Friday, October 05, 2007
Renfield: Slave of Dracula (R.I.P Challenge # 9)
Hambly, Barbara. Renfield: Slave of Dracula. I first read about this one on Chris's blog, and I'm so glad that I followed through with Chris's recommendation. Like The Historian, this novel is an extension of the Dracula story, managing both to keep to Stoker's version and to present another perspective-- from Renfield's point of view. There are some changes, but the changes are in keeping with another perspective, in much the same way that eye-witness accounts will differ according to each witness' individual experience and background.
Hambly skillfully recreates Stoker's original style and develops the story through the journals and letters of the participants with additional details supplied by Renfield's own journal. She interweaves the stories, but focuses on Renfield and his connection to Dracula so that the original story of Lucy and Mina and their defenders becomes somewhat peripheral to Renfield's struggle with his "Master."
One of the most interesting additions Hambly makes is the development of the three vampire wives. In the original, the women have a brief, but important role, yet the women never evolve into real characters. Hambly lets them emerge, stepping from the background, into influential roles. I like that Hambly chooses to elaborate on their roles, especially the role of Nomie, and make them a larger part of the story.
Parts of the first half become a bit repetitive, but didn't bother me much. Renfield:Slave of Dracula is, as Chris mentioned, an excellent companion to Dracula, a fascinating perspective on the original story.
Parts of the book are chilling, but on page 205, Renfield's notes of 8 October made me laugh out loud.
(The following list, which I think I will refer to for next year's R.I.P. challenge--if not sooner, via Patricia's Vampire Notes)
Following is a brief list of modern day novels using characters from Stoker's Dracula as protagonists.
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman.
Blood to Blood: The Dracula Story Continues by Elaine Bergstrom
Bloodline by Kate Cary.
The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman
The Book of Renfield : A Gospel of Dracula by Tim Lucas
The Diaries of the Family Dracul. by Jeanne Kalogridis - a series of three novels which should be read in order.
Covenant With the Vampire
Children of the Vampire
Lord of the Vampires
The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen.
This novel is followed by several others that are based on the closeness of Dracula (in this series he's a good guy) to Mina Harker and her descendants.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Judgement of Tears: Anno Dracula 1959 by Kim Newman
Mina by Elaine Bergstrom.
Renfield Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly
And a podcast about vampires before Dracula can be found here.
Fiction. Gothic. 2006. 306 pages.