Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Route of Ice and Salt” as Want to Read:
The Route of Ice and Salt
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Route of Ice and Salt

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  238 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A reimagining of Dracula’s voyage to England, filled with Gothic imagery and queer desire.

It’s an ordinary assignment, nothing more. The cargo? Fifty boxes filled with Transylvanian soil. The route? From Varna to Whitby. The Demeter has made many trips like this. The captain has handled dozens of crews.

He dreams familiar dreams: to taste the salt on the skin of his men, t
Paperback, 196 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by Innsmouth Free Press (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  238 ratings  ·  115 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Route of Ice and Salt
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I am the publisher of this book, which is a translation of José Luis Zárate's "La Ruta del Hielo y la Sal," originally published in the 1990s in Mexico. David Bowles has translated it from Spanish into English and Poppy Z. Brite provides an afterword. It's hard for me to explain how unique this novella is. I was a young woman in the 1990s and I remember how conservative Mexican society was, how almost no one was 'out' - a friend of my family bought a wedding ring so he could pretend he was marri ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, netgalley
This was interesting, not at all what I was expecting! I went into it mostly blind, besides just the basics: a queer vampire novella, originally written in 1998, translated from Spanish & published by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the author of Mexican Gothic.

I haven’t read Dracula, which I think put me at a disadvantage, because the story follows the voyage of The Demeter to England. I know a couple of other reviewers had said you don’t need to read it before going in, but I was a little lost sometime
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
Rep: gay mc

CWs: internalised homophobia, homophobic violence

Galley provided by publisher

I’ve been stuck on how to review this book for a while now because it’s a difficult one, really. To review it at all properly requires splitting it into the book and the translation (although not having read the original text makes that...hard to say the least). So, this is a review for why you should pick the book up in general, regardless of which language you’re reading it in (and why English-speaking read
Artist inspires Artist and media inspires media. The Route of Ice and Salt ( La ruta del hielo y la sal) was originally published in 1998 by a Mexican comic publisher Grupo Editorial VID, it didn't take root and but it became cult classic. It's now in English for the first time through Silvia Moreno-Garcia's efforts.

This novella reimagines Dracula’s voyage to England on The Demeter. The Route of Ice and Salt gives the nameless Captain a voice as gay man in this time period. This book is really
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Sexually charged horror. Is the horror in the story filled with blood, rats, death or in what is beneath?

We wear clothes, norms, beliefs which hide the nakedness beneath, the reality of what we are is hidden away. But beneath we are still naked and we still have needs, thirsts, hungers and these are not the monsters. The monsters are what we become when we hide away our nakedness and pretend to be what we are not, to be part of the group. The group then turns into the super monster that patrols
Andy Weston
This novella, initially published in Mexico in 1998, is a reimagining of Dracula’s voyage from Transylvania to Whitby on board the ship, The Demeter. I really enjoyed it.
It is narrated by the captain, whose job it is to transport fifty crates filled with Transylvanian soil to England, but the captain is not what you might expect of the period, he is wracked by guilt, an internalised homophobia brought about by his own sexuality; he is gay, his lover was murdered by a mob, hence he has taken to
Becky Spratford
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review in January 2021 Horror Review column for Library Journal:

Three Words That Describe This Book: classic retold, unnerving, absorbing

Draft Review:
First published in 1998 in Mexico, appearing in English for the first time thanks to Silvia Moreno-Garcia and with an afterword by horror LGBTQ pioneer Poppy Z. Brite, this novella overtly contemplates the ever present themes of gay sexuality in vampire literature. By focusing on the pivotal but often overlo
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
The Route of Ice and Salt reimagines Dracula's voyage to England aboard The Demeter, breathing life into the unnamed captain of the ship and giving him and his story a voice. As the Demeter makes it's way to England strange and horrifying happening begin to befall the crew. The captain finds his dreams haunted, filled with longing and fear.

The Route of Ice and Salt may not be a long book but it packs a punch. The writing draws you in from the beginning and even as the horrors unfold and the drea
Well, my brain melted. I don't think I have an appropriate language or skill to even begin this review. But I'll try. Oh, I'll try.

First let me start with a revelation I had last night while finishing it. The atmosphere, mood and themes reminded me of The Lighthouse movie. It has that sort of a dream-like quality to the plot, and themes of loneliness and isolation are definitely central. Except, loneliness and self imposed isolation in this book are tied to characters sexuality. We follow the ga
Marita Arvaniti
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Galley provided by publisher

The Route of Ice and Salt was originally published in 1990s Mexico and is being translated into English for the first time in 2021. It is a story of Dracula's journey to England, narrated by the ship's captain who, even though he starts the journey unaware of the presence on his ship is, unfortunately, all too aware of the nature of vampires, and of creatures of appetites that are outside the norm.

This is a book about monsters. This is also a book about gay desire. I
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, e-book, 2020
We already know what happened to the crew of the Demeter from Bram Stoker's Dracula. We know this because Stoker included the ship's log, which detailed the events that led to the crew disappearing and left the captain tied to the wheel. The Route of Ice and Salt is a novella that tells us the story of the captain, what led him to the ship, and what led to his decision.

Interestingly, Zárate chose to include the log of the Demeter, as written by Stoker, word-for-word in the middle of the novella.
Bogi Takács
Review coming soon IY"H. (Still writing it)
Source of the book: Bought with my own money (I was a fundraiser backer)
Sapphic Shelves
This was a slow unraveling book. I wasn't sure what to expect but I cannot resist vampires and queer stories. We follow the ship captain of the Demeter. I really enjoyed the horror in this novella. You are shown that something is not quite right and how the crew deals with this.

Please check out other reviews for TWs!
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CWs: Descriptions of death and murder, references to cannibalism, sexual assault, allusions to predatory sexual behavior, outdated racial epithets (Romani slurs), graphic descriptions of sex and sexual fantasies, some blood and violence.
Translator Monkey
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great take on an old classic. By now, you're most likely already familiar with the plot - the Demeter will be bringing a strange cargo, boxes of earth, from Bulgaria to England - presumably for research. A small crew will man the Demeter, not knowing that it would be their last voyage.

Taking a small passage the Dracula canon and turning it around, in which a ship arrives in port with the dead captain lashed to the helm, and the crew missing, was an inspired bit of derring-do, but the true act
T.B. Caine
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending an arc!

My Booktube

This was a very interesting novella. I will go ahead and warn everyone that this is very character focused and not so much plot focused. It is essentially the writings of the unnamed captain from Dracula, as you can imagine it takes place almost entirely on the boat and there isn't a ton of dialogue. If you do not want to spend a decent amount of time inside someone's head, probably not the book for you.

What I will say tho
Ariel (ariel_reads)
This is an excellent novella to add to the Dracula lore. The queer subtext that has been prevalent throughout all vampire lore is put at the front in a lyrical and reflective way. I love the Dracula lore, so this was overall a really excellent read for me, and I'd recommend this book to anyone who is already familiar with Dracula and enjoys expanding on that legend. This really is a beautiful book, and I'd say my only complaint was the repeated usage of the racial slur for the Romani people. Som ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite the erotic read. The Route of Ice and Salt is filled with desire, thirst, and appetite. The language is sweltering and sensual. There are obvious parallels between vampirism and homosexuality made in this novella. This tale of Dracula’s famous voyage to London is filled with queer desire and it ultimately illustrates how pleasure (and homosexuality) is not a sin. What is sinful is how you satisfy those pleasures, such as the case with Dracula. I personally wanted more horror and Dr ...more
The story of the doomed ship that carried Count Dracula and his 50 boxes of earth from Varna to Whitby, told by the captain who perished tied to the wheel of his ship. Sensual, erotic, and deeply unsettling all at once.

It has been many years since I read Dracula, but when I saw Silvia Moreno-Garcia talking about this book, I knew I needed it. This is a stunningly beautiful and lyrical book, and there are lines on every page that are just wondrous. One of the things I loved most about it is that
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
Translated by David Bowles and published in English for the first time, this is Gothic horror at its finest. Full of nightmare fuel and a slow-paced descent into a blurred reality, I highly recommend this novella to fans of the Gothic horror genre!

First published in 1998 in Spanish, The Route of Ice and Salt follows the unnamed captain of Demeter, the schooner which brought Dracula from Bulgaria to England who was found dead and lashed to the wheel holding a rosary in Dracula. An epistolary tol
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Spooky, gloomy, erotic, and emotionally overwrought - just as any classic vampire tale should be. Zarate's novella ties explicitly to the the history of the genre - set between the pages of Dracula - but stakes out its own territory at the same time. ...more
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was utterly disturbing. But unlike anything I've ever read before. ...more
as of 2021, i will only be doing full reviews on the story graph (username: noreadingdegree). ...more
Grace W
Full review is now out:

TW for this book include: internal and external homophobia, hate crimes, rats, vampire related horror
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Route of Ice and Salt tells the story of a gay captain on his voyage to England. With that being said, the story mainly takes place on a ship. Furthermore, the story is mostly comprised of the captain's homoerotic fantasies towards his crew. There is very little dialogue and very little plot. So, if you aren't a fan of that, this book is most likely not for you. I, however, enjoyed the captain's internal monologue. His thoughts were very disturbing at times but this was all due to his repres ...more
The Route of Ice and Salt (La ruta del hielo y la sal) is a novella retelling of “Dracula” by José Luis Zárate and translated by David Bowles. This story was originally published in 1998, and as far as I can tell this is the first translation of Zárate’s work into English. He’s a well-known author in Mexico and known for his speculative/science fiction.

The choice of a re-telling of Dracula is very interesting. While the bones of the story remain the same, this novella focuses on the voyage of t
In Bram Stoker's Dracula, a mysterious ship docks in England with no crew, only the captain-- dead, tied to the ship's wheel by his own hand. A bottle with a ship's log is found on board, recounting strange happenings on the ship.

The Route of Ice and Salt is the journey for the captain of the Demeter from Bulgaria to England, carrying only a few boxes of soil as far as they know. It was published in 1998 in Mexico and is just now being translated into English by David Bowles, and beautifully so
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

This is such a dark and twisty novella that I feel this fit in exactly with the line of Stoker’s Dracula, and in fact, our author Zárate gives us a Dracula tale, the missing piece in Stoker’s novel, where our Vampire travels across the seas to his London abode.

In this novella, Dracula is not a forefront character, much like in the famous tale, but he lingers in the background, ever-present and you’re constantly aware of that.

Dracula is never named, but we
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s-read
TW: Graphic descriptions of sex and sexual fantasies, homophobia and homophobic violence, self harm, death, gothic horror

"I sleep well, thinking of nightmares"

The Route of Ice and Salt is a literary gothic horror novella inspired by thoughts of what happened on the trip that Dracula took from Wallachia to England.

José Luis Zárate contemplates thoughts and connections between hunger, desire and thirst and what they might be reduced to when encountered with fear and isolation. The allegories betwe
gema (hem-a)
The Route of Ice and Salt was originally written in Spanish in 1998 and recently translated in English. It is a poetic tale about a Dracula's journey in England and his hunger. No only hunger for blood, but also hunger for connection. It takes place at a ship, a place where initially the Dracula is not aware that he is in. Then slowly people begin to disappear. The book touches issues such homophobia and self-acceptance. This is portray in the descriptive writing where the author describes how t ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Dowry of Blood
  • Fireheart Tiger
  • Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2)
  • The Mask of Mirrors (Rook & Rose, #1)
  • Winter's Orbit
  • When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2)
  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? And other Questions about Dead Bodies
  • Burning Roses
  • Cultural Revolution
  • Hall of Smoke
  • ليس في رصيف الأزهار من يجيب
  • الإنطباع الأخير
  • سأهبك غزالة
  • التلميذ والدرس
  • الشقاء في خطر
  • Un universo en el que no nos extinguimos | A Timeline in Which We Don't Go Extinct (Una realidad más amplia, #2)
  • Axiom's End (Noumena, #1)
  • This Boy
See similar books…
Sus novelas de mayor renombre son "Xanto, novelucha libre" (1994), "La ruta del hielo y la sal" (1998) y "Del cielo oscuro y del abismo" (2001), que forman una trilogía, llamada por el autor "Las fases del mito", sobre personajes icónicos de la cultura popular. En ellas el Santo (el luchador/superhéroe fílmico mexicano), el conde Drácula y Superman, respectivamente, son vistos desde la perspectiva ...more

News & Interviews

Psychological thrillers that will leave your head spinning. Cold cases, detectives hot on a trail, unreliable narrators, and a dash of poison...
158 likes · 90 comments
“But I must see that man for the last time, tell him that Hunger is not a sin, nor is Necessity or Appetite.
What matters, I repeat, is what we are willing to do to satisfy them.”
“Le plaisir et la peur se ressemblent parfois tellement.” 0 likes
More quotes…