Title: Vlad: The Last Confession
Author: C. C. Humphreys (Chris Humphreys)
I picked this book up just because. When I was visiting a friend of mine, we were discussing things to read and while I was going out she simply thrust this book into my hand together with her copy of the first volume of The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, and said it was about the real dracula and that it was interesting. I just said okay and went on my merry way. Then comes the week of Halloween, more specifically the day before it, and I was commenting with my friends on how we don't celebrate Halloween significantly in Brazil and considering I'd just finished a book the day before, I thought I would pick one up that had the most to do with the theme of the holiday, which was this one book. I had no real expectations for it, which is why I guess it actually ranked a 4 in my book when the amount of gore of this book would have automatically banished it to a 3.5 or a 3. The guy was called Vlad, the Impaler for a reason. And it is a good read. I read it impressively fast, like a week or so, because I really enjoyed the historical background: the crusades and the dominion of the so-called Unfaithful and the fall of Constantinople. Those are topics that, although not my favorite, are quite interesting and the background is so rich a lot of stories can come from them. I also enjoyed the way the author created this tale: a confession, not a real story, told from the guy. The reader never really knows what Dracula was thinking, they only know what others thought about him, which adds a new, interesting spin to the tale, that is a possibility of judgement. It is actually what the author proposes: read Dracula's somewhat true version of his tales and judge him. Was he right? Did he have a right to do those things he did under the guise of God? Did they have a right to judge him before? It leads to a serious amount of thoughts afterwards and I really enjoyed this part.
A description taken from the author's website: "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. His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and who he has to… sacrifice. His closest comrade… and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes – ‘The Impaler’. But Vlad’s actions defy such labels. Like the comet that scorched Wallachian skies the summer he took and held his father’s throne, his extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade – and there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his… innumerable sins."