This is a dark and compelling story. I love the mystery throughout the storyline as Joseph has to solve the clues in the manuscript before his time runs out. This is very well written and full of vivid detail. I will admit that part of the draw for me is the underdog notion. Joseph Barkeley is far from the stereotypical hero, in that he is quiet, introverted and lives in a world of literature. Then he is swept up into an insidious quest that pushes him to his limits. In this plot vampires are not the beautiful creatures depicted in pop-culture but they are more true to the original more terrifying monster that goes bump on the night.
Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, along with his notes. The buyer is strange and intimidating but the money is too good to turn down. When he delivers the manuscript he is held prisoner until he can decipher the burial site of certain Dracul family members from the texts. He must think fast and ensure that Vlad Dracul’s son continues to find him useful or he will perish. As he slides deeper into darkness and hopelessness he realizes that so much depends on his actions. Will he choose the path of goodness or will his fear rule him?
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.