Dracul is not just another Dracula retelling.
The upcoming book by J.D. Barker (Forsaken) and Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker, Dracul is a supernatural-thriller prequel to Dracula in which a young Bram Stoker must confront an indescribable evil. It’s 1868, and Bram, at 22 years old, has locked himself inside a desolate tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles out the events that led him here — a childhood illness, a haunting nanny, stories once thought to be fables now proven true.
“Reading Dracul is like watching a classic vampire film,” R.L. Stine has already raved about the book. “Bram Stoker lives! Dracula lives! Horror lives on nearly every page. A terrifying read that gave me hours of fun.”
Told in Stoker’s trademark Gothic suspense, Dracul is considered an interpretation of the 101 missing pages from Dracula which no living person has ever seen. The book was pieced together by Dacre, bringing this story to life with his access to his great-granduncle’s editorial notes, journals, and artifacts. And if that weren’t enough to entice you, the book has also been optioned with Andy Muschietti, the man behind the It remake, slated to direct. In other words, Dracula superfans: This could be your next must-read.
EW can exclusively reveal the cover for Dracul, as well as an excerpt. Read on below for your first taste of this long-untold story, and preorder Dracul ahead of its Oct. 2 release here.
Excerpt from Dracul, by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Bram stares at the door.
Sweat trickles down his creased forehead. He brushes his fingers through his damp hair; the ache thrives behind his temples.
How long has he been awake?
Two days? Three? He doesn’t know. Each hour blends into the next, a fevered dream from which there is no waking; only sleep, deeper and then darker.
There can be no thoughts of sleep.
He forces his eyes wide. He wills them open, preventing even a single blink, for each blink comes heavier than the last. There can be no rest, no sleep, no safety, no family, no love, no future, no—
Must watch the door.
Bram stands from the chair, the only furniture in the room, his eyes locking on the thick oak door. Had it moved? He thought he had seen it move, but there had been no sound. Not the slightest of noises betrayed the silence of this place; there was only his own breathing and the anxious tapping of his foot against the cold stone floor.
The doorknob remains still. The ornate hinges appear as they probably did a hundred years ago, the lock holding firm. He never saw such a lock until his arrival at this place, forged from iron and molded in place. The mechanism itself is one with the door, bolted firmly at the center with two large deadbolts branching out to the right and left and secured to the frame. The key is in his pocket, and it will remain there.
Bram’s fingers tighten around the stock of his Snider-Enfield Mark III rifle, his index finger playing over the edge of the trigger guard. In recent hours, he has loaded the weapon and pulled and released the breech lock more times than he can count. His free hand slips over the cold steel, ensuring the bolt is in the proper position. He pulls back the hammer.
This time he sees it—a slight waver in the dust at the crack between the door and floor, a puff of air, nothing more, but movement nonetheless.
Noiseless, Bram sets the rifle down, leaning the weapon against the chair he vacated moments before.
He reaches into the straw basket on his left and retrieves a wild white rose, one of seven remaining.
The oil lamp at his side flickers with the motion, the only light in the room.
With caution, he approaches the door.
The last rose lay in a shriveled heap, the petals brown and black and ripe with death, the stem dry and sickly with thorns appearing larger than they had when the flower still held life. The stench of rot wafts up; the rose has taken on the scent of a corpse flower.
Bram kicks the old rose away with the toe of his boot and gently sets the new one in its place, resting the bloom against the bottom of the door. “Bless this rose, Father, with your breath and hand and all things holy. Direct your angels to watch upon it, and guide their touch to hold all evil still. Amen.”
From the other side of the door comes a bang, the sound of a thousand pounds impacting the old oak. The door buckles, and Bram jumps back to the chair, his hand scooping up the leaning rifle and taking aim as he falls to one knee.
Then all is quiet again.
Bram remains still, the rifle sighted on the door until the weight of the gun causes his aim to falter. He lowers the barrel then, his eyes sweeping the room.
What would one think if they were to walk in and see such a sight?
He has covered the walls with mirrors, nearly two dozen of them in all shapes and sizes, all he had. His tired face stares back at him a hundredfold as the image bounces from one mirror to the next. Bram tries to look away, only to find himself staring back into the eyes of his own reflections, each face etched with lines that belong on a man much older than his twenty-two years.
Between the mirrors, he has nailed crosses, nearly fifty of them. Some bear the image of Christ while others are nothing more than fallen branches nailed together and blessed by his own hand. He continued the crosses onto the floor, first with a piece of chalk, then by scraping directly into the stone with the tip of his Bowie knife until no surface remained untouched. Whether or not it is enough, he can not be sure, but it is all he could do.
He can’t leave.
Most likely, he will never leave.
Bram finds his way back to the chair and settles in.
Outside, a loon cries out as the moon comes and goes behind thick clouds. He pulls the pocket watch from his coat and curses—he forgot to wind it, and the hands ceased movement at four thirty. He stuffs it back into his pocket.
Another bang on the door, this one louder than the last.
Bram’s breath stills as his eyes play back over the door, just in time to see the dust dance at the floor and settle back down to the stone.
How long can it hold against such an assault?
Bram doesn’t know. The door is solid, to be sure, but the force behind it grows angrier with each passing hour, its determination to escape growing as the dawn creeps nearer.
The edges of the rose petals have already begun to brown, much faster than the last.
What will become of him when it finally does breach the door? He thinks of the rifle and the knife and knows they will be of little use.
He spots his journal on the floor beside the basket of roses; it must have fallen from his coat. Bram picks up the tattered leather-bound volume and thumbs through the pages before returning to the chair, one eye still on the door.
He has very little time.
Plucking a pencil from his breast pocket, he turns to a blank page and begins to write by the flickering light of the oil lamp.
FromDracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, to be published on October 2, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker.