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Fangland Paperback – January 29, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; paperback / softback edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143112538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143112532
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #948,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The unusually large cast that reads Marks's multiperspective, modern vampire story helps make up for the lack of special effects one might expect. There is no creepy music, no doors creaking or wind shrieking through the trees to augment the tale of what happens after Evangeline Harker, a lovely assistant producer of a venerable TV news show, travels to Romania to meet a fabled gangster. Her trip goes horribly wrong and soon her colleagues in New York are afflicted as well. Marks, a former 60 Minutes producer, is at his best when writing about the life of the newsroom, which we witness through the conversation and thoughts of people who are all concerned about Harker's disappearance and the horrors that have followed, but who observe each other and the rest of the show's staff with keen distrust and disdain. This reading adds little to the chilling story aside from the varied voices, yet as a novel take on the worn-out vampire story, with a steady drumbeat of macabre events alternating with dryly funny commentary, it is sure to hold listeners until the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Professional and personal aspirations collide when Evangeline, an ambitious associate producer of The Hour ("the most successful news show in American television history") accepts Robert's wedding proposal just before jetting off on an assignment she would rather dodge. Her uber-producer dismisses her protestations, so it's off to Transylvania to evaluate a possible story on Romanian reputed crime lord Ion Torgu. Marks' sense of place (a horse and wagon in front of a Coke sign symbolizes the transition from communism) and tone-setting emphasis on blood and bloodlines kick in early as Evangeline mulls over blending her Italian Irish heritage and Robert's mix of Creek Indian and the U.S. marshals who fought them, a union represented for her by the engagement ring she insists on wearing to meet the small, pale Torgu, who proves a kind of terrorist, and who infects her "like a virus" when she is abducted. She resurfaces months later, recuperating in Transylvania and recalling nothing. A scary twenty-first-century take on the stuff of Dracula, worthy of its rightful place among others. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Once, years ago in Belgrade, I met a beautiful blonde Serbian nationalist named Simonida, and we got to talking vampires. I knew from my own research that the vampire of American popular culture had its roots in Serbian folklore, and she offered to do more than confirm the truth. She asked me whether I'd like to meet a few vampires in person. I declined, but out of my cowardice, my latest novel Fangland was born. A few hundred kilometers to the west, the Bosnian war was unfolding, with images of violence and brutality that wouldn't have been out of place in a saga of the undead.

Aside from vampire-hunting, I've been a 60 Minutes producer and a Berlin bureau chief for US News & World Report. My books include three novels and one work of journalistic memoir, Reasons To Believe: One Man's Journey Among The Evangelicals and The Faith He Left Behind.

Customer Reviews

It was tough to bother to finish this book.
R. R. Edmunds
The characters were not well drawn out, and I felt no connection to, or understanding of, any of them.
Vampire fan or not, I do not recommend this book to anyone.
S. O'Connor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Zoyd on January 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Well, think again! In this amazing, weird, genre-bending and -blending, different-from-any-other-book-you're-likely-to-read novel, you'll get to know a particularly nasty specimen. Forget the teeth - this vampire uses a saw and a bucket. But FANG LAND isn't only a smart and frankly terrifying retelling of Bram Stoker's classic (which it is indebted to on a structural level, too); Marks uses the foil of the vampire novel to say some pretty serious things about why our media suck. (Excuse the pun.) And he does so with a satirical edge that is all the sharper because he used to be a producer for 60 Minutes himself. A great read and more profound than you'd think. The cover is spectacular, too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clarice Marchman-Jones on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This novel started out with so much promise. I really liked the fact that Marks was telling the story with emails, journals, newspaper clippings, etc. in the style of Bram Stoker. Unfortunately, it was soon apparent that EVERY character spoke in the EXACT same voice. Even worse, emails were so lengthy and written in such elegant prose that it was just unbelievable. And a personal journal that one of the characters was being FORCED to keep as a therapy tool by his psychiatrist, (again, written in the same voice as every other character - are they ALL mental?) was also written eloquently - as though it was something he expected to publish rather than something he was writing under duress.

Even though the "vampire" was very different than Stoker's Dracula, and the way to render him helpless was sort of interesting (if you don't have too puritanical a mind-set), reading this novel finally became too tiresome because of the "one voice" writing style and slightly annoying due to numerous plot holes

Not only did this book not go back on my shelf to take up precious space, I could not even in good conscience donate it to Friends of the Library. I put this one in the recycle bin.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jessica S. on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Fangland can basically be described as an updated Dracula. In fact the main character, a young woman is named Evangeline Harker, just like Stoker's classic Jonathan Harker. There are even a few names that are re-used as well. Evangeline is a reporter for a TV show called the Hour. She is sent to Romania to interview a possible crime lord named Ion Torgu, who presumes the role of Dracula. Although it is never said if he is truly a vampire, he is something else that is not of this world however.

Similar to Stoker's tale, Evangeline remains too long on her trip and doesn't return at the appointed time, but for some reason someone is taking over Evangeline's life and sending emails in her name and shipping strange crates back to the office. Evangeline loses her memory of the duration of the trip and when she returns home her memories slowly return to her and the terror of them drives her insane. A horror has taken over the people of the Hour and Evangeline must do all that she can to defeat the monster.

Overall a very good book. If you've read Stoker's classic Dracula you'll love this modern new twist. As mentioned before there are a few names that are similar if I'm remembering correctly. A must read for all Dracula fans, you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kara M. Graves on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a huge fan of the Stoker original, the premise of the novel intrigued me -- an updated "Dracula" story? Excellent! Gender-flipping the Harker character into a female lead? Great! Lots of high reviews on Amazon and other places? Clearly this must be the Holy Grail of vampire novels!

Sadly, not so.

The first half of the novel starts out well enough-- where Marks stays true to the Stoker original without being a complete carbon-copy. The modern adaptation concept worked really, really well. Marks updates the old epistolary format, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries using therapy journals and e-mail, and it's all really engaging.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart halfway through. For one, by avoiding all of the trappings of the vampire mythology, Torgu seems less and less like a vampire. In fact, by the end of the novel, I wasn't entirely convinced that Torgu WAS a vampire (in fact, when he DOES in fact drink blood, it seems like a total nonsequitur -- he collects it in a bucket after slashing the victim's throat, and then proceeds to cup it in his hands and drink it). He's essentially described as human suffering made manifest, and there is a distinct emphasis ON human suffering and the dead, but its significance never really clicks with the rest of the book.

The main character, Evangeline Harker, is completely unsympathetic -- we're never sure what kind of person Marks wants her to be, and eventually her behavior is nothing short of pointlessly erratic -- not a trait you want a protagonist to have.

For that matter, the cast of characters is far too large, and it not only becomes difficult to keep track of them all, it becomes impossible to care about any of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Eldred VINE VOICE on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Looking for something a little "different," I picked up a copy of Fangland by John Marks.

Evangeline Harker is an associate producer for the long running, New York-based, television show The Hour (think 60 Minutes). She isn't happy that her current assignment is to go to Romania, and do background on a well known, but little seen, criminal, Ion Torgu. Part of the unhappiness is that she just got engaged. The other part is that she is an associate producer - one of the lowest rungs in television news (long hours, very little pay). And then she has issues trying to get to the appointed meeting on time. After meeting with Torgu, Evangeline goes missing for several months, but she does turn up - a long way from her earlier destination and without her memory. While she was missing, some strange items were delivered to The Hour offices. And the employees are slowly losing their minds.

Marks employs some unique methods of telling the story. First person, e-mail, instant messaging chat transcripts, and journals. This allows the reader to experience the story from many different views. But, in my case, created some initial confusion. When first introduced, I needed a few moments to figure out who was talking and to determine the method of communication. Marks keeps each of these different methods unique to specific characters, so when you come across the next journal entry, for example, you know who is talking to you.

This was a very good horror novel (we are talking about vampires, by the way). Set in the present day, using current technology, it shows that you are not safe from ancient evil. By providing you with different viewpoints, Marks really draws you into the story. But at the same time, I wish that he had spent more time with Evangeline, as it seemed that the reader had to fill in some blanks. Overall, a very creepy novel.
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