||Mar 31, 2014
The terrifying story of Dracula's voyage from Transylvania to Whitby, England hidden in the hold of the Russian schooner Demeter.
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"...a fiendishly clever and welcome addition to the Dracula mythology." - Fangoria Magazine
Adventure... Romance... Terror... July, 1897, the Russian schooner, Demeter, set sail from Varna with a cargo of fifty oblong boxes partially filled with earth. A month later, in a raging storm, the derelict Demeter ran aground in Whitby, England, her crew missing save for her captain, who was tied to the ship's wheel with a crucifix in his lifeless hands. The only living thing aboard was a huge dog that escaped into the night.
Bram Stoker, in his classic 'Dracula', with a few cryptic entries in an unnamed captain's journal, offered scant hints regarding the terrifying voyage that brought the vampire king from his homeland to a blood-rich London. Now, the whole mind-rending tale is told.
The story of Trevor Harrington, a British scholar and fugitive. Of Swales, the old Scot cook, who deceives their commander, but knows a good deal "aboon grims and boh-ghosts". Of Ekaterina Gabor, a beautiful Romanian who follows her lover by stowing away. Of Captain Nikilov, fighting for his ship and crew while something evil, more virulent than the black plague, decimates their number. Of Demeter herself, named for the Greek goddess of renewal, lost and tossed on an unforgiving sea. And of Count Dracula, at rest in Demeter's dark hold until the unintended actions of her crew resurrect the vampire and his unquenchable bloodlust.
Being adapted as a motion picture by ThunderBall Films.
She'd been ordered below, and knew she ought to go. But Ekaterina paused a moment more to look into the black Mediterranean, to see the ghosts of white caps on the breaking waves, to hear them slapping the ship. To listen to the wind in the sails. At least that was what she thought she was hearing.
What she actually heard was the dark gray creature, its leathery wings folded, on its stalks, its clawed thumbs pinching the canvas as it shimmied down the sail, lower and closer. She did not hear the thing let go; didn't hear it drop. She was oblivious that, as it fell, the creature transformed...
Her senses, alive with the beauty of the Mediterranean night were, an instant later, overwhelmed with horror. For something, someone, fell in a blur, landed behind and grabbed her with hands of ice. A wave of revulsion washed over Ekaterina. Cold hands, one over her mouth, the other snatching her wrists together, held her in an iron grip. A peripheral flash in the amber gloom of the face of an old man. The putrid smell of rot and decay, an awful hot breath, stifling her as her attacker's head dropped below her line of vision. A wire-brush burn as his thick mustache scratched her soft white flesh. The intense pain as razor sharp teeth violated her throat; tearing tissue, crushing capillaries, piercing a vein. Ekaterina screamed silently into her attacker's palm as her blood flowed.
Count Dracula, lusting, long starved, drank deeply.
Injecting fresh blood into a classic,
4 of 5 stars -
Author Doug Lamoreux revisits a classic of the horror genre and spins new life in a well-told tale in Dracula’s Demeter. The story reveals an unknown aspect of Bram Stoker’s original tale by exploring the doomed voyage of the Russian schooner Demeter as it ferries a mysterious cargo from the Black Sea to the shores of England. Hidden in the hold are fifty boxes of earth and the lord of all vampires, Count Dracula himself.
We’re introduced to the Russian captain Smirnov and his crew, along with a refugee Englishman named Harrington and a mysterious crew member hiding a dangerous secret. As the crew rumbles about a bad feeling onboard and mysterious weather follows the vessel, the crew of the Demeter begin to disappear one after another, falling prey to the predatory vampire hidden in the bowels of the ship’s hold.
As a lifelong fan of Stoker’s book (as flawed as it is), this was a real treat to go back and revisit this classic with Lamoreux at the rudder. It’s a brilliant concept, exploring the untold tale of the cursed voyage of the Demeter. The action is fairly standard vampire stuff, sticking close to Stoker’s parameters but it’s well told and a delight to read. Lamoreux writes with such authority about ships and seafaring life of the late 18th century that one can almost feel the spray on your face and hear the creak of the ropes.
Overall, Dracula’s Demeter is a wickedly fun read and a delightful addition to Stoker’s classic tale. A boon to Dracula fans everywhere.
- Tim McGregor author of Bad Wolf
While the saga of Dracula has been reinterpreted hundreds of times for film, there have been precious few literary variations on the Count since Bram Stoker first spun his tale over 100 years ago. Which is why Lamoreux’s latest novel (following 2011’s zestfully gory Knights Templar yarn, The Devil’s Bed) is so marvelously innovative, yet deceptively simple in its approach.
As any good card-carrying Drac fan knows, the undead nobleman relocates from his roomy Transylvanian castle digs to the pip-pip bustle of turn-of-the-19th century London via an epic sea voyage. Said journey concludes with a veritable ghost ship, the Demeter, careening into port, its crew entirely missing (save for one dead captain lashed to the wheel), its only cargo 50 soil-laden wooden boxes. Stoker, through his narrative device of correspondence and journal entries, o’erleaps the details of Demeter’s fate; whenever the voyage is depicted onscreen, it’s given relatively short shrift with a coffin lid raised here, a seaman’s shriek there, and off to Carfax Abbey we go.
Seizing this “how has no one thought of this before?” opportunity, Lamoreux vividly envisions those mysterious ocean-bound weeks, populating the vessel with an expansive but manageable cast of colorful characters (several with salty dog dialects) to which we grow quite attached. The foreknowledge that none of these poor souls will survive the trip only heightens our sense of doom, and when the body count begins, we are treated to an array of imaginative offings that will surprise and delight the most devoted dark fiction reader. Equally rewarding are the glimpses into our coffin-dwelling bloodsucker’s mind, a dark and twisted terrain befitting the millennia-old predator. Lamoreux’s rarest of beasts (a “mid-quel”?) proves to be a fiendishly clever and welcome addition to the Dracula mythology.
- Aaron Christensen, Fangoria Magazine
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