Read Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty Online

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Debut author Royce Prouty offers a spellbinding tale of history, folklore, destiny, and redemption.  Joseph Barkeley has a gift. Without the aid of chemical testing, he can accurately determine the authenticity and age of any document, seeing details within the fibers the way a composer picks out the individual notes of a symphony. But rarely does Joseph get a job this delDebut author Royce Prouty offers a spellbinding tale of history, folklore, destiny, and redemption.  Joseph Barkeley has a gift. Without the aid of chemical testing, he can accurately determine the authenticity and age of any document, seeing details within the fibers the way a composer picks out the individual notes of a symphony. But rarely does Joseph get a job this delicate and well-paying. A mystery buyer has hired him to authenticate the original draft of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. When he travels to Transylvania to personally deliver the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle, Barkeley, a Romanian orphan himself, soon realizes that his employer is the son of the infamous Vlad Dracula. Imprisoned in the castle and forced to serve “the Master,” Barkeley must quickly decipher cryptic messages hidden within Stoker’s masterpiece to find the Master’s long-lost bride—or risk wearing out his welcome. But as he delves into the history of Dracula and his own lineage, Barkeley discovers that his selection for this job was based on more than his talent with rare books. Now, he has a perilous decision to make—save his life with a coward’s flight, or wage a deadly battle with an ancient foe....

Title : Stoker's Manuscript
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780425269794
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 338 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Stoker's Manuscript Reviews

  • Kathy
    2019-03-26 14:44

    A Dracula novel should be creepy, atmospheric, and steeped in Old World superstition. Stoker's Manuscript hits the mark in its tale about the rare original manuscript of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a manuscript with parts unpublished. Joseph Barkeley, a resident of Chicago, is a rare manuscript expert who is contacted by an overseas buyer through his representative to authenticate and purchase the Stoker manuscript before it goes to auction. The representative insists on anonymity for the buyer and personal delivery of the purchase. The representative doesn't divulge the buyer's name, but the location is determined to be Dracula's Castle in Romania, and thus begins Barkeley's descent into a world of dark and danger. The fact that Joseph and his brother Bernhardt were rescued from a Romanian orphanage as small children plays into the plot with revealing secrets of they why and how of their parents' deaths. Coming face to face with the unknown son of Vlad Dracul, Joseph must unravel they mysteries of his own lineage as well as those that Dalca demands if he is to survive. However, it soon becomes clear that personal survival pales in comparison to the task that Joseph must choose to either pursue or flee. The best part of this debut novel by Royce Prouty is the atmosphere he created in which his story plays out. The Romanian countryside and its people are delightfully spooky and superstition-filled. Choosing to accentuate the ruthlessness of the family Dracul, Prouty brings to his readers a cringe-worthy accounting of vampire lore. His descriptions of smells is particularly well executed, along with Joseph Barkeley's reaction to them. Personally, I was introduced to some new items concerning vampires, so it was engaging for me on that count, too. The novel did for me what I had hoped it would, deliver a scary tale with intriguing back story.

  • Terry Weyna
    2019-04-22 13:59

    Royce Prouty received a 2013 Stoker Award nomination for superior achievement in a first novel for Stoker’s Manuscript. Because of the nomination and the fact that Prouty’s protagonist, Joseph Barkeley, is a rare book and manuscript expert, I couldn’t resist.Joseph Barkeley has always had a knack for spotting rare editions in crowded used bookstores, and is able to tell if a manuscript is genuine without the need for any chemical testing. It’s an ability that makes him the subject of Arthur Ardelean’s search for the right man to verify the authenticity of the original draft of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and to negotiate its purchase if its authenticity is established. (There is some real history behind this scenario, as the original manuscript for the novel was apparently lost, turning up only in 1980 in a Pennsylvania barn.) Ardelean is working on behalf of a principal whom he cannot identify. The manuscript is intended for exhibition in a new museum in Dracula’s Castle in Romania, and Barkeley is also expected to assist in the planning of the manuscript’s exhibition.The manuscript has an interesting history that Prouty lays out for his readers, though those seeking mere horror will probably find all this talk of epilogues and titles and warehouse fires less than enthralling. For them, the real action will come when Barkeley gets to Romania and meets the buyer, who has promised him an enormous sum of money for his work. It cannot come as a surprise to any reader that this buyer is not entirely human, or that Barkeley soon finds himself in serious danger.Prouty’s writing is competent but lacks a distinctive style. He annoyingly writes dialogue in Romanian, followed by an English translation, both in italics. He dumps information with no action and no dialogue. Most seriously, his characters are stilted types rather than fully-fledged individuals; this is particularly notable in his protagonist, who is little more than a cipher with an elaborate background. Because this man is so indistinct, it is hard to care much when he is in danger of losing his life. This fault is even more pronounced when it comes to the supporting actors, so that we feel shock when someone dies, but no loss. Prouty weaves a solid story, but could have really benefited from a strong editor.I find myself once again bemused by the decisions of those who choose the nominees for the Stoker Award. Is this book really one of the best the horror field had to offer in 2013?Originally published at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  • Melissa
    2019-04-06 16:11

    *** Received from First Reads giveaways***I had a hard time getting into the story when I was reading this book. I think it is partially because I didn't think the main character was a very interesting character at all, he was mostly dull and a rather uninspiring hero. The last half of the book the action and the character became more interesting since there was more happening rather than just getting a lot of background history on events that happened in the past. The background history was interesting, but it did slow the book a bit. A few writing things I noticed that seemed to jar me out of the story was the way the author wrote people's accents. For example he wrote "promis you will heed my warnings." Vornings in italics to show how the character substituted V for W or Z for S instead of just putting Vorning into the sentence since he had already explained that the character was doing it. Overall a good book but not one that blew me away.

  • Lara (Bookishsolace)
    2019-03-31 13:01

    As Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my most favourite classics of all time and as an avid reader of gothic and vampire fiction, this book needed to be read by me! And one thing: don’t read it at night if you’re faint-hearted! There are scenes which are very graphic. Through the use of spare prose, the nightmarish stuff is highlighted even more and Royce Prouty does not use euphemisms like Stoker does. What I like most about this novel is the blend of historical facts and Dracula and the interplay with Joseph Barkeley’s life who is an antiquarian book dealer and authenticator of rare manuscripts. One day he is called by a mysterious buyer who wants him to authenticate the original Dracula manuscript and Stoker’s notes and when he agrees, he doesn’t realise that this decision will change his life forever. He’s invited to come to Romania and too late does he discover that the lines between fiction and fact can be blurred and that there’s nowhere to return. I won’t get more into the story line as I don’t want to spoiler you.If you’re a fan of vampires and the masterpiece “Dracula” I truly believe that you’ll like this book. The atmosphere stays very true to its inspiration and the way Prouty mixes historical facts with his own unique vampire mythology and traditional vampire lore is fascinating.

  • meghann
    2019-03-31 18:55

    This one just did not work for me. Beware paperbacks only costing $2, I guess. I can't even tell you the mc's name. That's how little of an impression he made on me. The first part of the book is just him proving how much he knows about everything. At one point, he walks past a church to get to a cemetery and over a page is spent describing architectural features. Mind you, this is detailed description of a building he is just passing by. He also has the emotional range of a kitchen sponge. A couple of his "friends" die horrible bloody deaths because of their association with him. His response? "Well it wasn't me." People. Are. Dead. How does he handle being held against his will? No reaction whatsoever. He just sits in his room and accepts that he will probably not survive. There's no fight, no attempt at escape. He's a skeptic and doesn't believe in vampires until he gets roughed up in the woods by "something." That's all it takes and all vampires are real and he must slay them. An attempt is made in the second half of the book to explain his complete lack of emotions. You could make a drinking game out of how often him being an orphan is brought up. And hugging causes pain until one woman hugs him. Then it's instant lurrrrve. The final fight at the end was engaging, but it did not make up for over 300 pages of Orphan Sponge. This book had such great potential, but I just can't when it comes to a sociopathic hero.**Exception: This Guy

  • Jim
    2019-04-02 15:03

    A fascinating new take on 'Dracula,' with a bibliophile perspective. Joseph, a Chicago antiquarian book dealer, gets a mysterious offer to purchase the original manuscript and notes of Bram Stoker's now-famous vampire novel. But what other secrets are in the edited (or censored) chapters? And Joseph's own orphaned past, along with his priest brother, go back to Romania, where the manuscript is to be shipped.The book-dealing and research aspects intrigued me more than the rehashed vampire suspense. The combination is interesting, but (slight spoiler) Prouty's narration flips from intense gory scenes to bookish research. There's a bit of a Tim Brown quality to the story, which I don't like; multi-layered and multi-lingual symbols that suddenly make sense and lead to more clues. The side story attributing Nicola Tesla to Stoker, however, is fascinating. but again, the wrap-up of inter-family vampire fights becomes a bit entangled.Still, it's an engaging and well-paced tale.

  • Crystal Spence
    2019-03-28 20:52

    I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. This was definitely not what I had thought the book would be like when I entered to win it. First, the main character was VERY boring and dry. I could not connect with him at all. Then, the author wrote out accents after he would write a sentence. This was so distracting. I found myself re-reading what I had already read in the accent. I guess if he wanted us to read it as it was being said then why not just write it that way to begin and end with? For example, a sentence would be: Yes, she replied. Yezz. I mean, why not just put it as Yezz, she replied? I would have gotten that and it would have been less distracting. There is not too much I can say about the book. The author is very good at writing and was well versed in the subject, it was just to bland for me. I DID read the entire book even though I wanted to just give up.

  • Michelle (True Book Addict)
    2019-04-23 21:13

    I have been on somewhat of a Dracula kick lately. I'm listening to Bram Stoker's classic novel on audio and I'm slowly working my way through a reread of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. So I was thrilled when Royce contacted me and offered me a copy of his book. My friend, J. Kaye, had raved about it and it turns out she was not wrong.What I liked most about the book was the creepy elements that crept up on me throughout the book. I felt chilling fingers move up my spine more than once. This made for excellent reading for the Halloween season. Add to that, the writing of a story that kept me guessing and characters and settings that made me feel part of the story, and this is definitely a book worth reading.Read the rest at my blog: http://castlemacabre.blogspot.com/201...

  • AdiTurbo
    2019-04-19 17:47

    The writing isn't brilliant and at times - repetitive, but the story is old-school, East European-style vampire (not the YA nonsense), full of atmosphere, old traditions and the people who still live them, which I can't resist. The plot is very gripping, and even though the main character isn't very likable, he is still interesting, and so are other characters around him. There is some historical background which gives it all credibility and adds another level of interest. Enjoyable, quick read.

  • LAPL Reads
    2019-04-24 17:48

    When is a risk too great? Even when the possible rewards are tempting? How do you decide? Who’s council do you seek? And what do you do, if after all the consideration and deliberation, you find that you’ve chosen poorly and the costs are higher than you could have possibly imagined? These are just some of the questions explored in Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty.Joseph Barkeley leads a comfortable life after a rocky childhood. He and his brother were orphaned in their native Romania after their father murdered their mother. They were rescued from an orphanage and sent to be raised by nuns in Chicago. Joseph grew up to be a rare book and manuscript dealer and expert. Bernhardt, his younger brother, became a priest. They now live near to each other, and the parish in which they were raised in Chicago.When Joseph receives a call inquiring about hiring him to authenticate an annotated manuscript for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it sounds like a challenging and enjoyable opportunity. When the buyer’s agent insists that, should the manuscript be genuine, Joseph secure its sale and bypass the planned auction, it becomes more challenging but still possible. Once the sale is secured, he is requested to courier the manuscript to Romania and deliver it, personally, to the anonymous buyer. If he does these things, he is promised to be well compensated.While doing his due diligence on the manuscript, he is warned by several colleagues, customers and his brother to pass on this job. There are simply too many risks. Too many things could go wrong. But Joseph is tempted by the payment offered for what he believes will be a simple job. He will secure the manuscript, deliver it to the anonymous buyer and collect a marvelous paycheck ensuring stability and comfort for himself and those for whom he cares. But it becomes increasingly clear, as Joseph moves through the steps to complete the transaction, that this job is going to be neither simple nor straightforward. And Joseph’s decision to accept this job will come to threaten everyone and everything he knows.In Stoker’s Manuscript, first time author Royce Prouty creates a sense of increasing and impending dread as a simple job spirals out of control. The novel is rich in historic details, especially the history of Eastern Europe and, specifically, Romania and Transylvania. The history ranges from the 15th century, and Transylvania’s most famous, and ruthless, ruler Vlad Tepes to the late 20th century, under the Ceaușescu regime. There is also some fascinating background on Stoker and the writing of his most famous work. Prouty blends all of this factual background seamlessly into his fictional elements providing the overall story with a greater sense of immediacy and urgency because so much of what is described has happened.While it may seem easy to guess the identity of the reclusive buyer in Romania insisting upon anonymity, the revelation is more complex, and more satisfying, than assumptions the reader may have going in. The tension in the novel builds relentlessly throughout the novel to a climactic ending.Readers of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian should enjoy Stoker’s Manuscript, as will anyone who enjoys a well crafted tale of the undead!Reviewed by Daryl M., Librarian, Central Library

  • Christopher
    2019-03-31 14:04

    Several words came to mind while reading this novel, but one was repeated more often than the others:terrible! In fact, if it hadn't been for my New Year's resolution to finish every book I begin in 2014, I would have vehemently tossed it aside with a disappointed grunt. I saw this book in a bookstore and instantly noticed that it had the makings of a great - no, fantastic - story, so saving a couple bucks, I ordered it from Amazon.com and restlessly waited for my two-day delivery. WOW...was I disappointed! Have you ever been driving and gotten lost in a bad neighborhood, and you just cruise on through as fast as you can to get the hell out of there? Well, that's how I felt about this book, so I read it as fast as possible to just get it over with.Three things come to mind when I say, "One star is actually being too generous." Firstly, I could not overlook the author's egregious socio-historical errors (e.g. those concerning the historical Dracula, Vlad III, and those dealing with religion and Orthodoxy in the Balkans). If you are going to write a novel about historical figures (i.e. Vlad Dracula and Bram Stoker), even historical fiction, get your damn facts right! For example - and these are just some of the many - the historical Dracula had NOTHING to do with Bran Castle, much less did he build it. His father, was Vlad II and not Vlad I; Vlad I ruled during the 14th and not the 13th century. The author also states that Vlad III's younger brother, Radu cel Frumos (the Handsome), ascended the Wallachian throne after Vlad's death in 1476. However, Radu actually died a year before in 1475, and this prompted Stephen of Moldavia and Matthias Corvinus to back Vlad Dracula in his third and final reign as voivode of Wallachia. Oh, and the author claims the interim ruler spanning the years between Vlad II and Vlad III was not related to the family: they were cousins! Oh, Oh OH, and the author clearly confuses Russian Orthodoxy with Orthodoxy in general, and often uses religious imagery that seems extremely out of place.Secondly, let's talk about descriptive writing. Now, I enjoy description as much as the next guy, and I don't even mind when an author uses an entire chapter to describe the way a door looks (fans of classicsad nauseam, and because of this, we do not see character development. I never got a feel for the protagonist and, therefore, couldn't empathize with him in the least.Thirdly, to loosely quote Gus Portokalos: it was "so dry. [This novel} is like a piece of toast. No honey, no jam... Just dry!" The plot was cliche to the point of being trite and predictable, and there was no real flow. And, let's be honest, I've seen some strange takes on vampire mythology, but mosquito-like creatures?!? Really?!?!? I mean.... REALLY? Disappointing...............

  • Albert
    2019-04-25 17:43

    I had a tough time with Royce Prouty's; Stoker's Manuscript. I loved the subject matter and the premise but felt the delivery of the novel to be disjointed and uneven. Much like a good movie torn apart on the editing floor...."You already did, by agreeing to go. There's danger there, a type not like here. You won't like what you see, Joseph, and you'll never be able to purge it from your memory." "Can I have your blessing?" "If only I could," he said. "Where you are going, God's eyes do not watch."...Joseph Barkeley, a manuscript authenticator, is commissioned to procure the original draft and notes of Bram Stoker's classic novel, Dracula. The buyer is from the oldest family in Transylvania and wants the manuscript delivered to the legendary Castel Bram in Romania. The birthplace of Joseph, where he was orphaned as a child.In researching the piece Joseph finds that the original manuscript has a different beginning and ending than does the novel that has been published since. In the notes there are passages of graveyards and secret burials. Barkeley travels to Romania with the manuscript and finds that the buyer is descended from Vlad the Impaler, whom the character of Dracula was based upon. It is this descendant who wishes the forgotten text of the manuscript to find the most desired of the what the family needs to carry on. This descendant who is far more than he seems...."Herr Barkeley." My host shook a finger at me. "Beware the dark." "I'll be careful." "Die Todten reiten schnell...faster than you." The dead travel fast...Much like Jonathan Harker before him, Joseph Barkeley embarks on his mission and steps directly into the web of darkness and vampires. Unlike Harker, Joseph finds his own family history tied to the legends of the Castel Bram. Until he must decide whether his actions will increase the power of evil or if he can destroy it.Unfortunately, unlike the heroes and heroines of Dracula, you never really feel like rooting for Barkeley. His depressive attitude and self serving greed make him pretty unlikeable. His actions contribute to the deaths of those he holds dear as he falls in servitude to the Dark Prince. The Dark Prince himself is poorly rendered image of a vampire that has survived for centuries untold yet loses a debate with Joseph over the merits of his faith in Christianity. When you decide to take on something like Bram Stoker's Dracula and expand on the original; there should be a sense of respect for the original that demands a much better effort.Overall the premise and subject could have been done much better. This book will leave you with a sense of so much promise and yet so little delivered.

  • Angelia Herrin
    2019-04-12 18:07

    When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker's Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he's become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley's only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley's salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward's flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker's original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.I really liked this book. It was a fast and easy weekend read for me. The author Royce Prouty did a great job by having a mystery that draws on real life events surrounding the publication of "Dracula". I think this would be a great read for almost anyone, but especially to fans of the original Bram Stoker's "Dracula". You should be warned though this is not your Twilight kind of vampire book. This book is darker and more fighting in a very good way.The story did remind me a bit of "The Ninth Gate" but this story stands all on it's own. I also would not be surprised to see a sequel in the near future.

  • Janette Fleming
    2019-04-15 20:10

    When the original manuscript for Bram Stoker's Dracula comes up for auction, Chicagoan Joseph Barkeley, an authenticator and purveyor of rare books, is hired by a European family to obtain Stoker's Manuscript and personal notes and deliver them to Dracula's Castle in Romania.Barkeley, a Romanian orphan as a child, returns to the land of his Transylvanian ancestors with the manuscript, only to find out that he has been hired by the storied Dracul family.(view spoiler)[The manuscript's mysterious buyer forces Barkeley to decipher Stoker's cryptic notes, which lead to the burial sites of certain clan members whose resurrections, would set off long-dormant family wars. When Barkeley discovers that he himself shares the Vampire family's bloodline, he has a choice to make - accept long life as one of their slaves or be disposed of. With lives at stake and his closest American confidantes already murdered, Barkeley chooses to burrow as far inside the family as possible to destroy them from within. (hide spoiler)]Set in present-day Chicago and Romania, the story weaves true historical events and figures from the 1890s with a fresh, science-based rendering of the vampire mythos. Prouty’s novel is rich in atmosphere, historical detail and offers a new vampire mythology; the author does an excellent job of blurring the lines between fact and fiction. It started really well, all unspoken menace and malevolent portents but I personally struggled with Prouty’s vision of the vampire. After I had come to terms with that I struggled with the romantic aspect (not necessary) and also the religious overtones (too much God).However it was pacy and easy to read and it is always fun to ponder the question…what if Dracula, the novel, was based on fact…

  • Spencer
    2019-04-01 13:57

    "I lived in a place where the weather holds a grudge against humans."This book was quite something different, and for that, I really enjoyed it. It takes a lot of creativity to make a good spinoff of a classic, which many authors attempt to do and fail. This, however I would not consider one of those.I am not saying it was without its flaws. The writing style made it harshly apparent that this was the author's first work. Some of the transitions felt weak and disjointed, and the plot at times would race to light speed only to fall back down after a paragraph. But that's okay, we all have to start somewhere. I greatly commend the author on his work. Oddly enough looking back on it, it wasn't so much about plot, rather about culture and folklore, which interested me in a different sort of way then most books.I simply loved the scientific explanations of mythological (?) creatures and also how Prouty played out their part by various interpretations of Bible verses. And the history- right up my alley.Yes. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. A foe. A random reader looking to indulge. But I must warn, this book is NOT for those wanting fast action and/or faint of heart (there are a few quite gory descriptions).Age group: High schoolers and beyondFor those who like: vampires, Slavic culture, history, eerie stuff, stories that make you think

  • Rand
    2019-04-23 18:03

    Once the hook is set, this book is hard to put down.It's been a while since I have read Dracula but I do recall being told of some of the weirdness surrounding that novel's initial publication (last-minute editorial changes, suspected arson hitting both Stoker's workplace and publisher). Prouty builds upon that stuff and then throws in other bits of history for good measure. This book could have been a wee bit shorter. I ended up skimming two or three chapters (the sort which detail obvious solutions to mechanical problems) because I wanted to finish it all in one night.Narratively this book is closer to The Da Vinci Code then Dracula. It helps that the sentence structure is decent, unlike Dan Brown. But this book is very much a "thriller" which I don't often venture into. If this was more of a "literary" work then perhaps Stoker's model would have been hewn to more closely stylistically, but it's not. Which is perfectly fine, since Stoker's novel is really not literary at all, & the way that Stoker used the epistolary form is confusing as hell what with the overlapping time-lapses from letters being mailed and diaries discovered. But Prouty's entire book is essentially one long diary entry which ends up making little to no sense upon the finish. Definitely worth picking up if one is a Gothic Horror aficionado or has the vampire bug.

  • Randy Daugherty
    2019-04-11 15:10

    Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty, This was hard to put down once started.Dracula, Bram Stoker's classic horror novel and known by all , a great work of fiction. Or was it?Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate the original draft copy and until now unknown notes with a prolog and epilog that was not included in the published copy.Why?As Joseph delivers the copy and authentication to the unknown buyer as per contact he learns that not all of Vlad's children were known and it would seem dead.Joseph a Romanian orphan himself along with his brother learns more of his parents death. His mother was murdered by his father for, for being in league with Vampires.Could all this be true?and if so will Joseph survive?This was a good read and Prouty does well of telling the story so as to blend in with all we know of Dracula. Included are some truths of Stoker and his journal.This would be a great addition to any horror collection or just a good book.The characters are well developed and you can feel for them.With fall coming and all Hallows Eve, gather round the fire, read and glance at the shadows and wonder.

  • Sheila
    2019-04-05 20:43

    2.5 stars--somewhere between "it was okay" and "I liked it."This book has an amazing premise. What if Stoker knew the real location of vampire burial sites, and included hints of these locations in early drafts of Dracula? I love the idea of using the text as a treasure map, and the vampire lore in this novel is well done, with creepy vampires and lots of menace. However, for such a neat premise, the book sure is dull. The main character is passive and bland; I couldn't tell you a single one of his character traits because I'm not sure he had any! The Romanian setting doesn't rise above stereotypes (neglected orphans and superstitious villagers), the plot is muddled, and the book sometimes doesn't follow its own rules. (For example, the vampires spy on the narrator and always know what he's doing, always--unless it's something that needs to be kept secret due to plot reasons, and then suddenly the vampires didn't see or hear.)I'm also not sure the ending really ENDED anything.I listened to the audiobook, and the reader was great.

  • Joni Daniels
    2019-03-30 14:51

    A first novel and a really good effort. A mix of Romanian history and Bram Stoker and Dracula. Starting with orphaned brothers in Chicago, one a priest and one a rare manuscript expert is offered a deal he can't refuse what would you do with -- and for -- four million dollars? Vlad Dracul is set up a little like a Mafia Don and our hero realizes that there are time that even someone who is a meek, sheltered, nerdy coward can be put in a position where he must be brave. There is some gory violence, and though some of the guesses made by the expert seem too random to be correct (and yet they are!) it works for the story and i found myself delighted at the author's inventiveness. Note: The end of the story does seem to set the reader up for a second - but I am hoping that this is not a 'book a year' kind of author. He's off to a great start - but the pressure to pump out another in the series can diminish the plot.

  • Tina Hayes
    2019-03-29 13:06

    Royce Prouty's "Stoker's Manuscript" is a modern vampire story that takes an American book authenticator born in Romania back to his roots in a way he never would have imagined. Joseph Barkeley is hired to bring Bram Stoker's original manuscript to Transylvania for a very large sum of money, but why? Turns out some of the real Dracula's relatives don't want the rest of the world to find out secrets contained in the original version, and they'll stop at nothing to keep their secrets.If you're a fan of Bram Stoker's masterpiece, as I am, I believe you'd probably enjoy this novel. The only thing I can fault is that there was a bit too much info about Joseph's study of paper. I look forward to more of Mr. Prouty's work.

  • Jeremy Trumble
    2019-04-15 18:10

    This is a pretty good book to read at Halloween time. It is a good adventure story which includes tid bits about Bram Stoker and the story of Dracula. I read books to lose myself in the story and I found this story just sucked me in from the beginning. I look forward to another novel by Royce soon...

  • Renee
    2019-03-28 16:04

    Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows I have a great deep love for anything Dracula, the more intense, creepy and sexy the better.So it was with extreme happiness I took Stoker’s Manuscript from the hands of my best beloved one and eagerly began the process of deciding if I could read this fiction novel…. I tend to immerse myself mainly in YA.After reading the book flap and flipping through a few of the pages I decided that I had to purchase this novel and devour it as fast as possibly.The book was good, though this is perhaps too simple a statement. The book surrounds Joseph, a Romanian orfan who is hired to authenticate Bram Stoker’s original manuscript, notes, missing prologue and epilogue and take it to a mysterious buyer in Transylvania. Much of this book talked about the care and keeping of old books, many of the different paper types and authentication processes. Which I very much enjoyed. Joseph is a smart intriguing character. He is also prone to mistakes, mistakes that hurt people and help people in this novel. He calls himself a coward but like many “normal” men called to for duty, he does it with his full heart.There is a lot of religion in this novel, Joseph’s brother Berns is a priest and Joseph meets other men of the cloth. Most of the characters are Catholic, so there is a lot of “Gods Will Be Done” stuff, which I don’t care for normally but worked for this novel.The love interest, Sophia, is a very interesting character, though I felt the fact that she falls in love the MC kind of a throw away plot and not really used to the extent it could have been. She is a psychic who helps Jospeh with his quest.There were many other fascinating side characters Joseph meets, all who play major roles in the climax and conflict. Each character was written in a way that they felt like real people you would meet in Romania. The author did an awesome job with providing information and detail without it being over whelming.Now…the vampires… First off the author did his research into the family of Vlad the Impaler and uses two of his brothers in this novel, Radu and Dalca. He was able to keep the dark creepiness of Bram Stoker’s vampires while also adding his own touches. The author explains vampire are soulless creature, their jaws unhinge when they feed, like snakes. He states that they feed like mosquitoes and that vampires, after they have fed, smell like carrion because through their skin leaks the parts of the blood their bodies do not use. The author also goes on to tell us that each vampire “family” only has one wife, or breeding female and the “families” tend to kidnap each others wives so that they cannot breed. Joseph spends most of this book looking for Dalca and Radu’s wives.The vampires were evil, godless creatures in this book, brutal and cruel. I enjoyed them, though I would have liked more information on the wives. They seem to be such an important plot line to have no voice in this novel.There was some gore so be warned. This book does not end happily ever after, but it ends well, if that makes any sense.The only issue I had with this book was the ending felt rushed. I liked everything else about it, aside from the minor issues I have listed above. If you want a great vampire book where they have not become romanticized sparkling ya vomit piles then this novel is for you. If you loved Dracula then I recommend picking this up….He’s not in it, but it is centered around the novel, his home and his family tree.Like this? See more at:

  • Fangs for the Fantasy
    2019-04-06 16:53

    When Joseph Barkeley was a little boy, he and his brother were taken to an orphanage after their parents died and their home burned down. Unlike many orphans, they were rescued by the Catholic Church and taken to America to be raised. Joseph's brother Bernhardt became a priest and Joseph a rare book dealer and authenticator. Both men are haunted by their past and neither could have predicted what would happen when they were forced to confront it. The journey begins when Joseph is given a once in a lifetime offer to authenticate a first edition of Stoker's Dracula. At first he treats it like any other job but when he finally meets his mysterious client, he releases that Dracula is not simply a work of fiction. First, Joseph must confront the very real fact that vampires are real and then the consequences of what happens you get the attention of a noble vampire. What should have been a simple business transaction, quickly turns into the mission of Joseph's life, as he struggles to rid the world of a great evil and figure out the intentions of God. Despite containing vampires, Stoker's Manuscript is generally speaking a cross between dark fantasy and horror. It is absolutely compelling and I read all 352 pages in one day. It is clear that Prouty spent a lot of time researching this novel from the intricate details that he decided to include. This gave Stoker's Manuscript a sense of realism and made it easy to fall into the story. Many books in this genre are set in North America and to read one outside of this geographic area was really refreshing. His descriptions of the Romanian countryside, culture and history gave me as a reader a real sense of time and place. At times it did feel somewhat repetitive but I am sure that it was a device in order to ensure that the reader never lost sight of the setting of Stoker's Manuscript.Prouty raised some interesting philosophical questions like the nature of God's intent when he created humanity, the nature and or purpose of the soul, and finally the nature of redemption. These are weighty issues but they never bogged down the story. In fact, they added a nuanced texture to Stoker's Manuscript. Prouty made sure to ask questions rather than to preach at the reader, causing the questions he raised to linger long past the end of the story. The protagonist, Joseph is a very reluctant hero. He must rely on his wits to make it through his encounters with the noble vampires and discover the answer to a mystery that has remained hidden for years. One cannot help rooting for him. Joseph gets into a situation and quickly realises that he is in over his head and though he is tempted to run away and hide, he plunges onwardRead More

  • Doug Clark
    2019-03-26 18:06

    Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty is an interesting take on the Dracula myth. This is an engrossing first novel. The basic plot involves a high-end used book dealer, Joseph Barkeley. He is hired to authenticate and purchase the original manuscript of Dracula along with all of Bram Stoker’s notes for an anonymous Eastern European buyer prior to their auction, and then personally deliver the manuscript to the buyer. In the course of researching the manuscript and making the purchase, Barkeley finds himself embroiled in a mystery that involves himself, his brother, his family’s past, and the legends of the former country of Wallachia. The people he consults are later threatened and/or killed. Barkeley is slowly boxed in and trapped by the anonymous buyer. He is forced to continue his investigations under penalty of a brutal death. As Barkeley slowly pieces together the clues from the manuscript, notes and other sources, including a document and letters from a one-time assistant to Dr. Edward Teller, his time is running out. The mysteries involve what vampires actually are and the influence that the Dracul family still exerts in the region. This is further complicated by two of Vlad Tepes’ (Dracula’s) brothers whose wives have been hidden for centuries and are feuding to find them and breed again.This is only a quick outline of a very intriguing read in the vampire genre. It’s well researched and fairly well written. I was thoroughly drawn into the mystery. My only criticisms were that there were places where my suspension of disbelief over some of the events didn’t carry me through. I was also confused about some of the events, but perhaps I wasn’t reading as close as I could have been. It isn’t clear to me exactly what the feud involves other than a power struggle between brothers. In some ways, Stoker’s Manuscript recalled to mind Elizabeth Kostova’s excellent 2005 first novel, The Historian, which offered her own take on the Dracula legend. Stoker’s Manuscript isn’t quite as well-researched as Kostova’s novel, but it was very good. I easily recommend it to readers who enjoy good mysteries and suspense, and also to those who like vampires that are not of the Twilight kind.

  • Aimee
    2019-04-17 18:54

    If you're a fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula, then Stoker's Manuscript is a must-read. As the name of the book implies, Stoker's original manuscript features prominently in the narrative as the main character, Joseph Barkeley, a rare book and manuscript expert, is hired to 1) authenticate it, and 2) broker a deal to purchase it from a museum for a mysterious, unnamed client. When Barkeley agrees, he doesn't realize that it will change his life irrevocably. The mysterious client is someone, no, something, Joseph never imagined existed, and Stoker's manuscript contains the clues that lead to what he most desires. Either Joseph will decode the clues and find it, or he will die. Of course, once he's "outlived his usefulness," he'll still die. What a choice! As Joseph stalls, he does indeed begin to decode the manuscript, but unexpectedly, along the way he also discovers that he is much more a part of this whole situation than he ever imagined. Can he unravel the mystery and save himself and those he loves?The atmosphere created in this book was very reminiscent of that in Stoker's Dracula. Some aspects of the story also echo Stoker's plot, such as Joseph's "stay" in Dracula's castle (paralleling that of Jonathan Harker). Prouty also presents a completely different take on vampires from any that I have read elsewhere. These creatures are not sparkly or handsome or anything remotely appealing (they even stink). Of course, others have also depicted vampires in this light, but it's Prouty's ideas about vampire reproduction that I found interesting and different. There are warring factions of vampires, and apparently what has caused the in-fighting is essentially breeding rights. Vampire females are in short supply, and it seems that the preferred method of revenge is stealing and burying your rival's wife. As a librarian and archivist, I found all the library, archive, and museum parts (because of course, Joseph has to do his research!) interesting. Prouty put the events surround Stoker's manuscript into context by also connecting them with the work of Tesla.

  • Samuel R. Colletto, Jr.
    2019-04-03 14:52

    After reading the synopsis of the book, I, of course, was intrigued and added it to my "To read" list. I went into it expecting a nicely crafted, chilling reading experience...but was left scratching my head because it managed to be fairly formulaic and dull. Therefore, I give it a rating of 3 because it was average/decent, and even that is being generous.I still enjoyed aspects of the story, and unsettling feelings arose within me during occasional moments, but the first-person narration destroyed most of the suspense for me. If done well, first-person narration can work quite well, but that wasn't the case here. It eliminated any feelings of dread in regards to the protagonist's well being. He, Joseph, ventured off into some very perilous locations/situations, but you knew he'd be just fine because he related everything to you. Speaking of the protagonist, he seemed to willingly accept the existence of vampires. He took his crucifix, the knowledge that he must slay a vampire, and marched right into Romania. He learned of the deaths of close friends in the U.S., saw people impale themselves by jumping from great heights onto stakes/"debris" of the corpses splattered him a few times, and saw his own brother be bitten by Dalca, son of Vlad III, yet managed to take it all in stride. What should have been a thrill was, overall, a bit mundane and boring. I never actually seemed to fully immerse myself in the story. From the beginning, I was unable to forge a connection and reached the point of hoping that the story would come to a swift conclusion, which are never good signs.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-04-16 14:13

    I think possibly this "sub-genre" of the vampire novel may not be one for me. I tried The Historian and found it (for me) a complete waste of time. This one I didn't really dislike but I did find myself wandering away from it and "taking my time" getting back to it. Joseph Barkeley a rare book dealer and expert makes one of the classic mistakes of horror literature. he rationalizes a decision that will make him a huge amount of money and ignores a warning from a Nun. Thus the said "horror" ensues.It's not a bad book. I found the idea an involving one. Barkeley asked to authenticate an original first draft of Bram Stoker's Dracula manuscript and act as an agent for a mysterious buyer (in Transylvania) sounds really enthralling. It is...sometimes. Sadly there are other times when the book simply yawns and takes a break or something. I would be reading along and then find myself trudging along.We do get to a fairly interesting story with a good climax. The book ends in a way the ties up the story...but also leaves a door open for a sequel (what doesn't anymore?). I'm not really disappointed but neither am I enthusiastic. If there is a sequel i don't know if I'll read it...I don't plan to buy it.So see what you think. Did you like The Historian? This reminds me of it a bit but is much more (to me) interesting. Hope that helps. Can't really give my recommendation to this one but you might want to try it yourself.

  • Matt
    2019-04-12 17:04

    I thought this would be a good Halloween book, and it's fine, but it could have been great. The story is original - a Transylvanian orphan in Chicago enlisted to authenticate an unpublished edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula finds himself wrapped up in a war among vampires and has to use clues from the book to survive. But the book itself is blunt, with minimal connective tissue. We might get a page of lush description of the Romanian countryside, but we more often get the main character hopping to Chicago, Wisconsin, Romania, Philadelphia, and back in fifty pages. In one scene, he is present at this horrific blood ritual, and he seems trapped, and on the next page, he's home with no explanation of his escape. Conversations carry a good creepy tone, but the sentences are usually efficient exposition instead of a more natural languid flow. I would read future work from this author, but his debut novel has room for improvement.

  • Jonathan Tomes
    2019-04-21 20:49

    Several months ago I reviewed The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello, a supernatural thriller, which I gave five stars. My latest read, Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty, is an equally good supernatural thriller. It concerns a rare-manuscript expert who is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s classic, Dracula. Upon delivering the manuscript to the client at Castel Bran in Romania, he is horrified to learn that he has become a prisoner to Vlad Dracul’s son, who wants him to find the burial sites of Dracul family members so they can be brought back to life. Weaving together science, history, and the supernatural, Prouty’s first novel weaves a compelling, suspenseful tale. Five stars.

  • Viccy
    2019-04-15 13:06

    Joseph Barkley and his brother, Bernhardt, are orphans, rescued from the hell of Ceausescu's Romania and sent to Chicago. Years later, Bernhardt is a priest and Joseph is an antiquarian bookseller. He receives a mysterious telephone call, requesting he verify and obtain the original manuscript of Bram Stoker's Dracula. This brings him back to his homeland and all the vampire legends rampant in this land of superstition. Soon, Joseph discovers intriguing connections between his family history and all those legends. The novel builds on actual historical events surrounding the publication of Stoker's book. The characters are sympathetic and the story is quite accessible. The horror builds slowly and ends at a breakneck pace. Recommended reading for squeamish horror fans.