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 Rating: * * * * *
I thoroughly enjoyed this take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I have to admit it was quite different than what I imagined. Joseph Barkeley has always had a knack for spotting rare editions in crowded used bookstores, and is able to tell if a manuscript is genuine without the need for any chemical testing. It’s an ability that makes him the subject of Arthur Ardelean’s search for the right man to verify the authenticity of the original draft of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and to negotiate its purchase if its authenticity is established.Joseph Barkeley, a resident of Chicago, is a rare manuscript expert who is contacted by an overseas buyer through his representative to authenticate and purchase the Stoker manuscript before it goes to auction.
The writing is good, and the story is old-school, East European-style vampire , full of atmosphere, old traditions and the people who still live them, which I enjoy. The plot is very gripping, and even though the main character isn’t very likable, he is still interesting, and so are other characters around him. I find him a rather selfish character, but with a few redeeming qualities.
Royce Prouty’s “Stoker’s Manuscript” is a modern vampire story that takes an American book authenticater born in Romania back to his roots in a way he never would have imagined. Joseph Barkeley is hired to bring Bram Stoker’s original manuscript to Transylvania for a very large sum of money, but why? Turns out some of the real Dracula’s relatives don’t want the rest of the world to find out secrets contained in the original version. Coming face to face with the unknown son of Vlad Dracul, Joseph must unravel they mysteries of his own lineage as well as those that Dalca demands if he is to survive.Much like Jonathan Harker before him, Joseph Barkeley embarks on his mission and steps directly into the web of darkness and vampires. Unlike Harker, Joseph finds his own family history tied to the legends of the Castel Bram. Until he must decide whether his actions will increase the power of evil or if he can destroy it.
The writing is good and a sequel would be possible.
Patrick Royce Prouty is a CPA, business consultant, and Harley-Davidson enthusiast. He and his wife live in Southern California. Stoker’s Manuscript is his first novel.