When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.
After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.
Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.
“My name is Arthur Ardelean,” said the caller, “and I have been directed to you, Mr. Barkeley, on a professional matter.” He rolled his r’s and sounded my last name in three syllables.
“How can I be of service, Mr. Ardelean?”
“I represent a buyer who insists upon anonymity. Can you stipulate to anonymity and exclusivity in a contract, Mr. Barkeley?”
“Would this purchase be something that is currently on my website?”
“No, it is not. Presently the item is on display in a museum in Philadelphia. Abraham Stoker’s original manuscript of Dracula and notes thereon.” He pronounced it Drah-kyula.
“The rarest of treasures,” I said.
“The buyer wishes to purchase the entire display without . . . unnecessary exposure to the auction and handling process. The buyer is willing to pay whatever it takes to prevent the manuscript from seeing the light of day.”
“That is why it is essential that your buyer’s agreement is both exclusive and anonymous.”
“You, of course, would be compensated most generously . . .”
—from Stokers Manuscript
Lost in the night, somewhere,
“It’s almost impossible not to keep reading. Prouty’s careful, sometimes daring mingling of history and legend with fiction makes for a tantalizing novel.”
—John Edgar Browning, editor of The Forgotten Writings of Bram Stoker
debut, a riveting novel of supernatural suspense, deftly mixes fact
and fiction involving the manuscript of Bram Stoker’s
great vampire novel, Dracula. Stoker’s
Manuscript illustrates the
Dracula legacy: confounding coincidences of history, missing
documents, and unanswerable questions about Bram Stoker’s
“In all, a fun read,
well-plotted....An obvious choice for fans of Dracula and
“There’s always a danger when a book delves into what many see as a classic that it will either ruin the original or just be seen as a story that is designed to cash in on the fame of what has gone before. What this title by Royce does is take the mythos behind the script of Stokers classic and build upon the lore pertaining to the Lords of the Undead. It’s creepy, it has a real feeling of authenticity and for me, was a story that I absolutely loved as I devoured the pages to see what would happen next.
Add to this a
principle character that the readers will enjoy spending time with
as well as a wonderfully dark and evocative description of the
landscape and all round as a reader I was more than immersed until
the final page turned. Great stuff.”
“The first chapter
sucked me in right away—it’s almost impossible not to keep reading.
Prouty’s careful, sometimes daring mingling of history and legend
with fiction makes for a tantalizing novel in which he interweaves,
to great effect, some of the mysteries surrounding the genesis of
Dracula’s writing. Stoker’s Manuscript is a modernized,
self-aware, meta-retelling of Dracula. The Count’s black caleche (carriage) in Stoker’s Victorian novel is replaced by a
black suburban in Prouty’s novel, and the Transylvania of Stoker’s
day is here transformed into the modern state of Romania. Newcomers
to Stoker’s masterpiece will want to go back and read the original
tale, and the already diehard fan will want to re-read it.”
ROYCE PROUTY is a CPA and business consultant. He and his wife live in Southern California. Stoker’s Manuscript is his first novel.