Sunday, October 23, 2005

Vlad Dracula by Michael Augustyn

Robin Hood, King Arthur, Charlemagne—great heroes all, with legends enhanced by classics of literature. But Dracula? Certainly the vampire of Bram Stoker’s novel won’t show up on any such list.

Michael Augustyn, author of the historical novel Vlad Dracula, might beg to differ. In his book, Augustyn lays out the life and times of the Romanian prince that inspired Stoker’s vampire tale, and describes the duality of a man celebrated in Romania as a national hero, but who’s blood thirst inspired the tag “The Impaler” and an image of ultimate evil.

“I was inspired to write about Dracula for two reasons,” Augustyn said. “First, there were no historical novels on the subject in English. Second, I wanted to get into his psyche, and that of Romania. How could he impale 10 percent of his population, including women and children, and still be considered a national hero, a Robin Hood actually?

“His people had been so abused by Hungary, the Ottoman empire and their own nobility and church that they welcomed his sense of justice, hard as it was. It was kind of like his insanity versus his enemies' terror tactics. And he outdid them.”

Augustyn’s research is evident throughout the book lending authenticity to the tale.

“It took me seven years, on and off, getting down the history of Dracula. Some will quibble with some of the things I presented, but I would challenge them to cite sources that clearly contradict my interpretation,” he said. “There are significant disputes about the number of his brothers, his sons, the name of his first wife, and the facts surrounding one of his protagonists, Janos Hunyadi, a hero of Hungary. I assembled the facts from as many sources as I could find in English and wove my novel around them.”

Augustyn first published Vlad on his own before revising and republishing the book with iUniverse.

“(iUniverse’s) Editorial Evaluation process is an excellent asset,” he said. “They check the quality of writing and make specific suggestions, leaving the choice of change up to the author.”

Augustyn counts Edward Rutherford (Sarum, Russka, The Princes of Ireland) and Wilbur Smith (The Triumph of the Sun, Blue Horizon) as two of his favorite authors and also enjoys reading some ancient texts.

“I also read the classics, manuscripts written by the ancients themselves, like Livy’s The War with Hannibal and things by Herodotus,” Augustyn said. “They might be slanted—they are—but they give a flavor to the period that a writer can build on. They give a sense of the subject era.”

Vlad Dracula is currently being considered for translation into Portuguese by a Brazilian publisher and Augustyn is working on a second novel.

“I have two-thirds draft of another novel completed, one aimed at a younger audience, historical in background, but much looser in regard to relying on facts.”


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October 23, 2005 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Todd Nuke 'Em said...

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October 28, 2005 at 6:00 AM  

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