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Comment: Very clean pages, binding tight, soft cover nice with mild wear.
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The Book of Renfield: A Gospel of Dracula Paperback – June 2, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Renfield, the bug-eating madman who skulks on the periphery of events in Bram Stoker's Dracula, takes center stage in Lucas's pastiche of Victorian penny dreadfuls. His Boswell is John L. Seward, administrator of the local sanitarium, who presents the personal interviews, diary extracts and conversations that make up this book as information that never made it into Stoker's novel. Unlike his traditional hysterical caricature, the Renfield of this Dickensian account is a sensitive foundling whose childhood hunger for love was never fulfilled by cruel peers and adults. Even his infamous obsession with animals begins as a search for affection from childhood pets. A superb storyteller, Lucas (Throat Sprockets) mimics Stoker's style so well that it's hard to distinguish his own writing from passages interpolated from Dracula. Nevertheless, his achievement is dubious. The Shakespearean fool of Stoker's tale, Renfield is best in his bit part as a commentator whose insane remarks are both eerily prescient and a dark reflection of his evil vampire master. This fully humanized character study will appeal mostly to readers who didn't get enough of him in Dracula.
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From Booklist

Renfield, a minor but memorable character in Bram Stoker's Dracula is best remembered as the vampire's rat-eating devotee. Now Lucas gives Renfield his due, focusing on Dr. Seward's sessions with him, which in this novel delve into Renfield's sad childhood and his seduction by the dark side. While Dr. Seward nurses his broken heart after Lucy Westenra rejects his offer of marriage in favor of that of his friend, Arthur, he draws out Renfield's story, from abandonment as a young child to the household of the vicar who raised him to the several families who take him in over time. Renfield's closest attachment is to Jolly, a mouse, until the beautiful but sinister Milady comes into his life. Lucas does an impressive job of rendering the Victorian sensibilities and echoing Victorian writing as he recounts Renfield's sad coming-of-age and Seward's research and heartache. Devotees of Dracula will want to sink their teeth into this clever retelling of the vampire tale from Dr. Seward's and Renfield's perspectives. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743243544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743243544
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark Tinta on June 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this imaginative novel, Tim Lucas fills in the backstory of Renfield, the memorable character from Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Lucas also adds the notion that Stoker's novel was actually a work of non-fiction, and "The Book of Renfield" is made up of Dr. Seward's journal entries and transcriptions of conversations with Renfield. We learn about Renfield's tragic childhood, and Lucas constructs these scenes in a way that is sad without crossing over into the maudlin. Throughout the course of the book, Lucas expertly supplements Stoker's novel without resorting to simply retelling the story (indeed, if you're looking for Dracula's vampire antics, then look elsewhere; the Count is, at best, a peripheral character in this novel), and the deeper you get into the novel, the more you appreciate its intricate construction and bold imagination.

Right now, this book is largely unknown outside of the horror circles on the internet and those who know Lucas as the publisher of the magazine Video Watchdog. This has the potential to be one of the unsung sleeper hits of the year. It's certainly going to be in my top picks of 2005.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Tinnell on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was totally unprepared for just how good this book is. Now, if all you're interested in is vapid or sensationalistic blood prose, you should perhaps move on. THE BOOK OF RENFIELD is a serious and thought-provoking book. It is not only a treat for devotees of the original novel, DRACULA, but is so beautifully-written it will be savored by readers who appreciate the well-turned phrase as well as something of an intellectual challenge. In a subtle way, the book also functions as literary criticsm/analysis - or even living history, if you will, as the reader is inevitably led to consider in some depth the original intentions of Stoker and the implications of his plot and characterizations. Lucas actually has me wanting to re-read DRACULA - if only because I am certain I will gain new insights.

Prior to reading THE BOOK OF RENFIELD I read the best-selling JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL, a novel which also takes great pains to evoke the literature of another era - to great success. However, in my estimation, THE BOOK OF RENFIELD is the superior novel.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
After the events that led to the death of Dracula, the four principal players keep quiet about what happened as if by keeping silent, they can pretend Evil doesn't exist in the world. Seven years later, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Dr. Seward and Arthur think the world needs to know the truth that Evil does exist and culling their diaries, journals, letters and photographic recordings, they created a work called Dracula written collectively by four people but credit given to one Bram Stoker.

Dr. John Steward, the owner and chief administrator of Carfax Asylum, feels the book Dracula doesn't dwell enough on the role R.M. Renfield played in the horrific ordeal. Through notes, recordings, papers and journals, Dr. Seward comes to see that Renfield has been Dracula's pawn most of his life, placed in the asylum in order to gain entry to the edifice so he can get close to Mina. Renfield's death (or rather murder) was his last attempt to save Mina from the clutches of his Master.

Told in the form of journal entries, diary comments and conversations between the doctor and Renfield, readers feel sorry for the man who was abandoned as an infant and thus was easy prey for Dracula to convert him into one of his minions. Although at times he is pathetic and acts in a disgusting manner, his lifelong fight to be free of Dracula and his attempt to stop him from going after Mina raises him to heroic proportions in Dr. Seward's eyes years after his death. Dracula fans will love reading this side tale of the legendary vampire.

Harriet Klausner
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