Fresh Meat: Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim NewmanAnno Dracula: Johnny Alucard (Anno Dracula 1976-1991) by Kim Newman is the fourth in an alt-history fantasy series following Dracula's fictional legacy, now including his son, would-be drug lord Johnny Alucard (available September 17, 2013).

The Anno Dracula series has always been a favorite of mine because of its radical reimagining of world history. What if Dracula had really existed? What if he hadn’t met his end at the hands of Van Helsing and Co.? Kim Newman has explored the impact this would have had on the Victorian, World War II, and mid-century eras in previous books: now he sets his sights on what could arguably be called the Cocaine Era of 1976-1991.

As 1976 dawns, the legendary Count Dracula is dead. One of his get, an undernourished young vampire named Ion Popescu, attaches himself to Francis Ford Coppola’s movie production of Dracula being filmed in Transylvania. A sympathetic Kate Reed, hired as consultant to the filming, befriends Ion and is warmed by his seemingly puppy-like determination to change his name to John and migrate to America. She muses:

Was this how Dracula had been when he first thought of moving to Great Britain, then the liveliest country in the world just as America was now? The Count had practised his English pronunciation in conversations with Jonathan [Harker], and memorised railway timetables, relishing the exotic names of St Pancras, King’s Cross and Euston. Had he rolled his anglicised name—Count DeVille—around his mouth, pleased with himself?

Of course, Dracula saw himself as a conqueror, the rightful ruler of all lands he rode over. Ion-John was more like the Irish and Italian emigrants who poured through Ellis Island at the beginning of the century, certain America was the land of opportunity and that each potato-picker or barber could become a self-made plutocrat.

Unfortunately for Kate, young John is not as innocent as she imagines him to be. The direct descendant of Dracula has big plans for himself and America and won’t let anyone get in his way. As he amasses a fortune by inventing and spreading a new drug called “drac,” he proves himself to be a vampire perfectly suited for his epoch. Whereas Count Dracula had ingratiated himself with monarchs and presidents, John (who soon changes his name again to Johnny) knows that the balance of power over the public imagination has switched to entertainers and acts accordingly. He runs with Andy Warhol (causing another holdover from previous Anno Dracula books, Penelope Churchward, to abandon The Factory,) snubs punk culture and embraces disco in New York City as he builds his empire. But not everything is smooth sailing, as he encounters sometimes subtle opposition:

The driver, a gaunt white man with a baggy military jacket, glanced instinctively at the rear-view mirror, expecting to lock eyes with his fare. Johnny saw surprise in the young man’s face as he took in the reflection of an empty hack. He twisted to look into the dark behind him and saw Johnny there, understanding at once what he had picked up.

“You have a problem?” Johnny asked.

After a moment, the taxi driver shrugged.

“Hell, no. A lot of guys won’t even take spooks, but I’ll take anyone. They all come out at night.”

Behind the driver’s gun-sight eyes, Johnny saw jungle twilight, purpled by napalm blossoms. He heard the reports of shots fired years ago. His nostrils stung with dead cordite.

Uncomfortable, he broke the connection.

When New York City becomes increasingly hostile to Johnny and his schemes, he heads west to Hollywood. There he crosses paths and figurative swords with one of the banes of his father-in darkness’ prior existence, the self-possessed Geneviève Dieudonné (whom I will unabashedly admit is my favorite character in the whole series.) Geneviève finds herself positioned, sometimes unwittingly, as Johnny’s foil in his ultimate scheme: to fully resurrect Dracula and usher in a new golden age of vampirism.

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard is a rollicking ride through the pop culture of 1976-1991, as Kim Newman cleverly twists and turns the events of those fifteen years to fit his vampiric narrative. Not a single moment feels forced as he blends actual historical events (e.g. Andy Warhol’s assassination, the Iranian revolution) with fiction come to life (such as the Taxi Driver homage excerpted above.) Note: See an example of just how many such characters references there may be in this Wikepedia page for his previous novel, Dracula Cha Cha Cha.

The crack epidemic becomes the drac epidemic in this entirely plausible, wildly entertaining account of a vampire who, like any other criminal, seeks to exploit the American Dream for his own ends. But it isn’t just a celebration of criminality: it’s also an exploration of what it means to adapt to changing times, as personified by the vampire trio of Dieudonné, Reed, and Churchward. The vampire myth has always been useful for deconstructing the fears of any given age, and Kim Newman applies it to this hedonistic era with his trademark wit and style, giving us an insightful, if fantastical, look at the America of the time.

This sweepstakes has ended.

To enter for a chance to win a hardcover copy of  Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

The Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete entry at beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 17, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 12:59 p.m. ET September 24, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


See more new releases at our Fresh Meat feature page.

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at Powell’s   Buy at IndieBound! Buy at Barnes and Noble


Buy at Books a Million  Buy at Amazon  Buy at Kobo Buy at iTunes


Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.


  1. Karl Stenger

    Would love to read this book

  2. Mary Ann Woods

    This is an era I like to read about!

  3. Kenny Diveley

    would like to read this on

  4. Diana Portwood

    Kim Newman + Dracula? Excellent!

  5. Deb Mosora

    Sounds interesting!

  6. Joyce Mitchell

    Sounds like a fun book.

  7. Pam Howell

    Wow. This is such a different take on Dracula. I am really looking forward to reading this. Thanks.

  8. nancy black

    OMG!! A book to curl up with on a stormy…I love this series!!

  9. rita devine

    I would love to read this book!!

  10. Janet Martin

    These books have been so much FUN!!! I love them.

  11. Melissa Darwin

    This sounds like a lot of fun! “Alucard” — love it!

  12. Kimberly Mayberry

    I love Dracula books! I find this series to be quite interesting and intruging. I would love the chance to read this book and the whole series.

  13. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]Dracula, my man![/b]

  14. Tiffany Duncan

    This looks good

  15. Kelley Tackett

    Check out the author’s pic on Amazon:
    Kim Newman – Like a Boss!

  16. Cheryl Greenleaf


  17. tom coady

    The first three books in the series were outstanding. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time

  18. Vernon Luckert

    Would love to win this one!

  19. Janice

    would love to win

  20. Cathie Klampfer

    I want to read this book!

  21. Cheryl English

    I want to bite your neck.

  22. Jane K

    Love all things Dracula.

  23. Michael Carter

    Great contest!
    Please enter me.

  24. Lori Myers

    I can’t wait to read this!!

  25. Anita Yancey

    Sounds very interesting. I would love to read it. Thanks for this chance.

  26. tony parsons

    luv 2 read this book

  27. Heather Martin

    I love this series. It’s nice to see it back.

  28. MaryG

    I’ve always been a fan of Dracula movies and books and would love to read this new book.

  29. Kelli Jo Calvert

    This sounds like a great read!!

  30. Joanne Mielczarski

    I would love to read this book – please enter me.

  31. Shannon Baas

    Looks like a good book.

  32. joey edwards

    can’t wait to read it

  33. Ilene Harris

    Looks good, hope I win.

  34. Mary Ann Brady

    Sounds great. Hope I win. Thx.

  35. Gordon Bingham

    Have enjoyed the earier title in this series. looking forward to this one.



  37. Sharon Shumway

    I want to read more of the EVIL Dracula. I love it when fiction and fantasy meet. I love scary.

  38. Irene Menge

    Sounds like a scary, but fun, read. Would love to win.

  39. MARY Mclain

    I would like to read this book.

  40. MARY Mclain

    I would like to read this book.

  41. L L

    sounds intriguing

  42. Don Gentry

    Sounds Fangtastic !

  43. Megan Mariner

    Oooh, Dracula! Looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one!

  44. Michelle Stewart

    sounds interesting

  45. Sally

    Seems like a great mix. Will look for earlier books to catch up and hope I can win this one. I always liked anything Dracula.

  46. MaryC

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  47. Cindi Hoppes

    What an interesting character and theme!
    Many thanks, Cindi

  48. David Vinther

    sounds good

  49. lynette barfield

    Interesting would love a copy

  50. kent w. smith

    If I win this copy I would have to purchase the previous ones in the series. Sounds like a win-win. Thank you.

  51. Karen Terry

    I read Dracula a long time ago, when I was a teen. I loved it. I have always beeen a fan. I use to watch Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, and the Mummy.


    Never heard of this series, sounds great!

  53. Eva Moller

    Would love to read it!

  54. Rosemary Krejsa

    Reading about Dracula is perfect for the fall season. I can’t wait to read it.

  55. Vicky Boackle

    looks interesting.

  56. Crystal Blackburn

    I would love to win a copy of this book!

  57. vicki wurgler

    thanks for giveaway I’d love to read this

  58. Donna Bruno

    No way! This could be very cool; I’d love to win a copy!

  59. derek


  60. susan beamon

    This is a series I must have missed. Oh well, I can start with this book if I win it.

  61. Melissa Keith

    I LOVE the ANNO DRACULA series! A long time ago I found the first book in paperback. When I saw the other books come out recently in trade I was elated. I was shocked to see the series continued. This is the best sweeps ever! I’m crossing everything for a win!!

  62. Phoenix

    I’m much more interested in Dracula than some of the newer renditions of vampires.

  63. Jane Schwarz

    Sounds like a great read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  64. Marguerite Beal

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  65. tony parsons

    luv 2 read this 1

  66. Linda Knowles

    Eep! Another Anno Dracula?! I would LOVE to read it!!!!

  67. patricia lambert

    love to read this thanks

  68. Sharon Kaminski

    looks like this would be a great read

  69. george ashmore

    I have waited years for a new Dracula novel from Kim–glad it has arrived

  70. Jeffrey Malis

    Sounds unique, I’m intrigued! Always looking forward to something new. I appreciate the chance!

  71. Kermit Crissey

    Hope to win, need a new book to read and this sounds like the one!

  72. Karen Koziczkowski

    An interesting take on the possibilities of History. But 4th in the series, where have I been? I’d have to buy the 1st 3 before reading this one. Like to read stories in the proper order, regarding series. Can really get a good HOLD of the subtleties of connection.

  73. Heather Morris

    Wow, what an interesting concept for a book series. I am going to have to check these out right away!!

  74. Marisa Young

    Looks interesting. Would like to win.

  75. Jaydee Dusenberry

    This sounds awesome

  76. Katherine Stukel

    Sounds like something I’d like to read!

  77. Kristen Faro

    Sounds very interesting. Will need to look up the other books and start reading. Love alt history.

  78. Mike Rogers

    Looks great, I love the subject matter.

  79. elaine fisher

    thanks … nice addition to my collection

  80. Kimberly Hilbert

    I love to read dracula books. I’ll be on the look-out for this one.


    I want to win!

  82. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a good one!

  83. Candice Hull

    I love reading all the different Dracula books. I love to see authors’ different takes on the stories.
    thank you for the giveaway

  84. Angela Bartlett

    I have loved each of the Anno Dracula books. I am positive I’ll love this one too! Thank yo for the giveaway.

  85. Janet Gould

    this book looks fascinating

  86. Brenda Jordan

    i would love to read this book!

  87. Pam Flynn


  88. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  89. Marissa Buffett

    looks like a great book! heres to hoping i win 😀

  90. Shauntea Crutcher

    Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  91. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to reaad the work of Kim Newman!

  92. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to reaad the work of Kim Newman!

  93. Debra Kidle

    Wow, what an intriguing synopsis, I would love to read this!

  94. Tricha Leary

    sounds great

  95. Lisa Pecora

    Sounds like a great read!

  96. LeAnn Knott

    Never read any of this series but looks like a good one to start with!!

  97. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  98. Heather Cowley

    Is this going to make me lose sleep? Oh, okay. 🙂

  99. Tim Moss

    Cool, include me!

  100. Susan Smoaks

    i would love to win

  101. Wayne Lecoy

    I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of
    Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman.
    This looks like an interesting book.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!!!

  102. Charles Fraker

    Cool book! Kim Newman writes good stuff. Sign me up.

  103. spellsofdracula

    If you are interested about Dracula’s story, we are inviting you to our website to find out more about Dracula’s life and view the list of protection kit against vampires, original spells and other more about Vampires. Please visit [url=][/url]

Comments are closed.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.