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9781495498909_p0_v1_s300x This book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

First, let me warn you if you like your vampires to sparkle in the sun, or be broodingly handsome, this book is not for you. Instead it’s an unapologetic portrayal of one of the most infamous names in literature: Dracula. The Carpathian Assignment takes the reader back to 1896 into the tiny village of Bistritz nestled in the shadows of the Carpathian Mountans where it seems a serial killer is at large. Kalvary Istvan, a recently widowed and retired Colonel accepts one last assignment as Bistritz’s Chief of Police after his predecessor disappeared along with his wife. There have been many such disappearances over the years and one name keeps popping up. Count Dracula. The residents are terrified of him. While at first dismissive of the stories as superstitious nonsense, as his investigation progresses it starts to become clear that he is hunting not only a serial killer, but one that is immortal. The Carpathian Assignment reminded me of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, but with much more of Dracula in it. The original Dracula by Bram Stoker is still my favorite, but this is a well written, meticulously researched book. Chip Wager is clearly passionate about his subject and it shows. I liked how Istvan is not perfect. He’s prejudiced about the people he’s trying to protect, seeing them as ignorant and superstitious, but that makes him even more realistic. This is also a man who as a result of life’s circumstances has had his faith in God shaken but desperately wants it to be restored. There are familiar characters such as Jonathan Harker as well as historical figures like Freud and Baron Krafft-Ebing. The events are actually related by Istvan’s grandson Stefan Dietrich in 1924 who was under orders to wait until both his grandfather and Harker were dead before releasing the true story of happened during the investigation. There’s a lot of history packed into this novel and I appreciated that it didn’t slow down the plot, although I did find the dialogue a bit stilted at times. I also didn’t care for the way Jonathan Harker was portrayed but that might be just a personal preference. Overall I found this to be an enjoyable read and have no hesitation in recommending it to Dracula enthusiasts.

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