cover image Renfield: Slave of Dracula

Renfield: Slave of Dracula

Barbara Hambly, . . Berkley, $23.95 (306pp) ISBN 978-0-425-21168-7

Like Tim Lucas in The Book of Renfield (2005), Hambly retells Bram Stoker's Dracula from the viewpoint of its most memorable peripheral character, the mad, insect-eating Renfield. His role as the count's human factotum and facilitator complicates a larger story in which Renfield struggles to conceal from conniving relatives and doctors the whereabouts of his beloved wife and daughter. Though Renfield dies at his employer's hands before the end in Stoker's original, Hambly (Circle of the Moon ) contrives an imaginative way to prolong his involvement in the story. Unfortunately, the madman's ravings become repetitive, tedious and improbable once certain truths about him are revealed. Though Hambly tries to craft a portrait of Renfield as a tragic victim, his frequent references to Stoker's characters and their adventures only remind the reader that a more interesting vampire adventure is unfolding beyond the borders of Renfield's asylum and the events of this novel. (Sept.)