|Series||Anno Dracula series|
|Genre||Alternate history, Horror novel|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|Pages||409 pp (paperback)|
|Preceded by||First book in the series|
|Followed by||The Bloody Red Baron|
Anno Dracula is a 1992 novel by British writer Kim Newman, the first in the Anno Dracula series. It is an alternate history using 19th-century English historical settings and personalities, along with characters from popular fiction. The interplay between humans who have chosen to "turn" into vampires and those who are "warm" (humans) is the backdrop for the plot which tracks Jack the Ripper's politically charged destruction of vampire prostitutes. The reader is alternately and sympathetically introduced to various points of view. The main characters are Jack the Ripper, and his hunters Charles Beauregard (an agent of the Diogenes Club), and Geneviève Dieudonné, a senior vampire.
In this world, Count Dracula has killed Van Helsing- an injury sustained to Doctor John Seward's hand during a fight with Renfield resulted in the group lacking the men to drive Dracula away from Mina Harker, resulting in Dracula killing Quincey Morris and Jonathan Harker before escaping with Mina. With no one to oppose him, Dracula turns Mina into a vampire, adding her to his collection of brides, and proceeds to spread his vampire curse creating thousands of undead throughout England. He soon marries Queen Victoria, ushering in a period of increasing British vampire domination. Dracula is well-advanced in imposing a police state on Great Britain, where dissenters may be jailed or impaled without trial.
Dieudonné has come down in the world, attending sick vampires in a clinic run by a doctor with a shady past. When a prostitute is murdered, Scotland Yard turns to them for an opinion. In the meantime Beauregard's social marriage preparations are interrupted by a summons to the mysterious Diogenes Club, which represents the crown in matters that cannot be made public. There, he is charged with finding Jack the Ripper. At the inquest for the recently destroyed vampire prostitute, Dieudonné and Beauregard appear, with Lestrade from Scotland Yard, and Dr. Jekyll. Each sets out independently, with differing agendas.
Beauregard is abducted by an old enemy, a Tong leader who calls a truce on the understanding that Beauregard will collaborate in finding the killer. This precludes the Ripper being a member of organized crime, and periodically gives Beauregard inside information. Dieudonné stops at a pub, where she encounters the elite of Carpathian riff-raff which Dracula brought to London to control the locals. She confronts one bully, and, being the elder vampire, soundly bests him. Jack Seward, the physician at Dieudonné's clinic, recalls the early days of Dracula in London, before the signs of vampirism were recognized.
As the demands of the Diogenes Club have first priority, a rift opens between Beauregard and his fiancee. Her fascination with social climbing is revealed: "Only vampires get anywhere, Charles." The intimates of Dracula discuss their continued takeover of the government, and set their own man to find Jack the Ripper: The destruction of the vampire prostitutes is drawing unwanted support for an anti-vampire Christian group. Seward becomes lustfully entangled with a "new born" vampire.
Jack the Ripper strikes twice, failing to destroy one, who is brought to the clinic. The prostitute is a vampire of Dracula's line — a contaminated bloodline, from Dieudonné's perspective. It imperfectly changes shape, leaping at Seward as it dies. Trusting their associates, the implication is lost on Dieudonné and Beauregard. Seward notes the growing public hysteria, and reflects "I meant to destroy a monster, not become one."
Beauregard and Dieudonné, having similar ideas, become closer, while his fiancée is increasingly annoyed at his lack of attention. Reporting to the Diogenes, Beauregard is puzzled that his meager progress is satisfactory. Leaving, he becomes entangled in an anti-vampire riot, however he is saved by one of the few vampires at the club, Sergeant Dravot. Beauregard's impatient fiancée becomes a vampire by one of Dracula's men. In her arrogance, the conversion does not go well, and she is barely able to reach the safety of her house. Beauregard and Dieudonné take her in care, Dieudonné observing, without being complimentary, that she may eventually become a strong vampire.
Riots escalate, symbols of rebellion are being painted throughout London. An anti-vampire leader is shot, and one of Dracula's henchmen is destroyed, both perhaps by the same mysterious vampire. The ruling vampires react decisively. A large number of prominent people are to be imprisoned and treated ruthlessly, including George Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, and W. S. Gilbert. Seward becomes increasingly infatuated with his vampire lover, having trouble distinguishing her now from the murdered Lucy. In Dravot, Dracula's henchmen Godalming believes he has found Jack the Ripper; he is pursuing him when he is destroyed by an old friend who he betrayed by becoming a vampire: Seward.
Beauregard and Dieudonné finally realize that Seward is Jack the Ripper. They race to him, finding he has destroyed his vampire lover. As they leave with him in custody, they encounter Dravot, and the destroyed body of Godalming. Seward is murdered, but then Dravot produces a fabricated story about what happened: that there were two Rippers. Bemused, Beauregard realizes that he has been used as a tool of the Diogenes Club. However he and Dieudonné, by now having become lovers, are to be recognized by the queen for their work. The story concludes with a confrontation between Beauregard, Dieudonné, the queen, and Dracula, where Beauregard tosses a silver knife to Queen Victoria; knowing that he cannot kill Dracula in direct combat, Beauregard provides Victoria with a means of killing herself, thus depriving Dracula of the right to legally rule Britain and forcing him to flee the country.
Characters from fiction
Characters are listed here. Those with more than a passing role are starred. Due to the historical period, many are from works in the public domain.
Historical people mentioned or appearing as characters
- Frederick Abberline
- Edward Aveling
- Barbara of Celje (here said to be one of the three Brides of Dracula)
- Elizabeth Báthory (her description is strongly suggestive of the 1971 German-Belgian horror film, Daughters of Darkness)
- Annie Besant
- Billy the Kid
- Catherine II of Russia
- Count of St. Germain (the idea that he was a vampire comes from "Hotel Transylvania" and its sequels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, though)
- Annie Chapman
- Marie Corelli
- Montague Druitt
- Edward VII
- Robert Cunninghame-Graham
- W. S. Gilbert
- Frank Harris
- Henry Hyndman
- James McNeil Whistler
- Eleanor Marx
- Henry Matthews
- Joseph Merrick
- William Morris
- Mary Ann Nichols
- Beatrice Potter
- George Bernard Shaw
- Emma Elizabeth Smith
- William Thomas Stead
- Bram Stoker
- Florence Stoker
- Arthur Sullivan
- Algernon Charles Swinburne
- Martha Tabram
- Alfred Tennyson
- Vlad Tepeş* (here said to be the same person as Dracula)
- Queen Victoria*
- Charles Warren
- Theodore Watts-Dunton
- Orson Welles
- Oscar Wilde*
- Antoine Augustin Calmet
From the book cover: "The most comprehensive, brilliant, dazzlingly audacious vampire novel to date." (Locus); "A tour de fource which succeeds brilliantly." (The Times); "A marvellous marriage of political satire, melodramatic intrigue, gothic horror, and alternative history." (The Independent).
The Bloody Red Baron, the sequel to Anno Dracula, was published in 1995.