From Publishers Weekly
Like Tim Lucas in The Book of Renfield
(2005), Hambly retells Bram Stoker's Dracula
from the viewpoint of its most memorable peripheral character, the mad, insect-eating Renfield. His role as the count's human factotum and facilitator complicates a larger story in which Renfield struggles to conceal from conniving relatives and doctors the whereabouts of his beloved wife and daughter. Though Renfield dies at his employer's hands before the end in Stoker's original, Hambly (Circle of the Moon
) contrives an imaginative way to prolong his involvement in the story. Unfortunately, the madman's ravings become repetitive, tedious and improbable once certain truths about him are revealed. Though Hambly tries to craft a portrait of Renfield as a tragic victim, his frequent references to Stoker's characters and their adventures only remind the reader that a more interesting vampire adventure is unfolding beyond the borders of Renfield's asylum and the events of this novel. (Sept.)
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Hambly has retold Bram Stoker's Dracula
in the voice of a minor character, Renfield, the madman who becomes the vampire's slave-agent in England. In Stoker's original, Renfield is a harbinger, extremely strong and violent, given to an unnatural diet of flies. When Dracula occupies the estate next to the asylum in which he is confined, Renfield attempts several escapes, claiming that his master is calling him. Hambly creates a past for this possessed man via his diaries and letters to his wife and gives him occasional lucid moments. When Dracula imposes himself on Renfield's deteriorated mind, he, bound to an active purpose, becomes yet more lucid. When Dracula orders him to kill Van Helsing, he isn't strong enough to refuse, but on the journey from London to Transylvania, he develops the strength to resist the count, find allies, and eventually retrace his journey back from lunacy to sanity. Hambly superbly weaves Stoker's plot and style with her own, producing one of the best recent vampire yarns. Frieda MurrayCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved