Everyone knows that Brom Stoker wrote Dracula. What very few people know is that the novel wasn’t fiction but an after-action report of British Intelligence trying to recruit Dracula and failing terribly. Operation Edom redacted the text, changed some details to cover their involvement and then released it as fiction as a coverup.
That is the premise of Pelgrane Press’s excellent Dracula Unredacted written by Kenneth Hite and Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. This book is the entire Dracula novel, with a crap load of annotations from three generations of spy analysts. They pick apart and speculate on the parts that are true, the parts that are disinformation from Dracula, and various followups attempted over the years. It also details British Intelligence’s incredible hubris in attempting to recruit Dracula for the Cold War and the War on Terror. Spoiler Alert: A lot of people get bitten.
Technically this book is a supplement for the role-playing game, Night’s Black Agents. I recommend that game, but Dracula Unredacted is a fascinating book on its own. The annotations flesh out some bits and also add wild lines of speculation. Some new scenes have been added to the original text from Stoker’s previous drafts and they fit seamlessly. Since it is meant as a game handout to spark adventures, the annotations are more plot hooks than explanations. I found it an exhilarating read as I started to question every damn thing Stoker wrote.
It is always fun to re-read Dracula and Dracula Unredacted feels like an expanded universe read of the great novel.