Dracula Returns In The Official Sequel THE UN-DEAD

After emerging from the grave for countless films, comics and unofficial spinoff novels, Bram Stoker's immortal vampire has been resurrected officially for a new follow-up novel and movie.
Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of famed gothic novelist Bram Stoker (below right), and screenwriter Ian Holt, are banking several million dollars for the North American-English publishing rights of The Un-Dead, their authorized sequel to the elder Stoker's horror classic Dracula.

While Dutton U.S. and Harper U.K. signed a single novel deal, Penguin-Canada signed up for two additional sequels.

"I was thrilled by this page-turning story and loved spending time with those great characters," said Penguin-Canada senior editor Laura Shin. "Stoker and Holt did a fantastic job melding the old with the new, and I found the work to be a virtually seamless continuation of the original. The story has all the hallmarks of a historical novel, but with a modern sensibility that gives it wide-spread appeal."

The writers obtained access to Bram's hand-written notes for Dracula--which itself originally was entitled The Un-Dead--and made use of them for the sequel, which is set in 1912 London.

"Our story includes characters and plot threads that had been excised by the publisher from the original printing over a century ago," said Canadian-born Dacre, former coach of the Canadian Olympic Pentathlon team who now lives in South Carolina.

A quarter century after the savage count apparently "crumbled into dust," Quincey Harker, the son of original heroes Jonathan and Mina, has become involved in a troubled theatre production of Dracula, which plunges Quincey into the world of his parents' terrible secrets, but before he can confront them he is faced with a new, personal horror.

The sequel adopts a more direct storytelling route than the original, which was written as a collection of diaries, letters and newspaper articles. According to HarperCollins U.K. publisher Jane Johnson, this "makes it more immediately accessible to a modern thriller readership, while remaining faithful to the spirit and atmosphere of the Victorian original."

The Un-Dead is the first Dracula story to enjoy the full support of the Stoker clan since the 1931 Bela Lugosi-starring movie, which was based on Hamilton Deane's and John Balderston's 1927 Broadway stage production. Stoker's original novel hadn't been a big bestseller upon its initial publication in 1897, but, thanks to the combined popularity of the movie and stage play, it's not been out of print since. According to Dacre's agent, Dracula (left) is outsold only by the Christian Bible.

50-year-old Dacre admitted to ALISON FLOOD of The Guardian (UK) that he only got around to reading his uncle's opus when he went to college, and he was stunned to discover how little resemblance it bore to all the film versions. "Because the novel was so good and had stood up so well over the years, I found it exceedingly sad that all of the trash Hollywood had put out monumentally sullied Bram's and my family's literary legacy."

Then, five years ago, Dacre got the salve to his pain in the form of an email. New York-based writer Ian Holt, a member of The Transylvanian Society of Dracula and an award-winning documentarian wanted to "resurrect" the classic tale.

"I got in touch with Dacre and he thought I was this nut job," the 39-year-old Holt related to JOSH WINGROVE of Canada's Globe & Mail. "But after listening to me and discussing my vision of what I had in mind, he got very interested."

A film adaptation of the sequel novel already has been scripted by Holt with Alexander Galant and will be co-produced by Speed director Jan de Bont when it goes before the cameras in June 2009. The 568-page novel itself will materialize on bookshelves the following October.

"Our intent is to give both Bram and Dracula back their dignity," said Dacre, who now conducts seminars on--appropriately--blood-borne pathogens. "Maybe even more important is to give the novel's legions of loyal fans what they have been waiting over a century for...the return of the real Dracula."
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