The Dracula Series Critical Essays

Fred Saberhagen


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In this excellent series, Saberhagen brings a personality and fullness to the character of Dracula that perhaps goes beyond any treatment in the vampire genre. Saberhagen’s Dracula seems much more plausible than the one described in Bram Stoker’s novel, and his portrayal quickly engages readers, who find themselves identifying with the count and even cheering for his success.

Using historical accounts of Vlad Tepes and remaining true to most of the details in Stoker’s skeletal description, Saberhagen constructs a believable personality profile of a misunderstood, loyal, complicated, human Dracula. The fanatical sense of honesty and integrity he possesses, for example, does not permit him to cover up his own faults and is responsible for much of his introspection but is also the motivation for impaling thieves when he rules in his mortal court. Many readers may be surprised to witness the wonderful, sometimes almost childlike humor and wonder the count can feel. Throughout the series, readers come to know the deep sense of honor and contentment in Dracula’s character but also remain aware of the tension and power seething underneath his calm, cold mask.

Several recurring characters, in addition to Dracula, provide continuity and contrast in the novels. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson appear in two of the novels, and readers also become familiar over the course of several novels with Judy Southerland, Kate Southerland Keogh, Joe Keogh,...

(The entire section is 449 words.)