In Dracula’s Secret, I play some very strange games with the accepted interpretations of Vlad the Impalerís life story. Once I got my first draft down, I double checked my historiography. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t completely off my rocker. Even the most cursory look at the secondary and tertiary sources on Vlad Dracula shows a stunning (or tedious, depending on your personality) number of resources on how bloodthirsty and cruel this particular historical figure was.
To find out where they got their information, I did what every self-respecting historian does. I checked their bibliographies for their primary sources. This is what I found.
– Vlad Dracul II lived from 1431-1476.
– No sources survive from Vlad himself (despite it being commonly
reported that he was highly educated and literate). This includes any of his legislative acts.
– No sources survive from his brothers, father, wives, other relatives, or even friends.
– The only primary source that is contemporary to Vlad’s life is in the Monastery of St. Gall, in Switzerland. It was written by an unknown author in 1462. The manuscript gives a number of anecdotes about Vlad (thirty-two, according to the translation I read). The translator claims that six of those thirty-two stories are confirmed by other sources, but does not name those sources.
– The stories discussing Vlad’s crimes against humanity were not verified by other contemporary sources.
– The Russian and German documents that discuss Vlad’s preference for disemboweling animals, etc., etc., etc., date from 1490 at the earliest.
– The woodcut portraits of Vlad date from 1488 and 1491. The famous oil portrait comes from the second half of the 17th century. Which, I might point out, is nearly 200 years after Vlad died.
– Many scholars make much of the oral transmissions of the folk tales of Romania. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any analysis of these stories by anthropologists or historians that would confirm the accuracy. Folk tales often are multipurpose stories – they could be cautionary tales or money makers to fleece the unsuspecting. I’ve not seen any studies done of where the folktales agree with the primary sources. For example, contemplate the relationship people in the United States have with George Washington. The old cherry tree tale has been discredited, but how many of us still remember it and tell it?
What all this boils down to is very simple:
We don’t know that much about this historical figure. So as a result, I felt like I could play with this person, bring my own interpretation to the story of Dracula. After all, my outrageous ideas seem to fit right in with the rest. 🙂
I’m sure that I’ve missed a lot of information on the historical Dracula. I look forward to hearing from others who want to share their research with me!
In a world where humans and paranormal creatures share an uneasy coexistence, Valerie Tate has a secret. Not only is she one of the last surviving vampires, she is also the Dracula of legend, having lived her life in disguise and eventually reverting to her natural, female form after going into exile during World War II.
On the eve of a historic paranormal summit in Portland, Valerie has come to the city with one sole goal: to kill her brother, vampire Radu Tepes. Radu is about to announce his candidacy for the office of President, but he has secret, sinister motives for his desire to become the first vampire president of the United States.
Valerie does not want to be distracted from her goal, but when she realizes Lance can lead her to Radu she becomes his bodyguard. But not all is as it seems, for Lance is no ordinary human. He is actually a Fallen Angel with paranormal abilities of his own, abilities that he will have to rediscover in time to save both his life and Valerie’s.
Contact Linda: Blog | Facebook |Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page