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Dracula and Beyond: Top 10 Vampire Books

Posted on 30th December 2019 by Mark Skinner

The charismatic Count from Transylvania remains as popular as ever, with the forthcoming BBC adaptation of Dracula joining recent books by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Bram Stoker's great-grand nephew Dacre Stoker that approach both the original story and its genesis from intriguing and rewarding angles. Below you will find a selection of bitingly brilliant novels about Count Dracula specifically and vampires in general, to chill the blood and thrill the mind.   

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There were vampire books before Dracula but it is Stoker’s gothic epic that has come to define the horror genre more than any other novel. From its iconic tropes to its now-familiar cast of characters, such as Mina Murray, Van Helsing and, of course, the eponymous Count, Dracula has lost none of its power to terrify and enthrall.
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Taking his cue from Bram Stoker’s own notes, Dacre Stoker spins a web of gothic intrigue and monstrous terror as the fictionalised creator of Dracula faces an unimaginable horror of his own. Both a fascinating account of Bram Stoker’s early life and a heart-stoppingly terrifying tale of the uncanny, Dracul is one of the horror novels of the year.
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The Young Adult debut from Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winning Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a sensuous, sinister chiller that reimagines the story of Dracula from the point of view of his enslaved brides. A compelling tale of love and companionship set amongst the stygian murk of Transylvania, The Deathless Girls is a scintillating work of gothic fiction.
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Thoroughly immersive and chillingly atmospheric, Kostova’s remarkably assured debut plunders the Dracula myth to craft a thrilling modern-day mystery with evocative echoes of medieval vampire lore. Sustaining extraordinary narrative suspense for over seven hundred pages, The Historian is a master-class in storytelling from an exceptional literary talent.
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From the gleefully twisted imagination of Kim Newman comes a barnstorming alternate history novel where Dracula is Queen Victoria’s new consort and vampires are an everyday feature of society. With a plot revolving around Jack the Ripper and lashings of grand-guignol gothic adventure, Anno Dracula is a tremendous horror/whodunit romp.
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A cornerstone of the vampire genre, Rice’s stunningly accomplished spine-chiller finds a tormented vampire recounting his tragic, immortal existence. Character driven and emotionally intelligent, Interview with the Vampire elevated the vampire story to literary credibility whilst retaining the gothic thrills and melodrama so beloved of the form.
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Credited with introducing the vampire to British popular culture, Polidori’s gothic novel dates from the same era as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and shares much of its heightened realism and crepuscular atmosphere. This edition also includes numerous other short works of pioneering horror from a variety of period authors, resulting in a darkly fascinating glance at the origins of the vampire genre
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One of the finest modern vampire tales, Lindqvist’s complex work draws out the metaphorical allusions of vampirism and interweaves them with themes of social realism, teenage ennui and the tormented bonds of friendship. Sensitively written, poignant and very, very frightening, Let the Right One In is a landmark of twenty-first century horror.
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Slowly building a tangible atmosphere of ominous dread, Martin’s masterful tale of the supernatural unfolds against a backdrop of steamships in Antebellum Mississippi, and a sinister benefactor with some very strange habits. Full of deftly handled twists and turns, Fevre Dream is a thoroughly rewarding change of pace from the creator of A Song of Ice and Fire.
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Wire-taut and almost unbearably tense, Matheson’s ground-breaking zombie/vampire hybrid unleashed a horde of imitators and continues to influence both horror and sci-fi genres. Told in crisp, spare prose, I Am Legend’s lone-wolf narrative demands a one-sitting reading.
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Comments

David Northey

No Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett? His parody of the whole Vampire genre View more

David Northey
4th January 2020
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