Today is the 123th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which drew on a long tradition of vampire folk lore, and went on to become a hugely popular trope of fiction drama and film.
I explored the ‘real’ Dracula: Vlad Tepes III in my novels The Order of Darkness. In history, Count Vlad was an extraordinary character, a warrior against the Ottoman Empire, a monster of cruelty, an astute political player, and still a hero in his native Romania. He was the son of Vlad II Dracul, ruler of Wallachia, who received his name after his induction to the Order of the Dragon – a Christian military order.
Vlad Tepes is also remembered as Vlad the Impaler after his preferred method of execution – a particularly gruesome death. His reputation for brutality began in his own lifetime, though some of the stories that have become infamous to us now – such as Vlad dining in a field of soldiers he has slain, dipping his bread in their blood before eating it – are undoubtedly exaggerated. But while his rule was undoubtedly vicious, Vlad also helped to rebuild and stabilise Wallachia despite the many years of war and upheaval the country had seen. He punished lawbreakers and anyone working against him, strengthening central government and ensuring public order.
I hope to write the fourth and final novel in the series when the mysterious Lord who commands the ‘satan seekers’ and the heroine’s ‘godfather’ Count Vlad are unmasked.