Dracula. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality.Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his tale not one of a monster but of a man and a contradiction. For the one they called ‘The Devil’s Son’ was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer.
Vlad: The Last Confession spins legend and facts together into a monumental novel of blood, love, and terror. This is the true story of Dracula as it has never been told before.
©2010 C.C. Humphreys (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"An accessible, fast-paced, narrative-driven, damn-near-irresistible historical thriller. Humphreys's research infuses every page, but never calls attention to itself; the story always has centre stage. It's the consummate 'good read' for a rainy fall weekend, pulpy and engrossing and just gross enough to satisfy that monster craving." (Toronto Globe)
"Vlad: The Last Confession is a superb page-turner from start to finish that offers a captivating look at the true picture of Vlad. Highly, highly recommended. No vampires though." (FantasyCritic.com)
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Heralding itself to be the first novel written of Vlad the Impaler (can that really be so?), I walked into this one with more curiosity than expectation. The story lends itself to gratuitous and brutal spectacle, with the subject matter almost dictating a level of inhumanity that you'd expect to find these days on HBO. It's the kind of thing we can get desensitized to very quickly. And that's really the point of this book. It takes a skilled writer to get inside the head of a personality such as Vlad and turn him into something far more interesting than a mere monster, to show how and why this man became desensitized to the very things he is known for.
All of the familiar hotspots of the legends are here, all of the brutality and cunning you expect are present, but there is much more you might not expect to find. I found humanity, sympathy, and compassion as much as I found all of the classic bits that are the mainstays of the Impaler legend. The tightrope that is walked here is done so with precision, presenting a vivid reminder that perhaps any of us might be capable of anything given a time, place, and circumstance. Various histories of the crusades that I've read over the years would suggest that Vlad is indeed a product of own circumstance, combined with the strength to persevere. This tale is the classic warning of history, to be careful of becoming that which you oppose. C.C. Humphreys has done exactly what he tells you he intended in his introduction: he tells the story of the man and leaves you to judge the level of the monster. There's an old saying that every man is the hero of his own story, and there is no greater face of evil than the face of good. If you think you're ready to meet the man behind the Impaler, give this one a read.
The book was great! At the start and end of the book, Humphreys says that he tried not to judge Vlad, only tell his story and let the listener judge for themselves. I think he does just that. There are parts of this book that made me shiver with horror and the acts committed by Vlad the Impaler, yet this book does not classify him as simply as other popular stories have: simply evil. The book does not shy away from the acts he committed, but neither do they try to excuse it away. But you get the sense that Vlad believed-truly believed- that was he was oing was for the best of his country. The story is complex, and you alternately despise Vlad and sympathize with him. It was hard for me to stop listening!
He was an excellent narrator. He gave the characters emotion, and you could feel the pain, anger, longing, hope, fear, an love in each characters voice. Moody really brought this story to life.
there are some very violent moments in this book. I physically cringed at some of the descriptions of impaling. It still is a great book, but just be prepared!
Definitely, and I have already. See my review/comments below.
Too hard to pick, since you loved them one moment, and hated them the next.
Vlad's best friend Ion, (I think that is the way it is spelled, pronounced like yahn.)
Both, and most of all it made me rage, and feel such deep, abiding sorrow for who and what Vlad became, and so angry at the people around him who claimed to love him and then betrayed him.
I waited a couple of months to write this after the second listening, just to make sure I wasn't just enthralled by another Dracula book. Since I still am thinking about it, I decided it was time to give my opinion. I cannot express how much I loved this book. It was rather difficult to get into, and I don't think I would have read it in paper format. After the first couple of hours, I was completely engrossed. Once I finished it, I could not stop thinking about it, and within a month had listened to it again, and will probably do so yet again. Having read every book out there on Dracula and vampires (and this before there was the huge vampire genre) this book was truly a revelation. I have been seduced by the vampire legend for many years, but this book was fascinating for delving into what made Dracula; the man, the story and the myth, all woven into one.
There are so many horrific and poignant events in this book, from his time with the Turks; where he learns to stitch his leatherwork, admire his teacher, learn of his enemy's most effective methods of torture, and then upon his return to his homeland; to have such undying faith, to love deeply, and then know such betrayal from both, to stay true to his ultimate goal of ridding his land of the infidels, and to remain silent, for his best friend's benefit, of the truth of his supposed ultimate betrayal of Ion's great love, it was engrossing, exhausting and exhilarating. To be so thoroughly appalled, and yet understanding of his torment and subsequent torture, made me realize that this book will rank as one of my most favorite books of all time. It was brilliant, I think I will listen to it again very soon.....
This novel treats would could have been an intriguing subject in an annoyingly a trite and cartoonish manner. I became so irritated by the two-dimensional characterizations and romance-novel tone that I couldn't stand listening to more than about three hours of it despite my interest in the subject matter. I would advise anyone with a serious interest in the topic to look elsewhere.
Drags on a bit. Still worth a listen, but I would not rush to buy it.
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