Spring 1792; Summer 1996
A SHARPNESS ON THE NECK
In Revolutionary France, Vlad Dracula repays a debt of honor to Philip Radcliffe, illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, who has been sentenced to the guillotine through the machinations of Vlad’s brother Radu as retribution for saving Vlad’s unlife. Radu was revived by a group of grave-robbers that included Jerry Cruncher. Imprisoned alongside Radcliffe in La Conciergerie are Percy Blakeney and Charles Darnay. Vlad’s companion and fellow nosferatu Constantia tells him that an Englishman “named Barton or Garton, or some name like that” switched places with Darnay, and went to the guillotine in his stead. As the prisoners are being loaded into the tumbrils, it is discovered that Blakeney has escaped. Madame Defarge is one of the tricoteuses present at Radcliffe’s seeming execution. Radcliffe’s lover, Melanie Romain, has a 10 year old illegitimate son named Auguste by a deceased former lover named Charles Dupin. Vlad reveals that after Radcliffe and the Romains fled to London, “little Auguste fell in with his paternal grandfather, himself a successful refugee. Old Monsieur Dupin conceived a liking for this youngster, wanted him to bear the family name, and more or less adopted him. I have heard that Melanie’s child, like many another exile, returned in a few years to France, at a time when Bonaparte promised glory, and that in later life he formed some vague connection with the Parisian police.” Two centuries later, Vlad attempts to save Philip Radcliffe’s descendant and namesake and his wife June from Radu’s vengeance.
Novel by Vlad Dracula, edited by Fred Saberhagen, 1996. Vlad is not the Dracula of Bram Stoker’s novel, but rather one of his “soul-clones”; see Dennis Power’s article “Best Fangs Forward” (found at the Wold Newton Universe: A Secret History website) for more information. Jerry Cruncher, Charles Darnay, the Englishman (Sydney Carton), and Madame Defarge are from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Sir Percy Blakeney is the alter ego of the Scarlet Pimpernel; Sir Percy must have devised a way to preserve his dual identity after escaping from prison. At first glance, Auguste would appear to be C. Auguste Dupin, from the stories by Edgar Allan Poe; however, his age and genealogy do not fit with the information given by Philip José Farmer in Tarzan Alive. We must assume that Auguste (note the absence of the first initial) Dupin was a relative of Poe’s Dupin, and the person who inspired him to become a detective.
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