The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Dracula Tape, the first and perhaps best novel in the series, retells the story found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) from the point of view of Count Dracula himself. The novel, supposedly dictated to descendants of the Harkers, is a brilliant reexamination of the events surrounding Dracula, Jonathan Harker, Mina, Lucy, Renfield, and the horrid Van Helsing. Fred Saberhagen’s retelling has the feel of accuracy as he points out the faults in the accounts of the witnesses in Stoker’s novel and reveals a much more logical tale wherein Dracula points out, for example, the improbability of uncovering him in his coffin in the middle of the night and Van Helsing’s cruelty in attempting transfusions without the aid of blood-type matching.

The Holmes-Dracula File links distant cousins Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula to solve a series of crimes involving a trail of bloodless corpses as well as a criminal group’s threat of plague-infested rats. The novel provides Saberhagen’s brilliant insight into the personalities of Dracula, Holmes, and Watson.

Dracula’s loyalty is the main thrust of the novel An Old Friend of the Family. The Southerland family, living in Chicago, invokes an ancient ritual supplied by the count himself for the descendants of the Harker family, to be used only in a dire emergency. Clarissa Southerland, granddaughter of Wilhelmina Harker, is not sure what to expect when Dr. Emile Corday (Dracula) arrives, claiming to be an old friend of the family. He proves to be very resourceful in aiding the family to recapture a daughter embraced by one of the nosferatu and a son kidnapped and tortured, as well as in punishing those responsible for these atrocities, including the evil Morgan La Fey.

In Thorn, Saberhagen elaborates on some of the historical activities in the life of Vlad...

(The entire section is 767 words.)