Name: Stoker’s Wilde
Author: Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Number of Pages: 384 (Paperback)
Published: May 30th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Historical
Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The fight will take them through dark forests in Ireland, the upper-class London theater world and Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell.
Stoker’s Wilde unites Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde in a thrilling quest to prevent London falling under the power of the enigmatic Black Bishop, an adversary intent on unleashing dark forces upon the world. Werewolves, vampires, and a rivalry and mutual dislike that could come between our two protagonists – heavy odds indeed. I think our duo will need some help…
The pair join forces with a vampire expert and the wonderful Henry Irving, an actor in residence at the Lyceum Theatre in London, who gives Bram a job as his theatre manager. Ellen Terry, an actress in the company, and Bram’s wife Florence also play their roles, and there’s also ill-fated Lucy. I loved these characters, especially Henry Irving.
The story unfolds by way of letters, journal entries and archive documents which makes for an immersive and varied reading experience – from a one page letter to several journal pages recounting incidents of derring-do. The journals and letters especially give unique voice to each of the main characters as we’re privy to their inner thoughts. The same incident may be recounted over a number of different sources, and watching it come together is intriguing.
I loved the voices of both Stoker and Wilde, who initially seem to have a mutual low opinion of each other, which only intensifies when Bram ends up marrying Florence.
For all the gothic horror, which is wonderful throughout the book, there are moments of genuine humour, usually centred round the way Bram and Oscar view each other despite events continually throwing them together as allies.
The story blends horror, humour and wit, with two wonderfully engaging protagonists and reluctant allies and a wide supporting cast of heroes and villains which make this a great read.
The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I’d love to go adventuring with Messrs Stoker and Wilde. Guess I’ll just have to wait for… Stoker’s Wilde West. Seriously. Go check out the premise for the next novel. The Wild West? Vampire gunslingers? And the return of the great duo of Stoker and Wilde. Sounds like one to watch out for.