With the versatile voice talent of William Gaminara, acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London. It is 1888, and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel tells the story of vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and British spy Charles Beauregard 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.
©1992 Kim Newman (P)2011 Audible Ltd
"Kim Newman's Anno Dracula is back in print, and we must celebrate. It was the first mash-up of literature, history and vampires, and now, in a world in which vampires are everywhere, it's still the best, and its bite is just as sharp. Compulsory reading, commentary, and mindgame: glorious." (Neil Gaiman)
"Anno Dracula couldn't be more fun if Bram Stoker had scripted it for Hammer. It's a beautifully constructed Gothic epic that knocks almost every other vampire novel out for the count." (Christopher Fowler)
"Bloody excellent. Kim Newman has exsanguinated the best of fact and fiction and created a vivid vampirous Victorian world uniquely his own. This clever, delicious extravaganza - Hammer horror meets True (Blue) Blood - is just the tonic for the year of a Royal Wedding." (Stephen Volk)
"Anno Dracula is the smart, hip Year Zero of the vampire genre's ongoing revolution." (Paul McAuley)
"A tour de force which succeeds brilliantly." (The Times, London)
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I purchased this awhile ago and just got around to listening to it. Now, I am kicking myself for waiting so long. This book is not only a brilliant reinvention of the Dracula world but also an insightful reinvention of the Jack the Ripper story. Kim Newman uses language to its ultimate potential to create a rich Victorian environment. Each character has a fullness and depth that adds to the quality of the story without losing its energy flow. The narration is also wonderful. There are quite a few characters in this story, but William Gaminara is able to give them all unique voices. This is a must-read for paranormal fans.
"Fun combo of history with famous fiction"
The author did a great job combining historical figures with the prominent characters from Bram Stoker's Dracula (including Stoker himself). If the reader is not very familiar with the story of Dracula or such personages as Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Jack the Ripper, the book may be less enjoyable.
The narrator was perfection. Don't be put off by the accented narrator in the clip that Audible offers - that's only the short preface.
My only complaint was the ending, which seemed to come suddenly, as if the author was tired of the whole thing. Given the excitement of the denoument, which got all my attention, there were more interesting stories to come. And then it was over.
"Interesting premise, failed execution"
The premise of this book contained a lot of promise, but there is no real development of the story. Everything just sort of happens, without any real development or, quite frankly, point to it. The constant "name dropping" of the author, inserting both real and fictional characters was over the top. In addition the justification for the changes to a Victorian society and the setting required to even try to make this story work fails to be believable. There are a large number of potential plot lines that begin and then either fade out or are terminated without culminating into anything. The end result is that I have the feeling the author was trying too hard to create something brilliant and never really settled on what, exactly, he was trying to do. Even the central plot of solving the "Jack the Ripper" murders really becomes secondary and fails to really develop into anything overly central to the story. To illustrate this, the characters "solve" the ripper murders and the book goes on for another 40-50 minutes.
The narrator is good and does his best with the material so I'd be willing to listen to other books that he reads, but I'm definitely not going to pursue the sequel to this book, or likely anything else Kim Newman does.
"Great Potential, Confusing Execution"
I liked this book, but I'm giving it three stars. Why? Because, while the story was compelling and filled with references to Victorian literature and history reshaped by Dracula, I found it hard to follow. There are just way too many characters to keep track of. I listened to this on my iPhone, so perhaps it's easier to keep straight if you are actually reading the book, but I found myself going back several times trying to figure out which character's POV we were in and who belonged to what name (one character confusingly has two names he swaps back and forth - even in his own thoughts). I don't think it helps that the whole thing is written with a 3rd person omniscient narrator. I would also add that the story starts off kind of slowly. I found my thoughts drifting off frequently for the first hour or so of listening. Again, this may not be a problem if you are actually reading. In conclusion, I will definitely be giving the second installment of the Anno Dracula series a listen. I think the idea has a ton of potential and am hoping it will be seen through in book two.
"Great idea for a book, but poorly developed plot"
Great idea for a book, but unfortunately a poorly developed plot. Too much time spent with conflicting female characters. Could have developed better the "parallel history" juxtaposed with great fictional characters. Not sure I'll follow the next books.
I love the premise of the book, but just couldn't manage to make my way through it. The performance was fine, but gave up after repeated attempts.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A terrific premise. I'm still curious about other works by Kim Newman.
"very well done"
I thought Anno would be a nice diversion, but I found myself very enthralled by it. I wasn't expecting the combination of alternate history, vampire lore allusiveness, Jack the Ripper, and Victorian manners. If you have a knowledge of vampire lit you will pick up on the many allusions to famous stories. Sherlockiana, ditto. Ripperology, ditto. Victorian lit, ditto. Famous literary characters, historical figures blend and move together. Very entertaining.
"I loved the idea of this book but..."
I wanted to like this book so much. First of all the narration was great and It seemed to blend my two favorite genres, historical fiction and fantasy. For me, I found that there were too many characters, some very familiar and some new,but not enough background information. With an alternative history plot I guess I need more world building at the beginning. I found it difficult to get into the story, I kept going back a chapter or two thinking I had missed something. Maybe I'm just not smart enough for this book. I read and listen for relaxation and this book was too much work for me.
"Fantastic Victoriana at its Finest"
Kim Newman's meticulously researched Anno Dracula is a marvel of plotting and a love letter to the fantastical curios of Victorian fiction. While Dracula is the most extensively referenced text, characters created by Conan Doyle, Wells, Haggard, Kipling, Hodgson, Rohmer, Dickens, Wilde, and Shaw are seamlessly blended with historical figures to create a world that, more than any other attempt (e.g. Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman) feels like a distillation of the Victorian era, obsessed with its obsessions and more literal than the historical reality. All of that is without mentioning the wealth of vampire fiction that is drawn in. Nearly every historically appropriate vampire from literature, film, television, comic books, and folktales, no matter how trashy or obscure, finds purchase in this narrative--each a wonderfully accurate representation while still feeling like an authentic part of this narrative.
Unlike the almost overwhelming barrage of referential and nostalgia-based entertainment of the present day, the pleasures of arcana are only a small part of the narrative delight. Much like its source material, Anno Dracula is not a novel about ghoulish delight in blood and death but rather a novel about the horrors of everyday compromise. Vampirism, under Newman's disciplined hand, does not supplant the issues of class and race that so stratified Victorian society, rather it enhances them: forcing its characters to confront uncomfortable truths about their values, the source of their comfort, and their ability to find forward momentum in an age of torpor.
The novel is also beautifully melancholy. It eschews the climactic violence of most horror novels for the kind of quiet grief and creeping existential dread that follows in its wake. Newman writes a world where tragedy does not destroy so much as paralyze--a world that would have been intriguingly, perversely familiar to Ruskin, Gibbon, Arnold and other social critics of the age.
In short, in an era where most of our fantastical Victorian sensibilities are linked to the meritocratic anachronism of Steampunk--more interested in the aesthetic trappings of the century than the moral or philosophical concerns--Anno Dracula is a refreshingly authentic bit of Victoriana written as a companion to the great novels of its setting, rather than the cheap thrills of its own age.
"Boring, Boring, Boring"
William Gaminara was excellent. Book was dull.
Great voice changes. Good pacing.
Moments of good world building. But mostly tedious discussions.
There are much better books.
"Jack the Ripper meets Vlad the Impaler"
With the premise of Count Dracula being married to Queen Victoria, and many other Victorian characters, real and fictional being present, I was expecting Anno Dracula to have some humour about it. Actually, it's not a funny book, and it doesn't need to be, because it's a really entertaining gothic crime mystery. The main story revolves around the pursuit of 'Jack the Ripper', with subplots revolving around relationships between the vampires and the 'warm', set in a period of change as England gets used to accepting vampires into high society, even preferring them, and making everyday decisions over whether to 'change' to get ahead in life - after all, immortality, acute senses and impressive strength can be useful.
The dark setting of Victorian London is brilliantly depicted, as are the really graphic accounts of the murders, and visceral actions of the vampires. All of this gives a wonderful filmic quality, where the vivid imagery is quite horrible, and would be a challenge for the best special effects departments. The cameos from names you recognise serve to add colour, and allow you a rye smile as names like Oscar Wilde, Jekyll and Hyde, Dr Moreau and even Bram Stoker are all given a context. Brilliantly narrated by William Gaminara, who really captured the characterisation of upper class London.
"Chilling, Thrilling and Blood-Spilling!"
Think you know about Jack the Ripper? Kim Newman in his inimitable way weaves the dark tales of Dracula and London's first serial killer into a strange alternative thread of reality that sees the undead as social superiors, Queen Victoria married to the infamous Count and Fu Manchu in charge of the vicious underbelly of the capital's crime. Exquisite, erotic and enthralling this macabre tale is brilliantly read by William Gaminara and stands out as an unusual, shadowy and occasionally, horrifying gem. Highly recommended and hope to see the sequels added soon!
"Great story, annoying narrator"
The story is great, if slightly rambling, but the whole thing is somewhat ruined by the reader not being able to pronounce one of the main character's name. I spent much of the book wanting to yell 'it's pronounced Jen-uh-veeve you utter cretin'. Still, that aside it was a good book.
I read this book many years ago and i must say i enjoyed it even more with William ( silent witness) Gaminara narration.
It's an inventive slant on the Victorian period with many cameos from villians in that era. I so hope someone will make this into a mini series or better yet a film.
I bought this after Professor Moriarty and the Hound of the Durbervilles, which was excellent.
I didnt enjoy this one just as much but it is still very good and well worth the credit.
The way the story is woven in with history and fictional characters from different stories is very skillful and I would recommend this author highly.
"Amazing ! It draws you in with familiar characters"
Great book full of familiar faces in unfamiliar situations. I just love it so much !
"Dracula in London"
Question: What if Van Helsing failed in his attempt to kill Count Dracula? What if the count managed to take control of the English Monarchy and Government?
This is the starting block for Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula, a very good alternative history featuring a host of real and fictional Victorian characters and framed around the Jack the Ripper killings. It is very well written, close to the style of the day without becoming too heavy for a modern reader. Initially I wasn’t convinced by William Gaminara’s delivery but by the end of the book I was hooked.
"Thoroughly enjoyable alternative history romp"
For the most part a deftly told story, well written and performed with a whole raft of cultural references. Yes, it gets a bit silly sometimes - occasionally intensely so - but then it's a vampire story and mainly impressively well done.
"Solid Enjoyable Fantasy Horror"
I do enjoy a book that gives a good feel for the setting and world within which it occurs and this book does that.
The idea behind the story is great to begin with but don't expect a classic horror style for this book, it is very much a modern style of story despite it being set in the past.
The characters are likable and interesting, the amount of detail about supporting characters is enough without being too much and although it does seem to lose its focus towards the end it is well thought out and well structured to deliver an enjoyable story in an interesting reimagining of the world.
The narration was very good, the accents fine and the pacing of the reading suited the situation therefore it is an easy to listen to solid recording of the book.
"History Meets Hammer Horror With A Modern Twist"
No idea what to expect when I chose this book, but was not disappointed.
There are so many historic re-writes and characters brought into a strange and often disturbing world.
I have since bought the next 2 in the series.
They kind of remind of the best of the Hammer Horror films, with a very modern, slock horror twist on them. In places perverse an uncomfortable and in others pure horrific fiction.
The narration is fantastic.
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