For almost 200 years, authors and lovers of the horror and fantasy genres have been fascinated by vampires and exploring tropes most people associate with Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”
Vampires had made the transition from folk tales to being featured in poems in the 18th century, but they weren’t featured in prose stories until 1819 when “The Vampyre” by Dr. John William Polidori was published. The villain in the story was a charming vampire named Lord Ruthven who was based on the infamous poet and politician Lord Byron.
In the years since then, vampires have continued to be a staple of popular literature. Many authors such as Anne Rice, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Charlaine Harris have written novels about them. Vampires also play a huge role in several more recently published urban fantasy series, either as villains or protagonists, that are available in the stacks of Spokane County Library District (SCLD) branches.
Readers who love vampire stories in the greater Spokane area would be wise the browse the SCLD catalog or visit their local branches. They carry everything from young adult novels, such as “Fat vampire : A Never-Coming of-Age Story” by Adam Rex, to fun urban fantasy novels such as “Bloodshot” by Seattle author Cherie Priest, to more traditional tales of the macabre such as “Midnight Mass” by F. Paul Wilson.
Please view the list to learn more about some of the great vampire stories carried by SCLD.
‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel has been adapted many times for film and the stage. It also influenced many other authors who created their own vampire characters patterned after the Transylvanian count to one degree or another. Historical details mentioned by Dracula in the novel have led people to assume that the vampire was based on Vlad the Impaler.
‘The President’s Vampire’ by Christopher Farnsworth
“The President’s Vampire” by Christopher Farnsworth is the second book in the series of the same name. The books chronicle the adventures of a vampire named Nathaniel Cade who is bound by an oath sworn on some of Abraham Lincoln’s blood to serve the office of the President by fighting monsters and taking on other secret missions ordinary humans can’t handle. In this book, Cade and his human assistant Zach Barrows try to foil an attempt to take over the world.
‘Red, White and Blood’ by Christopher Farnsworth
In “Red, White and Blood” by Christopher Farnsworth, the fictional President Curtis is running for reelection in 2012 and somebody is trying to kill him and his family. The President’s Vampire Nathaniel Cade soon determines that his archnemesis The Boogeyman is behind several attacks on people who worked for the Curtis campaign and tries to stop him before he goes after his real targets. Meanwhile, Cade’s assistant Zach Barrows is on the road helping with the election campaign. The book is both a suspenseful urban fantasy adventure and a clever political satire.
“I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson
In “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, a man named Robert Neville may be the last known human in a Los Angeles that has been taken over by vampires. He devotes much of his time to killing vampires during the day when they are asleep and trying to find a cure for the disease that transformed them into monsters. The book has been adapted into movies several times, including “The Last Man on Earth” starring Vincent Price, “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston and “I Am Legend” starring Will Smith.
“Fat Vampire” by Adam Rex
“Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story” by Adam Rex is a by turns hilarious and very dark story about what happens after a pudgy, nerdy teenager named Doug gets turned into a vampire. The book is intended for readers age 14 and up, but some of the content may be more appropriate for adults.
“Bloodshot” by Cherie Priest
“Bloodshot” by Cherie Priest is a really fun urban fantasy story about Raylene Pendle, a vampire who is better known in some circles as the world famous art thief Cheshire Red. She is hired to retrieve files related to secret U.S. government experiments on captured vampires, and soon finds herself traveling all over the U.S. one step ahead of a mad scientist and the government agents working for him. She gets some help along the way from a former Navy SEAL who has been working as a drag queen.
“Dracula Cha Cha Cha” by Kim Newman
“Dracula Cha Cha Cha” is the third book in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series. The books are set in an alternate world where the characters from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and many other fictional works are real. Part of the fun comes from identifying characters from movies and other novels that have been incorporated into Newman’s universe. “Dracula Cha Cha Cha” is set in Rome in 1959 and contains many references to Italian movies. In this book, Dracula is getting married again and many vampires are in town for the wedding. Journalist Kate Reed gets caught up in several mysteries, including why a vigilante called the Crimson Executioner is killing some of the more powerful vampires.
The edition carried by the North Spokane Library includes a really fun novella set in England during the late 1960s. It is essentially a murder mystery, but it also explores Newman’s version of the Vietnam era in entertaining ways.
‘The Vampire Congress’ by L.N. Pierce
“The Vampire Congress” by L.N. Pierce is a fun novel that imagines vampires and werewolves operating in secret in and around the greater Spokane area. Two crime scene investigators with special powers are trying to figure out who is killing local werewolves and vampires before all-out war breaks out between the two factions.
“Midnight Mass” by F. Paul Wilson
In “Midnight Mass” by F. Paul Wilson, vampires have conquered most of the world and now they have invaded New Jersey as part of their plan to take over the rest of North America. A small group of human survivors fights against the vampires and their human servants called “cowboys.” Two women and a disgraced priest named Father Dan have the most success. Then something awful happens to Father Dan that may ultimately lead to the vampires’ downfall.