cover image Anno-Dracula


Kim Newman. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $21 (359pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-967-7

What if Count Dracula married Queen Victoria? On this intriguing, but inescapably silly, conceit, Newman ( Jago ) bases his exercise in historical horror fiction, previously published in the U.K. In England, circa 1888, ``turning'' vampire is all the rage: such luminaries as Oscar Wilde, Inspector Lestrade, Sherlock Holmes's collaborator, and the Queen herself have embraced vampirism. Those who haven't find themselves shunned by society and facing banishment to internment camps if their opposition to the new regime becomes threatening. Enter Jack the Ripper. In this version of history, he is none other than Jack Seward, the lovelorn doctor of Bram Stoker's Dracula , who here murders vampire women to avenge the death of his beloved Lucy. While Londoners, vampire and ``warm'' alike, vie to catch the Ripper for their own agendas, Charles Beauregard, agent of Conan Doyle's mysterious Diogenes Club, must track him down for the most vital reason of all: the future of England. Newman's meticulous attention to historical detail occasionally seems superfluous in a work of such unabashed fantasy, but his prose is sure-handed and vivid, especially in Seward's diary entries, which, free of the welter of Victorian trivia, are truly engrossing. (Sept.)