Amaranthine Books incredulous limited Dracula by Bram Stoker is truly dark, richly lavish, and bloodily grim in all the right ways.
Dracula is one of the first ever books to be considered a novel, one of the foundational chilling books of horror, and birthed an entire vampire genre of fiction.
Dracula is legend.
And having read the book many times, having studied the book at university and owning a few copies already, I was skeptical of spending a few hundred dollars on the “Transylvania” limited edition of 666 numbered copies from Amaranthine Books.
It looked very interesting and the word that first comes to mind, still, is lavish.
This book is bound and draped in red velvet-like cloth.
I love books and so this seemed really cool, as it seemed to frame the dark visage of the Count on the cover as Jonathan Harker first sees Dracula in his castle.
But I was not sold; it was not until I saw the art and read into the thought-process behind the binding and every facet of the myriad designs put in the book that I fell in love and had to have it.
Here is the story synopsis, and the book review continues below:
Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. It introduced the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. The novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, gothic fiction, and invasion literature. The novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film, and television interpretations.
Original Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Hardcover, 418 pages
Published By Archibald Constable and Company (UK) on Publication date 26, May 1897 and then later by Amaranthine Books
The following TFF Book Review Of Amaranthine Books’ Dracula By Bram Stoker contains contains mild Spoilers*****.
Bram Stoker’s classic is a combination of letters of multiple characters and the audio recordings of Dr. Seward in his asylum, an epistolary, and it remains intensely suspenseful, eerie, and flat out creepy from the very onset.
Meeting the Count and going through the tale, not just as a reader, but as a participant is how Amaranthine went about constructing their gorgeous editions.
The pages are all black-edged and UV-protected, the imagery and even the count on the cover glow in the dark. There are 666 pages in this edition. 666!
As Harker find himself entering Transylvania and the weird surrounds him, an unsettling ominous feeling, so too does the reader embark with that same pit in their stomach for the start of their trek.
The terrifying ordeal of wolves chasing the carriage is followed up by the dreary castle and then the lush, well-spoken older gentlemen, Count Dracula, himself, who is genteel and off-putting in the subtlest of ways.
He had eerily adopted an English accent, despite learning the language through reading about it, and his regal demeanor reveals a love for a lavish lifestyle in many ways, yet in many ways he is off – including the extra-long canines Harker catches glimpses of.
Dracula had been a plague in Eastern Europe for time out of mind and so he set his sights on the innumerable citizens of England in the 19th Century. There he could be a king, stay young, and torment the people there if only the Harker and his brilliant fiance Mina had not been so close that she could put together what had happened to her beloved and how they must get together, with the famous Dr. Van Helsing, to destroy the Count once and for all.
The tale is truly one of a kind and so sensational, even to this day.
Reading the version Amaranthine put together makes for an all-time superb reading experience for this rare book.
And so both editions of the Amaranthine Books’ Dracula have a red velvety cloth binding that is so very satisfying and fun to hold in the hand.
The book is heavy! And it is lush, yet the older, stern glance of the Count looks out from the cover.
I wish I had gotten one of the Scholomance Editions, because the book came in a coffin-like wooden box containing real Transylvanian soil from Bran Castle in Romania.
And what is more: the creators of the book actually wrote the title on the limitation page in their own blood!
That is incredibly macabre.
Having to settle for my copy it still is encompassed in a coffin-like slipcase and comes with a stake to ward off the count, a hidden message within the case, and also was limited to a prominent number: 666 copies.
Every facet, from the bat-black endpapers, to the vivid artwork that perfectly befits the story and is innovative and new and yet classic at the same time, adds up to a truly fantastic volume from the fine press befitting of one of the world’s greatest works of literature.
P.S. The next book from Amaranthine Books, Alice, is also out-of-this-world amazing, as it features more fine press innovations in binding construction and overall design aesthetic.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and what Alice Found There is presented in one book that is reversible for each novel along with a truly adept cover finely sewn into such an entrance to the world as you could ever hope to behold. Myriad fibers make up a trippy visual enigma tunneling you with Alice to Wonderland.
I have a numbered edition of this famous set of novellas, the Alice – Jabberwock Edition (limited to only 260 copies) on pre-order and I will certainly review it once it has been released and 60 days have passed.
First RW Rare Book Gunslinger Case Ships, Contests & More!
In this holiday, Festivus, Winter Solstice week, I have exciting news at The Forgotten Fiction HQ.
The happenings: the newest review for The Forgotten Fiction magazine, the first ever Rune Works Rare Book Case “Gunslinger” Roman Numeral #’d I of XIX being ready and shipped out to a dear friend, and another case comes to my own shelves . . .
Let’s get into it!
Happy Festivus! “I got a lot of problems with you people! And you’re gonna hear about!”
Grievances aside, the next book to be reviewed for TFF will be none other than the Amaranthine Books Dracula – Transylvania Edition!
This book is a favorite of mine, and their edition is stunning!
The lush Count’s fabric cover and the incredibly macabre art and every unique detail made me buy this limited edition of 666 numbered copies.
The book review will be up in the next week.
Fine presses and small presses are dear to my heart, and anyone and everyone involved in making books. These special works of art encompass our favorite works and inspirations in a way that is not easily described.
And so my own art of woodworking and making by hand, including hand painted accents in the engravings, led me to build my first “Gunslinger” RW Book Case for a friend and I mailed it out Monday.
It is numbered roman numeral I of XIX, a limited edition for a design I will retire after XIX are built.
I am adding pictures here and at the bottom of the RW Book Case page on the TFF site, click HERE, a “Pictures In Progress” Section, as I always enjoy seeing the process of things being made.
And what is more, today was my Born On Date for the fully cured first creation of the “Bachman Books” RW Book Case, and my books have finally been inserted to their new home and the US first editions of the Stephen King’s alter ego are now back with their UK comrade (and one of my favorite all time covers, a Like New copy of The Long Walk).
What a week this is! And I also had my first ever TFF Giveaway Contest on Facebook and Twitter and am mailing out a handmade pen holder and sign with the homage to the first edition Grant cover of The Gunslinger!
I will be announcing a new giveaway contest on New Year’s Day. Lots of little prizes and surprises I am throwing in with all of my work too…I have some talented friends.
Now I decided to include one pen holder for anyone I give a case to, and so I am extending the pen holder limitation to XX out of XCIX. So numbers up to 99 are for sale ($25-ish if someone wanted one) and if interested please contact me.
These pen holders have a nice deep engraving that you can feel even after the clear coat is applied. It is a fun texture, especially the Slinger’s bullet-blasted title!
The winner, John, is getting roman numeral XX of the Slinger pen holder, but the rest are up for grabs as of today; just email or PM me.
I think that is it for now, but I have big things in the works! More writers are readying their book reviews and more cases are in development and readying to go out into the wild.
As The Forgotten Fiction magazine grows, so do the reviews of books 60+ days old and small press editions. And right along with that review of the literary and bibliophile art are the increasing Rune Works Book Case projects: art to encompass and protect art.
I thought it only fair to begin a dialogue here, that will also be shared on our social media networks, and will hopefully engage you, the new fans of TFF, to express your thoughts and ideas as well.
There are a lot of books in the works to be reviewed!
There are plans in the works for many more classics, contemporary titles, and small and fine press editions to be examined on TFF in-depth.
I will list some of the likely prospects that are already on the radar below.
And as the literary arts spread, so to has the handmade wooden RW Book Cases and the plans and new projects in the fire are already growing vast for the forging.
I want to personally ask all of you who are tuning in to reach out in any way you like to express your thoughts on what is being done at TFF and what you would like to see done.
I implore you all, eager readers, to make your voices heard! It is infinitely more fun that way.
Since this is the inaugural TFF & RW Book Case NEWS post, I wanted to introduce myself very briefly.
My name is R.J. Huneke, I founded The Forgotten Fiction, and I have been a published author for decades now. My first job ass a reviewer case as a columnist for the New York tabloid Newsday where I did reviews of pop culture and of local bars; I also was a reviewer of books for The Examiner, ScfiNow, Fantasy Matters, and continue to write on and review robotics and gadgetry for Gadizmo. Most of my work has come in the form of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction articles, though I have been a passionate novelist since I was 19 years old, and my first novel picked up by a publisher, Cyberwar, was released in 2015.
I have a bevy of contributors lining up to write reviews for TFF, and both myself and Peter Maisano will continue to regularly write as well.
Artists including Paul Michael Kane – photography (and whose 19th Edition works of art I often include in cases sent out) – and Jeff Terry – book unboxing extraordinaire – are active on TFF.
All contributors on TFF are talented and unique artists with their own channels for their works, and I encourage you to take a look at their fantastic works – you will not be disappointed.
Now to the fun stuff!
I may be all business – and grammatically anal in my reviews – but I aim to let my humor come out for a much more fun tone in my NEWS posts.
And so . . . to the BOOKS!
The joy of making this platform was that it is open to any book of fiction out 60 days or more. ANY!
The possibilities are endless.
I want the author – who typically gets little to no marketing after 60 days – to benefit, I want the reader who may have missed a classic or two to benefit, and I want the publishers to benefit, since they, too, are hurting in the US.
And to add on to that, I especially want the small press publishers to not just survive but to thrive!
You have kept and engaged so many readers over the years, and you have kept paper books relevant and special works of art for the storied art contained therein and it means the world to us readers.
So you know: first and foremost I am a reader.
I am a Constant Reader, loud and proud.
And The Forgotten Fiction magazine will be hitting on:
A Scanner Darkly By Philip K. Dick – Suntup Editions Numbered and Artist Editions
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Suntup Editions Numbered and Artist Editions
More Books by Michael Crichton – requests are open, folks!
The End Of Eternity By Isaac Asimov (and pictures of a rare first edition)
The Time Machine By H.G. Wells – Suntup Edition’s Numbered
Killer Come Back To Me the unpublished Ray Bradbury book celebrating Bradbury’s 100th birthday by Hard Case Crime
And so many more books will be reviewed and mixed in with the above, all which will come out in no particular order.
Embrace the chaos of reading!
If that was not exciting enough for me, I love talking and writing about books, there has been a bevy of new woodworking projects I have undertaken.
Most are Rune Works Rare Book Cases, and some are offshoots.
One such offshoot is a one-time wooden and engraved sign for Stephen King’s The Stand to accompany the book case being built and many of the Eager Readers of The Forgotten Fiction will have an opportunity to get one, since it is not a case, I will make more than the 19 limited that I keep to for cases (I am thinking 100 right now).
It will be awesome! Sneak-peak coming today or tomorrow right before the new mini-series airs!
Back to the cases. I am currently working on the following:
The Gunslinger cases
The Lord Of The Rings ACE First Edition case
“Gunslinger” Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction cases
A I of I creation customized for an issue of Astounding Fiction from 1953
Startling Mystery 1967 and 1969 Case
The Stand case – one for UK and one for US 1st printings
Fight Club case
Revival Us First Edition for signed copies
End Of Watch Us First Edition for signed copies
If It Bleeds Us First Edition for signed copies
The End Of Eternity case
“The Four Bachman Books” cases
And even a non-book case for a rare Star Wars Lego piece!
As you can see things are heating up at the forge, and I thank you all for your time, your enthusiasm, your love of great works of fiction, and your pushing me to show this art to the world.
Stay tuned to the TFF & RW Book Case NEWS section here.
If you have any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions please reach out to me personally: [email protected].
P.S. There will be some giveaways and contests coming for email subscribers and RW Book Case enthusiasts, so stay tuned!
Suntup reforges a classic in The Auctioneer by Joan Samson, the 1975 novel that sold over a million copies, went out of print for nearly forty years, and returned to trade publication in 2018.
The Auctioneer is a chilling tale of suspense and a literary masterpiece, and Suntup Editions has truly given the book as wild and classy a design as is befitting the story of the Moore’s in Harlowe.
To say the spirit of Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer is vivacious in these pages is an understatement.
Here is the story synopsis from Suntup Editions, and the review continues below it.
One of the finest and bestselling horror novels of the 1970’s, Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer is a chilling masterpiece of terror. In an isolated New Hampshire farming community where little has changed over the past several decades, John Moore and his wife Mim do their best to maintain the family farm and live a modest, hardworking life. But from the moment the charismatic Perly Dunsmore arrives in town, soliciting donations for his auctions, the community of Harlowe slowly and insidiously starts to change. As the auctioneer carries out his terrible, inscrutable plan, the Moores and their neighbors will find themselves gradually but inexorably stripped of their freedom, their possessions, and perhaps even their lives.
Upon its release in 1975, The Auctioneer was received with wide acclaim. Newsday hailed it “a suspenseful, engrossing novel with the most gripping and violent ending we’ve encountered for some time.”
The Auctioneer By Joan Samson
First Published 1975
The level of creepiness seeps in more and more, page by page.
It is such a uniquely fun experience that speaks to the ingenuity of living on a steadily dwindling farmstead, and using the land to get by, or in this case to read the echoes of Harlowe’s rural inhabitants while smelling the sweet forest that gave us the leaves within the gorgeous book.
And whatever printer printed this Suntup beauty, she smells sooo good (for all my book sniffers out there; you know who you are).
SPOILER ALERT** For The Following Review Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer.
It is not a stretch to compare this book to Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.”
The tale centers on the small family in the small town falling to imminent ruin thanks to a new resident auctioneer.
Percy Dunsmore is the name that Gore, the one-man police department gives to the protagonists in John and Mim Moore, their young daughter, Hildie, and John’s Ma.
Percy is a man with big ideas for a small town on the fringes of the Boston suburbs where the population boom is pushing crime and more vacationers their way.
And his menace is instilled long before the reader ever meets him.
Gore explains that new sheriff deputies are needed – Percy’s idea, John Moore notes – and the auctioneer will be selling off donated goods to the new visiting out-of-towners at a healthy premium to bolster the town.
With a little homely nudging and imploring, Mim and John decide they have something they can do without and give them if it will help.
But every Thursday the demand for goods comes, and the new deputies remark with regret as to the accidents that start befalling any who refuse to give their weekly donation to the auction.
The writing style of Samson is tight and holds a remarkable voice all its own.
What do you do when your most prized possessions are taken out from under you under a tense threat?
What befalls the land, the cows, the children?
The maddening fright of the Moores in their plight, as the town around them is gutted, as they struggle to eat, and plan escape or an effective rebuttal is so realistic and so alarming that it carries a swelling anxiety that dials in on the reader more and more as the story continues.
The pacing is terrific and the suspense leaves you breathless.
And the book is written in a way that it could take place during any time frame in New England, as it represents interesting and intense characters in a small town we may not all be from, but we could all have visited or at least imagine.
The graceful description of the land, the pond, the pines, and the rustic interiors on the Moore’s farm all frame a fully fleshed world full of sounds and smells.
It feels so real.
At the halfway point, it seems anything can happen, any evil can come from the sharp smiling auctioneer for his private gain and any cost could be reaped to do so for the residents of Harlowe.
The madness of action sweeps over John Moore a few times, but he never succeeds in starting anything except a small fire that inspires the town.
The edginess that swallows the reader as his wife and mother wait for the deputies to come for the arsonist soon becomes a panic, as Mim continues to, despite boiling and scrubbing all of his clothes, smell gasoline in their kitchen.
The word that comes to mind as the town summons its inner fury, its Shirley Jackson-like “The Lottery” spirit, is realistic.
Crowd mentality is a real thing and the mayhem that ensues, and especially the wily fox’s getaway while the town lights its own on fire alive is the last thing I expected and quite spectacular.
The closing lines speaking of where the snowflakes fall is poignant and impactful.
Review of Suntup Numbered Limited Edition Of The Auctioneer
Suntup goes far beyond the fine press treatment with the three limited editions of The Auctioneer of which the numbered edition of 250 will be reviewed here.
The original cover art by Wendell Minor is included along with new pieces from the cover artist of Stephen King’s novel Salem’s Lot, Dave Christensen, a forward from Ms. Samson’s widowed husband, Warren C. Carberg, Jr., and a preface by New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter Grady Hendrix.
And what is more, Paul Suntup, Rebecca (Ninja) and their team brought forth three magnificent limited editions in a stunning lettered and a gorgeous artist gift edition (AGE) featuring the brilliant original cover art by Wendell Minor.
As these have yet to ship, I will stick to the numbered edition of Samson’s The Auctioneer and the sheer fun in just holding this copy hits home.
To read of such a small-town American horror story and continually brush against the handmade Indiana Wheatstraw paper boards that are somewhat pebbled and smooth and rough at the same time is remarkable.
The layout, the font setting, the paper, the old-fashioned illustrations that almost seem cut from a wood panel made up of the same art with Grady’s cover art, are all perfect for this great novel.
The heart-wrenching opening from Joan’s widowed husband is moving beyond words.
The careful thought and attention to every detail of this work has once again shown the shine of Suntup Editions.
This is a truly befitting homage and work of art to house such a work of art as was the great Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer.
Chuck Palahniuk: THE INVENTION OF SOUND loudly grips readers in the author’s newest thrilling and genre-defying resonation.
What a premise: A father’s decades-long search for his missing daughter. A young woman about to engineer the perfect scream.
The most dangerous secret Hollywood has ever kept.
It is difficult to describe the complex, yet beautifully scripted story of revenge or redemption, of murder or madness that ensues in the land of Hollywood’s darkest alleys and brightest-lit red carpet premieres in Chuck Palahniuk’s newest novel The Invention Of Sound.
The story is woven together out of many tangled and disjointed threads and unreliable points of view that collectively form as impactful and gutting a tale as Fight Club, Diary, or any of the great stories from Chuck Palahniuk.
This book will floor you and/or make you pass out (likely smiling).
That much is conveyed by the cover’s spattered watermelon.
Once you smash the watermelon, you cannot remake the sound of splatter, or piece back together the fragile fruit once held within.
Once the entire story of The Invention Of Sound is told you cannot unknow or forget the frightening ‘trade knowledge’ and mayhem that sounds so thunderously.
Here is the story synopsis, and the book review continues below:
Published September 8th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing
Gates Foster lost his daughter, Lucy, seventeen years ago. He’s never stopped searching. Suddenly, a shocking new development provides Foster with his first major lead in over a decade, and he may finally be on the verge of discovering the awful truth.
Meanwhile, Mitzi Ives has carved out a space among the Foley artists creating the immersive sounds giving Hollywood films their authenticity. Using the same secret techniques as her father before her, she’s become an industry-leading expert in the sound of violence and horror, creating screams so bone-chilling, they may as well be real.
Soon Foster and Ives find themselves on a collision course that threatens to expose the violence hidden beneath Hollywood’s glamorous façade. A grim and disturbing reflection on the commodification of suffering and the dangerous power of art, THE INVENTION OF SOUND is Chuck Palahniuk at the peak of his literary powers—his most suspenseful, most daring, and most genre-defying work yet.
The following TFF Book review of Chuck Palahniuk’s The Invention Of Sound is Spoiler-free*****.
Few books can grab a reader like this one does, and that grip is at times painful as the pages fly.
The Invention Of Sound is utterly riveting, from start to finish.
One could easily read The Invention Of Sound in a couple of long sittings.
The suspense, perverse humor, pervasion fun for fun-sake (or was it?), and the churlish attitudes and deeds of most of the main characters – from Mitzi’s cult-like obsession to a craft she loves and hates, just as she seems to love and hate herself, to the masochistic lengths a father goes to searching for a daughter gone for nearly two decades (and you cringe just reading of his process) – make for some of the most memorable characters and scenes south of the HOLLYWOOD sign in the Hollywood Hills.
For those squeamish of violence and gore, or equally as unnerving, the life of aging actors, be warned, Mr. Palahniuk pulls no punches and crosses new bounds.
The interwoven twists and mysteries grow clearer and hazier as each additional page goes bye.
And with a wallop the ending does not disappoint as it screams oh so delightfully.