July, 1897. The Russian schooner, Demeter, sets sail from Varna carrying fifty oblong boxes partially filled with earth. A month later, in the midst of a raging storm, the derelict Demeter runs aground in Whitby, England, her crew missing save for her captain, tied to the wheel with a crucifix in his lifeless hands. The only living thing aboard, a huge dog, escapes into the night.
In his classic ‘Dracula’, Bram Stoker, with a few cryptic entries in an unnamed captain’s journal, offered scant hints about the terrifying voyage that brought the vampire king from his home to a blood-rich London. Now, the whole mind-rending tale is told. The story of Trevor Harrington, a British scholar and fugitive. Of Swales, the old Scot cook, who deceives their commander, but knows a good deal “aboon grims and boh-ghosts”. Of Ekaterina Gabor, a beautiful Romanian who follows her lover by stowing away. Of Captain Nikilov, fighting for his ship and crew while something evil, more virulent than the black plague, decimates their number. Of Demeter herself, named for the Greek goddess of renewal, lost and tossed on an unforgiving sea. And of Count Dracula, at rest in Demeter’s dark hold until the unintended actions of her crew resurrect the vampire and his unquenchable bloodlust.
Targeted Age Group:: 16 and over
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A love of the original novel, Dracula, and a sincere desire to know what happened on that fateful sea voyage. How much romance and adventure would there be aboard an old sailing vessel, on a month-long cruise, with a vampire – the king of all vampires – hidden in the hold?
Who are your favorite authors?
Bram Stoker, Rex Stout, Robert Louis Stevenson, Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell, young Stephen King, and Hugo, and Dickens, Shelley, Tolkien.
I can’t put any books down, unless I throw them down. And I don’t stay up late reading because I get up early (3:00 am every morning) to write. When I’m not writing, I read.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The number of crewmen was spelled out in Dracula. Stoker too gave us the names of several of the sailors. Creating the remainder of the crew, the captain, the characters on two shores and bringing them to life, turning them from a name or a number, into a living human character in jeopardy from this hidden evil… the story dictated these decisions.
Dracula awoke, as always, in the dark. But there the centuries-old routine stopped. Usually his
timed emergences from hibernation were an awakening in the silence of the tomb. But now a flood of sensory thrills overwhelmed him.
The first was an acute sensation, something he felt rarely; pain. It intrigued him. Despite the
cramped quarters of his box, he lifted a hand and dabbed at his forehead. His hands were coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Hairs grew in the centers of his palms and his long, fine nails were cut to a sharp point. They were hardly tools with which to conduct a sensitive investigation in darkness. Yet, they proved to be up to the task. For he immediately located and, with the tip of his index finger, quickly identified the source of his pain. A deep gash marred his high forehead, just right of center, below the hairline. The wound – over two inches in length by the feel – gaped in the middle and was encrusted in dried fluids. Someone had injured him while he slept.
His mind raced quickly over the possibilities; those who in any way might have had the opportunity. The Szgany and the Slovaks, of course, as they had handled his transport. He rejected them. They were loyal – to the death. Theirs.
Then it came to him. Harker! Somehow that damned Englishman had… But no matter. He gave a fleeting thought to his brides, the mistresses of Castle Dracula into whose care Jonathan Harker had been left. They would collect the debt. He would pay for this wound – in kisses.
Satisfied with that thought, he forgot Harker. He concentrated instead on the other sensations; the water rushing by beneath him, the creaking wood all around, the shouts, laughter, even singing, distantly above. He felt the keel roll gently, felt the wind in the sails driving the ship, down at the head then up again, down at the heel then up again, defying the surging waves.
He laid his hands to his sides and closed his eyes. His plan had come to fruition. He was at sea
and all was well. The voyage of Dracula had begun. The shores of an unsuspecting England lay ahead.
Doug Lamoreux is a father of three, a grandfather, a writer, and actor. A former professional fire fighter, he is the author of four novels and a contributor to anthologies and non-fiction works including the Rondo Award nominated Horror 101, and its companion, Hidden Horror. He has been nominated for a Rondo, a Lord Ruthven Award, and is the first-ever recipient of The Horror Society’s Igor Award for fiction. Lamoreux starred in the 2006 Peter O’Keefe film, Infidel, and appeared in the Mark Anthony Vadik horror films The Thirsting (aka Lilith) and Hag.
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