History has documented many assassination attempts on Adolph Hitler’s life during World War II, though there were quite a few others that have most likely never been told before. One undocumented attempt has finally been brought to light: an attempt so incredible that anyone who would be daring enough to read about it would believe it to be fiction… and they would be right. Unfortunately, the story told by writer Patrick Sheane Duncan is a fiction, but what a story it is. The title alone will make any reader wonder: why hasn’t an author attempted to write this before? Dracula vs. Hitler reveals what could have occurred had the most dastardly monster of the literary world met perhaps the most monstrous man in all human history.
It is the spring of 1941 and Nazi forces are swarming Transylvania. Professor Van Helsing and his fearless daughter lead a small rebellion team, but they are no match for the numbers that have been dispatched from Germany. Van Helsing knows of one who could possibly aid in their fight, one who had passed on into literary legend and one Van Helsing himself had fought nearly 50 years earlier: Count Dracula. When news reaches Hitler that the legendary immortal vampire is real and is taking out his Nazi forces, his longing to become immortal draws him to Transylvania. What will happen when two of the most bloodthirsty figures ever known meet? Who will emerge the victor?
With exemplary storytelling, well-developed characters, an excellent combination of detailed description and dialogue, and relatively accurate references to both literature and history, Duncan has created a wonderfully entertaining work of historical gothic fiction. Readers will find themselves tackling this large book rather quickly due to its intriguing content and fascinating execution. As for the content, readers do not need to know EVERYTHING there is to know about the world’s most famous vampire nor World War II to enjoy Dracula vs. Hitler, but a basic knowledge of both topics is helpful for a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.
Duncan shows off his talent for writing as he combines many elements into one story. Taking place during one of the darkest times in history, the story most certainly takes dark and gruesome turns. There are times when Duncan describes these dark and gruesome scenes a little too well. And yet, the story has a way of also revealing light-heartedness and occasional witty humor. The characters play a large role in truly bringing the story to life and are introduced throughout the “chapters” of the book, each representing a different character’s point of view. “Chapters” range from the journal entries of the English spy, John Harker, to the unpublished written work of Lucy Van Helsing to telegrams between Nazi soldiers. These are but a few of the characters readers will be introduced to and ones that will play a major part in the story.
Of course, where would the story be without the two characters referenced in the title? Some readers have claimed that Dracula vs. Hitler could be considered the sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic and this could even be considered an accurate assumption. Once Dracula officially appears in the story, he most certainly takes the spotlight, but in a good way. Duncan brought justice to the traditional vampire folklore and should be commended on his execution of the most famous vampire in all literary history, writing Dracula in a light that makes him more of a likeable character to readers than the monster he actually is. With Dracula taking center stage for a majority of the book, it would have been intriguing to have seen more of the German Nazi leader. Readers hear about Hitler’s whereabouts mainly through his journal entries, which prove to be fascinating reads. One intriguing aspect Duncan focused on that tied in excellently with the story was the fact that Hitler was superstitious. Here is where Duncan could have truly expanded on Hitler’s character, not by making him a likeable character, but by delving into and revealing more of his twisted inner thoughts.
Why hasn’t an author attempted to write a story like this before? Because an author had to come along to give this sort of story the justice it deserved. With exemplary storytelling and well-developed characters, Duncan was able to successfully meld Stoker’s literary world together with real history in Dracula vs. Hitler. Readers will get through this large book quickly and, while they may not feel as satisfied with how it ends, will have thoroughly enjoyed themselves for the duration of this excellent addition to both the historical and gothic fiction genres. Of all the attempts on Hitler’s life during World War II, this is the untold tale of the one people wished existed in history books.