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Vlad Dracula and the Ottoman Invasions


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Post #1 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 03:45 AM

I've long believed that good historical fiction fires the imagination and provides ideas for scenarios in our hobby. I've also had a long-term interest in the history of Eastern Europe and the waves of Ottoman invasions during the late Medieval era, especially that related to the historical Vlad Dracula and the Myths that surround him and the environment he lived in, as can be seen in my original "Wolfen" diorama;

 

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I recently stumbled across a series of books that tick all the necessary boxes for me. There's two in the series so far.

Volume 1 is "Son of the Dragon";

 

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Here's a excerpt from a review on Amazon;

 

Every once in a rare while I stumble on a book where, once I start reading, I find myself itching to get back to it whenever it's not open right in front of me - including after I've finished it. This is one of those books. What makes it more notable than your average page-turner is that the author, Victor T. Foia, is a novice novelist who's managed to just really nail it the first time.

I'm a history afficionado and if you are too, you should definitely check this book out. Without a trace of dryness, Son of the Dragon is an impeccably researched, historically faithful portrait of a fascinating place and time: 15th Century Wallachia (part of present-day Romania) during the Ottoman-Hungarian Wars when it sat nervously wedged between the land-hungry Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, to which Wallachia was culturally closer but not exactly a paragon of good will and fraternity. This was a time of gypsies and kings, crusaders and jihadis, dark castles and darker forests replete with robbers and wolves - real-life archetypes for the fairy tales we all know, not to mention the Dracula vampire legend itself. All are masterfully brought to life by Mr Foia.

The historical yarn alone would have been enough for me. But as a horror fan, I loved this book as well. This is not a horror story, but you'll certainly get your fill of fear and spurting gore (like I said, it's never dry). And after reading it you may want to go back to your favorite "traditional" Dracula adaptations with the new perspectives you've gained. In fact, my next read is going to be Bram Stoker's "Dracula", which I last looked at when I was about 15.

If you're neither into history nor horror but just like a good read, I still recommend this book to you because it has everything a good story should have: an engaging and down to earth style, sophisticated, intriguing characters, drama, suspense, danger, humor, lust ... plus it's a coming of age story par excellence about no less a personage than Vlad the Impaler.

 

To be continued in my next post....


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Post #2 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 03:53 AM

Continued from my previous post....

 

Volume 2 is called "Empire of the Crescent Moon";

 

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And here's a couple more excerpts from reviews on Amazon;

 

1.

I re-read the first volume to remind myself of all the details that transpired before starting on book two and transition was absolutely smooth. The second book is even more interesting than the first one. The story and the plot moved to a different land with new challenges and making our young hero, with whom I think we all fell in love with, lose much of his power. Several intertwining Machiavellian, or should I say Byzantine stories, all intersect in a way that makes both storytelling and historical sense. I thought I knew where the story was going toward the end, but boy was I surprised! Hey Victor, where is Gruya, you said he was coming to the rescue!?

The way I feel about the Dracula Chronicles series is thus - if we can wait a whole year to watch the next season of Downton Abbey, we can wait another year to read the next volume of Dracula Chronicles. And one day, we will be waiting for the next TV season of it as well!

 

2.

Much as I enjoyed the account of Vlad's childhood in Son of the Dragon, I found this sequel even more brilliant. The suspense is carried from chapter to chapter in a crescendo, and the realism of the background is almost visible. Learning history from a work of vivid fiction is a real pleasure. It is clear that the author has done extensive research to ensure the accuracy of the events, locations and culture of the Ottoman empire, extending even to depictions of physical objects such as the garments and weapons. One finds oneself identifying with the characters of the novel and sharing their torment and their ardor.

 

This series of books are now firmly on my must-have list for reading up on this fascinating period of European history.

Meanwhile, I've got this to complete;

 

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Post #3 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:24 AM

Excellent reviews Harry.  The publishers should pay you for your enticing descriptions of these works.  While these books seem like great reads, one of your general observations in particular really caught my eye.

 

"Learning history from a work of vivid fiction is a real pleasure."

 

I couldn't agree more and have more than proved that with my own fascination with the great historical novels by Cornwell.  It is a treat to find new authors that can provide such pleasure.



Post #4 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:47 PM

Excellent reviews Harry.  The publishers should pay you for your enticing descriptions of these works.  While these books seem like great reads, one of your general observations in particular really caught my eye.

 

"Learning history from a work of vivid fiction is a real pleasure."

 

I couldn't agree more and have more than proved that with my own fascination with the great historical novels by Cornwell.  It is a treat to find new authors that can provide such pleasure.

Absolutely agree. When it's done well historical fiction can be extremely rewarding. But the emphasis is on "done well". I've seen some utterly ridiculous fiction in certain on-line discussion boards that have made me burst out loud with merriment at the obvious nonsense written by these "Walter Mitty" characters. It really just makes me wonder exactly what goes on in some heads. I guess there's no importance quite like self-importance. Still though, the good stuff more than makes up for the drivel.

Cheers

H



Post #5 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:51 AM

Further to my previous posts, I already have 2 books from a trilogy on my kindle that deal with much the same subject matter. I'm presently reading "The Steel Bonnets" by George MacDonald Fraser which considers the depravations of the Scottish/English borders during the 16th century, but once finished, I'll get on with these;

 

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The year is 1431, and the country of Walachia has become the battlefront in a bloody war against the Ottoman Empire as Prince Vlad Dracul (the Dragon) joins the elite ranks of the Dragon Order--a fellowship founded to crush the enemies of Christendom. In the bitter struggle to defend his country from conquest, he is forced to send his sons into Turk captivity, including young Vlad Dracula (son of the Dragon).

But young Vlad soon begins to feel betrayed and abandoned by his father while enduring a cruel and isolated captivity. Alone and doubtful that he will ever regain his freedom, he embarks on a path to manhood that is forged in anger and hatred.

The first book in the Dragon Order Trilogy, Dracul is the beginning of an epic story that is set in a world of betrayal and brutality from which will rise one of the darkest figures ever known--Dracula.

 

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The year is 1448, and Prince Vlad Dracula is on the threshold of manhood as he is released after years of Turk captivity. Returning home, he finds his country torn between two warring empires, leading to a bitter struggle of shifting alliances and acts of treachery that will ignite a savage war against his enemies, including his own brothers.

The second book in the Dragon Order Trilogy, Dracula continues the epic story of love, betrayal, and savagery as Prince Vlad Dracula struggles to save his lands from conquest by the enemies of Christendom.

 

 

I understand the third and final episode is scheduled to be out toward the end of this year and I'll add it to my collection of good historical fiction in due course.

 

Cheers

H

 

 

 

 





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