Written by Scotty
For some people, finding out where you have come from is one of the most important things to do as they would like to continue their family’s legacy. Sometimes they find things out that leave themselves ashamed of what has been carried on in the family’s name, but will do anything to change the way their family has been looked upon. Orphans have to do much more research to figure out their heritage, but once they do, they feel much more fulfilled as they never really had a chance to know any of their relatives.
Joseph Barkeley, a rare book dealer and examiner and brother Bern, a priest, are both orphans who were moved to America after their father committed a murder, suicide in their home country of Romania. Joseph has made a fine name for himself, delivering some of the rarest editions that he can possibly get his hands on to some of the finest buyers. Running his shop online, Barkeley hardly ever gets to meet his clients face to face, but when he does, he sees their eyes lighting up upon his special deliveries.
Receiving a phone call from Arthur Ardelean, Joseph is intrigued in what his next task will be. The original manuscript of Bram Stoker’s Dracula will be on display at the Chicago museum and the family is looking to auction it off. Arthur’s client is very interested in the rare edition and would like for Joseph to test its authenticity before he attempts to buy it. The second thing that Joseph is tasked with is to make sure that the missing chapters are included in the package. Not knowing what these two chapters would include, Joseph did his research on the famous Dracula novel along with Stoker himself to make sure that he was not going into the situation blind. Finding out that the original printings of this novel were all destroyed in a fire along with this being the only definitive work Bram Stoker ever published, Joseph was on his way to check out the manuscript.
Upon his authentication process, Joseph found that the two chapters deviated from what is in the novel he is reading today. A large battle leading to the defeat of Dracula, with names of places and directions to where crypts were kept. Satisfied with the results, Joseph’s client had him purchase the manuscript and deliver it to Romania by hand. Joseph, knowing his roots to a point was a bit frightened to return to his native land, but took solace that he would be greatly rewarded for completing his task. He arrived and was escorted to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) to meet with his new client and give advice on how to display his new purchase. Little does Joseph know that the man he is serving will require much more out of him than just delivery as a mystery starts to unwind about his origins and new master.
Stoker’s Manuscript follows Joseph Barkeley as his is tasked with finding the hidden grave of his new master’s wife. Dalca is wanting to find the resting place of his wife, but is not able to go hunting and survey landmarks during the day, just like his father. Joseph keeps at his research to find the grave site, along with keeping his head attached when he cannot deliver the results Dalca requires. Being helped by a Gypsy woman in town, Sonia, Joseph finds that he is in for the ride of his life as he had never believed in the vampire lore, but is caught in the middle of it now. With finding out that his mother was also part of the group that he is serving, Joseph looks to find a way to protect himself, the adjoining town and possibly the world from a new outbreak of the undead. Finding allies is not an easy task in a distant land, but finding that Dalca has an enemy nearby, Joseph comes up with a plan to defeat them both.
Author Royce Prouty hits a home run for anyone that has taken the time to do some background research on the lore of Dracula. As he runs through all of the myths surrounding the classic vampire, he also delves into the history of the main character, Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) of whom the novel was written about. Tying together the history of a classical ruler with an intriguing storyline makes it just that much more believable. With a strong story and not too much bloodshed, this is great novel that could give you a little more information into the classical story of Dracula, along with a slight history lesson into where his story actually came to light. Happy reading.