious that the author had a lot of fun writing this, and I had just as much reading it. Historical fact mixed with Newman's particular sense of whimsy and walk on parts from fictional characters from the Victorian era, it's a tremendous mixture.

The ending comes a bit too quickly, and old Drac becomes a bit of a comic parody of a vampire lord, but all in all I lovd it.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
May 4, 2018
I remember reading this back when vampires were the rage. Didnt really float my boat. Felt like Newman was attempting to add a billion fictional and historical characters just for the sake of it. Well written novel though.
Profile Image for Christine.
6,551 reviews473 followers
April 26, 2009
This is a somewhat strange book, but it presents an interesting "What if". The premise is that Dracula won and took over England. Instead of using just historical characters, Newman brings in famous Victorian fictional characters as well (most notably in reference to Sherlock Holmes). This is risky because it makes two sets of fictional characters (Newman's own and those character he borrows) as well as real historical figures. It works because Newman has done his research, not only in terms of the literature (you can tell he has read and thought about Dracula, but in terms of history. Be warned, there is violence, so if you are looking for a "polite" novel, this isn't it.
Profile Image for Celia🪐.
506 reviews1 follower
June 14, 2022
Llevaba (y no exagero) siglos buscando este libro. Lo halle relativamente fácil en internet en pdf, pero estaba obcecada en comprármelo en físico. Lo encontré casi por casualidad hace como dos años en una feria de segunda mano, pero el momento de leérmelo no aparecía, al menos hasta hace poco, justo en una época en la que me ha dado por los vampiros y la literatura gótica. Y todo lo que tengo que decir es: ¿DÓNDE HA ESTADO ESTE LIBRO DURANTE TODA MI VIDA? Se que suele escribir mucho eso de que he disfrutado como nunca un libro, pero en este caso es la pura y absoluta verdad. En las últimas páginas estaba racionándole la lectura, porque no quería acabármelo, algo que no suele pasarme mucho.

La historia es increíblemente adictiva de principio a fin. Lo que más hay que destacar es la riqueza del Londres victoriano que el autor nos presenta, donde personajes reales se mezclan con otros historicos y ficticios, ya sean sacados de películas, libros, o de la fructífera imaginación de Newman. Tengo que reconocer que esto (que no deja de ser el plato fuerte de la novela) fue lo que me llamo más la atención, ya que ( y esto es innevitable para muchos) me recordaba mucho al mundo de los cómics de La Liga de los Hombres Extraordinarios. Y no solo por la temática o los personajes se parece a esta obra, también por el tono crudo en el que ambas historias son narradas.

Es una historia que , ciertamente, al principio puede resultar un poco lenta y densa, pero a partir del primer cuarto, la acción se vuelve de lo más trepidante y adictiva, y no puedes dejar de leer. Incluso sabiendo desde las primeras páginas la identidad del asesino “Cuchillo de Plata”, aka Jack el Destripador. Ciertamente, a esa sensación de densidad y lentitud contribuye el que haya muchos personajes, muchos de los cuales se limitan solo a hacer un mero cameo en esta historia. Eso fue, quizás, lo que más me frustro en esta lectura, me hubiera gustado ver más a personajes como Microft Holmes, Moriarty, la reina Victoria o el nosferatu Orlok, en acción. En ese sentido debo decir, también, que los dos personajes principales, Charles y Genevive, aunque me han gustado mucho, me han parecido un poco desdibujados, especialmente Charles, y a veces me ha parecido que no se explicaba bien, o no era muy coherente, su manera de proceder, como si fuera un tanto aleatoria.

El Londres de Newman es oscuro y difícil, pero esta increíblemente bien ambientado, de forma que el lector nota perfectamente todo el miedo y la tensión que impregnan todo el ambiente . La manera en la que ha cambiado el argumento del “Drácula” de Stoker , las ideas de las que parte, y como representa todos los conflictos que ha generado la existencia de los vampiros en la ciudad y sus convivencia con los humanos, estan muy bien hilvanados y son muy coherentes, mezclándose con los asesinatos de Jack el Destripador y las diferencias sociales entre ricos y pobres, independientemente de si son o no vampiros.

El lector casi puede sentir que camina entre las calles oscuras y brumosas de Londres con el corazón en un puño, ya que no sabe si va a encontrarse con un vampiro en los barrios bajos, o va a llegar a una luminosa casa de gente rica o con poder. Me ha gustado, sobre todo, que la conversión a vampiro presente problemas para aquellos que la pasan, en forma de una enfermedad. Me ha parecido un detalle original y que enriquecía la trama (además de ser una parte fundamental de la misma) más que si se presentaba la conversión como algo limpio y sin que entrañase problema alguno.

Me da mucha rabia que no este toda la saga de Drácula traducida al español. Solo esta hasta el segundo “El Barón Rojo” (más o menos creo que ese es el titulo), pero me da que este va a ser más difícil de encontrar en español de su predecesor. De cualquier forma , “El año de Drácula” es una novela muy interesante de leer, con un estilo pulp que le da un toque especial, y una ambientación genial, a imitación de las historias de los folletines y los Penny Dreadfull. De lo que va de año, esta siendo una de mis mejores lecturas
Profile Image for Juushika.
1,538 reviews160 followers
September 21, 2008
In 1885, Count Dracula came to London to spread vampirism into the heart of Victorian England. But in this retelling of (literary) history, Van Helsing did not defeat Dracula; rather, Dracula succeeded, marrying Queen Victoria and becoming Prince Consort. Now, in 1888, vampires fill positions of power—but also the streets of Whitechapel, where a murderer is killing and mutilating young vampire prostitutes. The attempt to catch him brings together a upper class adventurer named Charles Beauregard and an ancient vampire elder named Genevieve Diuedonne. A clever concept that intertwines alternate history with horror and includes many familiar faces (including, of course, Jack the Ripper, known here as the Silver Knife), this is a promising political intrigue enrichened by vampires that, unfortunately, falls flat. Although the horror is indeed gruesome, the plot is detailed, and the vampires are skillfully conceived, the book's premise is impossible to believe and the writing style is cheap at best (and desperately in need of an editor at worst). This is a swift read and holds a lot of promise, but it is also, frankly, quite bad. I don't recommend it.

This premise as well as the character cameos create a promising and interesting starting place for the book. The Victorian setting, touching both on high society and the slums of Whitechapel, the characters which range from vampire elders to Jack the Ripper to minute appearances from even Oscar Wilde, and finally the vampires, conceived in thoughtful detail and as well as gruesome horror, certainly seems promising. And to his credit, Newman conceives and explores his plot well: it's a detailed combination of horror and history and politics, knitted together neatly but not too simply, and so remains interesting, readable, and both logical and unpredictable.

But the premise does not live up to its potential by a long shot. Instead, the book is bogged down by an underlying fault in the premise as well as poor storytelling. The premise's flaw is that Queen Victoria married Count Dracula prior to the start of the book, and that by the time of the book his plan to take control over England has proceeded largely without difficulty. Vampires roam the streets, and more are being reborn into vampirism every day—including those in the upper class. All of this, despite the fact that Dracula remains excessive, appalling, and violent as ever. Why is there no social resistance to vampirism? The book makes a big deal of it, but there is clearly no major social backlash—or the vampires would not have gotten so far. Jack the Ripper killing vampires makes more sense than anything else in the book, including the social struggles between the vampires and the "warm" and new politics including vampire rulers, in particular a vampire as Prince Consort. Despite the careful scripting and weaving of disparate threads and concepts, the result is a premise and plot that are, for lack of a better word, impossible, thus tainting the rest of the book with the reader's disbelief.

Worse than the premise is, unfortunately, the writing. The book depends on short chapters to keep the plot moving and repeated ellipses to create a sense of urgency (especially in the later chapters), and with constant errors in punctuation and capitalization it is in dire need of an editor. By contrast, there is nothing about the writing that stands out as artful, skillful, or even simply good. To an extent, the short chapters and simple writing keep the book moving smoothly and help to simplify what could be an overly complex plot, but on the whole the bad writing style is just that: bad. So, despite the promise of the premise, the unfeasible plot and the poor writing make this a disappointing, lackluster novel. I appreciate the attempt, but I didn't enjoy the product, and I don't recommend this book.
Profile Image for Malum.
2,201 reviews131 followers
May 28, 2019
As this novel opens, we find that Bram Stoker's Dracula has taken a left turn near the end and Dracula ends up winning. He defeats his enemies (Van Helsing's rotting head decorates a pike) and insinuates himself into the English royal family and spreads vampirism like the plague. Now, vampires and humans live side by side, with vampires being the dominant class.

The novel presented a pretty good vampire story (which is saying a lot coming from me, because I usually dislike most of the vampire novels that I end up reading for one reason or another), but what impressed me most is how many references-both fictional and historical-Newman managed to cram into this thing. Everything from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and various Sherlock Holmes stories to Kolchack: The Night Stalker and Blacula are referenced in Newman's world. Dipping into real world events, we also see John Merrick, Queen Victoria, and Jack the Ripper, among others. I looked up all of the references, and I was blown away by how many there are and the huge number that I missed. You really get the sense that Newman had a lot of fun writing this series.

Newman also did something interesting with the series as a whole, as each successive volume takes place further into the future. Where this novel takes place in the Victorian era, the next volume concerns World War I (a volume that I will certainly be checking out!).
Profile Image for Victoria.
910 reviews94 followers
June 8, 2022
This was great fun, truly! It combines 3 of my favourite things: Dracula lore, alt history and the Victorian era so this was just great!! Seeing just how Dracula could influence and corrupt this time period was just super cool and it felt like playing a game of ~spot the literary reference and historical figure~ and it was delightful!

I did find myself struggling to remember characters at the beginning because there were just so many names and similar characters but once I caught on it was a lot easier to distinguish them.

I probably won’t continue to re read the series as it’s mainly the alt history Victorian era that drew me to these books in the first place but this works really well as a standalone anyway!
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,517 reviews10.9k followers
February 13, 2010
4.5 stars. This was a very well thought out and very original novel (which is saying a lot for a book about Dracula and vampires). Super plot and great characters, together with the interweaving of both historic and literary figures make this a very worth while read. As good as the rest of the novel is, the final 30 pages and the description of Dracula and his "court" is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING (and brilliantly conceived) and brings this novel to the level of a MUST READ!!!

Nominee: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1993)
Nominee: Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel (1994)
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel (1994)
Profile Image for John McDermott.
366 reviews44 followers
October 8, 2020
Kim Newman was the originator of the real historical figures and literary characters mashup and is still the best. Anno Dracula is where it started and is fabulous, gruesome fun. If you like the idea of Van Helsing and his comrades of having failed to stop Dracula, and want to know what could have happened next then this is the book for you. Add Jack the Ripper into the mix and you have the perfect horror novel. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Latasha.
1,271 reviews366 followers
February 20, 2018
This was interesting at time but had too many characters, creating confusion at some parts. At least it did for me. I doubt I’ll read any more in this series.
Profile Image for Biz.
30 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2007
This was a book I found at a used book store. The description on the back read basically that van helsing failed to kill Dracula and he'd become the consort of Queen Victoria. Oh and Jack the Ripper is involved.

Any story that involves Jack the Ripper AND vampires, I am so there. This was an amazing book. I would love to find the following books in the series as I loved the characters, both original and literary cameos. it was a wonderful blend and I've found I enjoy books that do that.

If you can find this in a used book store GRAB IT! Its worth it.
Profile Image for Gintautas Ivanickas.
Author 14 books193 followers
November 22, 2022
Kim Newman neabejotinai mėgsta XIX ir XX amžių sandūros literatūrą. Ir nesivaržo pažaisti jos laukuose. Kadaise skaičiau jo „The Hound of the D'Urbervilles“, kurioje jis pažaidė su Arthuro Conan Doyle herojais, pateikdamas istoriją iš Moriarčio ir pulkininko Morano pusės, dabar štai Newmanas ėmėsi ir Bramo Stokerio. Holmsas (kaip ir aibė kitų to laikmečio literatūros ar realių personažų) sudalyvauja ir čia, tiesa, labai jau neakivaizdžiai – tesužinome tiek, kad jis yra savotiškoje koncentracijos stovykloje, skirtoje nepatenkintiems esama padėtim. Bet gal grįžkime prie siužeto.
Romanas, be abejo, ne veltui pavadintas „Draculos era“. Ir, nors pats grafas Tepešas pasirodo tik paskutiniuose romano puslapiuose, tačiau tamsus jo šešėlis kabo virš visos Anglijos. O kaip kitaip – juk Dracula vedė karalienę Viktoriją, o vampyrai, jei galima taip pasakyti, išėjo iš pogrindžio. Natūralu, kad ne visiems tai patinka. Net ne visiems vampyrams, ką jau kalbėti apie „šiltuosius“. O čia dar Whitechapellio gatvelėse ima darbuotis Džekas Skerdikas, kuris, žinoma, žudo prostitutes. Tiesa, tik vampyres. Mįslingasis „Diogeno“ klubas (kuriam, esu tikras, žinote – priklauso ir Maikroftas Holmsas, „tam tikra prasme ir pats – Anglijos vyriausybė“) deleguoja Džeko medžioklėn Čarlzą Boregarą, prie kurio prisijungia ir gerokai senesnė už patį Draculą vampyrė Ženevjeva.
Ir nors nuo pat pradžių žinome, kas slepiasi po Džeko Skerdiko kauke, tačiau detektyvinis elementas romane gyvas – mat mįslių čia ir be to nestinga.
Daug žaidimo aliuzijomis, daug intrigų ir klastų. Šiek tiek meilės. Ir daug kraujo.
Keturi iš penkių.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,919 reviews56 followers
July 29, 2016
With a lot of books, the premise is enough to sell me on the idea of reading them. Anno Dracula is one of those books. The novel is set in 1888, where Dracula has wed the widowed Queen Victoria, thus legalizing vampirism and making it more or less acceptable. Dr. Alan Seward, however, still harbors a lot of anger toward Dracula for killing Lucy, and takes it upon himself to begin ridding Whitechapel of the vampire prostitutes populating that area. That he has to remove vital organs and mutilate the bodies to bring on a true death just means that Dr. Seward has become Jack the Ripper.

(This isn't a spoiler, by the way; this all takes place in the first chapter of the book.)

From that point forward, Newman begins including historical vampire figures, as well as many, many fictional vampires. He includes some annotations at the end of the novel to give hints at who the fictional vampires are and who created them, and also gives some insight into how he developed the story. Inspector Lestrade is present in the story, but Holmes himself is not, because, Newman tells us, had Holmes been in the story, he would have identified, trapped, and imprisoned Dracula within the first few chapters, thus leaving him with no story. The entire novel, though, is a brilliant convention, brilliantly conceived.

Newman emulates the Victorian style of writing to set the book in its own time, which at first made me a little apprehensive. I was afraid that pacing and plot would take a back seat to the style of the narrative, but it wound up being easily readable and easily understood. His characterization was also deft, as he managed to create distinctive characters who you either liked or disliked as Newman would have you react to them. I found myself invested in the main characters so much that I was eager for certain events to resolve the way I wanted them to. That Newman managed to do all that, also while fitting the story in with Ripper-lore and many historical events, is pretty impressive.

This was a re-read for me, but it's been so long since I've read it, that this was all new to me. I remembered one scene from the end of the novel, and the general premise, but I was overjoyed to find such a good book and a good story inside. I don't think I appreciated it enough the first time around, but anyone who has a passing interest in vampires and Jack the Ripper should give it a whirl. You may not recognize all the characters Newman appropriates for his story, but you'll know enough of them to get a taste for where he's going.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
September 27, 2014
1888. England is a fascist-like country. The events in this book take place after those in Stoker's Dracula with a couple of changes, the most important of them being who won that particular battle. Vlad Tepes destroyed Van Helsing's small group, but he left a few survivors.
Now, he is the Prince Consort, vampires are out, and someone is butchering Whitechapel vampire prostitutes. There is no mystery of who Jack the Ripper is since the first chapter reveals that fact. Every chapter by the Ripper tells not only what drives him, but also gives an account of the events following Dracula's arrival in England.

Charles Beauregard, an agent of the Diogenes Club, and a vampire Geneviève Dieudonné are on the Ripper's trail and through these two and a couple of other characters Newman paints a picture of this horrifying new London.
The characters are colourful and most of them are multidimensional. Only few were depicted as completely evil. My favourite two characters are a Carpathian soldier (Kostaki) and a Scotland Yard detective (Mackenzie). Their unlikely respect that turned to friendship was one of the most wonderful things in this book.
There are some personal annoyances, of course. This may be an over-simplification but it would explain them: Geneviève's maker's get is not bad, but anything coming from some other part of Europe (Vlad Tepes) is. The Dark Kiss that Dracula's get receives makes them monsters even on the outside and I don't feel I got an explanation for that, nor the answer why Geneviève's maker is better. Kostaki's character, at least, makes this less obvious and evens the scales a bit, especially with Lord Godalming and Penelope on the other side.

This is one of the most disgusting depiction of Vlad Tepes I've ever read and as much as I don't like the disservice Bram Stoker did to the man (Kim Newman even went a step further), I really enjoyed this book. It is really well written and all those references to historical and fictional characters are added bonuses. There isn't a single moment that lasts longer than it is necessary, there are no hanging chapters and even the most superficial character has a role to play. Everything you read has some kind of connection to the protagonists or at least the case they are on.

After reading the alternate ending of this book, I must say I am glad the author decided not to use it.
Profile Image for Jen.
156 reviews
October 30, 2012
Is there such a thing as 'too much of a good thing'? When it comes to Anno Dracula, I think the answer, sadly, is yes.

According to the Wikipedia page, Kim Newman managed to fit in something like 99 fictional references and 30 some odd historical references on top of any original characters the book gave us. For me, it became a slog instead of a joy to get through the book - it was as if Newman got caught up in a game of 'let's see how clever we are' and couldn't stop.

On top of that, giving us the identity of Silver Knife / Jack the Ripper from the very start completely stripped any sense of urgency out of the narrative. I grew weary of the lack of progression despite knowing who the killer was - it made his characters seem dull witted (which, yes, I understand the events that followed the actual Ripper killings; he could have very easily left out the identity and it would have flowed much better).

Also, I have to say - really. Van Helsing and his group were the only things that were preventing Dracula's hold on England? There were no resistance groups outside of the crazy religious ones? The more I read, the more disconnected I felt with the whole thing.

At the end, I felt no emotional connection with any characters except for Kostaki and Mackenzie (honestly, I could have read and entire novel of their exploits!). I didn't care about Penelope or Beauregard and Genevieve or really anyone else. When you have so many characters clomping around in a book, no matter how small the mention of it, the ability to care grows rather thin.

And can I just ask - was 127 pages of extra stuff in the back of the book really necessary? Again, there's being clever and there's Being Clever to the point of grating.

I won't be picking up the sequels unless I can get them cheaply on my eReader.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,920 reviews156 followers
April 2, 2019
Anno Dracula was an entertaining read. It reminded me of "League of Extra-Ordinary Gentlemen". Set in the Victorian Era London it is taking place a few years after the novel "Dracula". Count Dracula has managed to marry Queen Victoria and is now Prince Consort, vampires are common and Lord Ruthven is a vampire Prime Minister.

The Diogenes Club, which does unofficial work for the Crown, summons Charles Beauregard to figure out who is killing vampire girls in Whitechapel. This Jack the Ripper investigation is at the heart of this story. A varied cast of characters and some vampires try to figure out the Jack the Ripper mystery. But it is also a look at what Victorian England would have looked like had the events of Dracula gone differently. The story is entertaining, especially with the introduction of famous characters from Victorian fiction.

Think of this as a sort of "True Blood" set in the Victorian Era. If that interests you, then you might like this. There is more to this series and I don't know if I will get into the rest of it. I think it should have ended with this book and it was the ending that caused for this to not be amazing. One would think that after the results of the novel, something more would have been done by humans everywhere.

It was a fun read though. So if you like the Victorian Era or Vampires, I'd think you'd like this one.
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