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.
Beneath the sands of the Egyptian desert lies treasure beyond imagining. And when a professor of archaeology finds clues to the location of a Pharaoh’s lost tomb in ancient hieroglyphs, he hatches a plan to find the burial site – and plunder it.
But can a five-man team of smugglers and thieves uncover what the centuries have hidden? And even if they find it, can they escape with it…and with their lives?
The following TFF book review of John Lange’s Easy Go is Spoiler-free*****.
Would they pull off the largest archeological heist in history? Can a five-man team of smugglers and thieves uncover what centuries have hidden?
And even if they find it, can they smuggle it…and escape with their lives?
Easy Go is an adventure novel about a small group of thieves who find information about the hiding place of the last tomb of the Pharaohs, secretly excavate the tomb, and make plans to escape with the treasure from Egypt.
The story of this heist, told with humor, is reminiscent of an Oceans Eleven scheme.
This read is among Crichton’s earlier works, and this novel is not a masterpiece but it is a fun, quick, worthwhile read.
Critics argue it suffers from a number of flaws both in terms of character development and in terms of the plot. However, keeping in mind this was written in a medical student’s free time, the story flows well and the discovery of the tombs is quite compelling.
Easy Go was Crichton’s third published novel while he was enrolled at Harvard Medical School in 1968 as John Lange.
The Andromeda Strain was released the previous year and published under his real name. Before abandoning the practice in 1972, while writing The Terminal Man, Michael Crichton actually published 10 of his first 11 titles under pseudonyms such as John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. While two of those titles were eventually republished under his own name, the rest were abandoned to the dusty shelves of used bookstores around the world, becoming collectibles for those who knew what to look for.
Ultimately, it’s not going to make you forget the likes of Jurassic Park or State of Fear, nevertheless Easy Go is an amusing little adventure that offers some compelling glimpses of the Crichton we’ve come to appreciate.
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.
“Artemis Fowl is a great place to get lost into another world” Book Review Contains **SPOILERS.
Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer is the first in a line of an action-packed, technology-meets-fantasy best-selling children series of books. The protagonist Artemis – a charming twelve-year-old millionaire criminal mastermind – takes on the race of fairies to steal their gold.
Although criminalistic, Artemis’ intentions are to support his family during a stressful time.
His father’s similar unlawful schemes have encouraged a kidnapping that has estranged Artemis’ mother to a downward spiral of mental illness and plummeted the family finances.
Driven by power and money, Artemis is a devious and often cruel antihero, but there’s definitely good in there . . . somewhere.
Here is the story synopsis, and the review continues below it.
Published April 1st 2003 by Disney-Hyperion (first published April 26th 2001)
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.
An all-star cast of characters include the massive Eurasian bodyguard, Butler, the dedicated fairy detective, Holly Short, the irate fairy captain, Commander Julius Root, the technological centaur wizard, Foaly, and a charming dwarf thief, Mulch.
Recently, Artemis Fowl was adapted to a movie and released on Disney Plus. If you didn’t enjoy the recent debut, I encourage you to read the novel.
As with most book-to-film adaptations, the book was so much richer.
Furthermore, I whole-heartedly encourage you to read the Artemis Fowl graphic novel, drawn by Andrew Donkin.
Not only a unique rarity amongst book-to-graphic novel adaptations, this particular media allows the reader to see the characters as Eion Colfer envisioned. This adaptation is a fantastic place to step into the Fowl universe.
As for the Fowl series, these nine novels all take on creative challenges and allow Colfer to fully fledge out his characters.
Our irresistible anti-hero begins to thaw that frozen heart and becomes quite the noble hero – one that bridges and protects two divided worlds.
Wit, charm, action, and plot-twists are common themes across volumes.
A hit among children and tweens, these novels often catch the interest and engage older adult fantasy fans – often in the form of parents (but don’t let that stop you).
All in all, Artemis Fowl is an engaging and enjoyable read.
Whether you are a fantasy fiction lover or simply dipping in for the first time, Eion Colfer’s Artemis Fowl – in any format – is a great place to get lost into another world.
The Andromeda Evolution: Crichton’s Andromeda Strain sequel, terrifying sequel, has arrived as Daniel H. Wilson finished the late author’s manuscript with the support of the Michael Crichton’s family.
And this begs the question: just how many more Michael Crichton unfinished manuscripts are waiting to be finished in future collaborations?
Wilson, a robotics engineer, is best known for his use of literary wit and technology and is most famous for his ridiculous thriller “Robopcalypse,” so he was an apt choice for collaborating on the late author Chrighton’s sequel to his pandemic-driven novel.
The following review will contain **SPOILERS** for both The Andromeda Strain and The Andromeda Evolution.
The Andromeda Strain, as millions of fans know, describes the panicked efforts to stop the spread of an alien microparticle that first instantly coagulates human blood or induces the harrowing suicide of dozens to only then mutate to dissolve plastics in the upper atmosphere.
Here is the story synopsis, and the review continues below it.
In 1967, an extraterrestrial microbe came crashing down to Earth and nearly ended the human race. Accidental exposure to the particle—designated The Andromeda Strain—killed every resident of the town of Piedmont, Arizona, save for an elderly man and an infant boy. Over the next five days, a team of top scientists assigned to Project Wildfire worked valiantly to save the world from an epidemic of unimaginable proportions. In the moments before a catastrophic nuclear detonation, they succeeded.
In the ensuing decades, research on the microparticle continued. And the world thought it was safe…
Deep inside Fairchild Air Force Base, Project Eternal Vigilance has continued to watch and wait for the Andromeda Strain to reappear. On the verge of being shut down, the project has registered no activity—until now. A Brazilian terrain-mapping drone has detected a bizarre anomaly of otherworldly matter in the middle of the jungle, and, worse yet, the tell-tale chemical signature of the deadly microparticle.
Project Wildfire is activated, and a diverse team of experts hailing from all over the world is dispatched to investigate the potentially apocalyptic threat. If the Wildfire team can’t reach the quarantine zone, enter the anomaly, and figure out how to stop it, this new Andromeda Evolution will annihilate all life as we know it.
Fifty years later, a mutated strain has dropped in Earth’s atmosphere while a special team of observers maintain Project Eternal Vigilance.
When The Andromeda Evolution opens, a drone spots a metallic-looking shape growing up out of the Amazon jungle, “the whole of it gleaming like a beetle’s waxy shell in the rising midday sun.”
Situated along the equator, this giant structure is located far from any development, deep in an area inhabited only by tribes who have never made contact with modern civilization.
Mass spectrometry data taken by military satellites indicates that the quickly swelling mutation is “an almost exact match to the Andromeda strain.”
A nuclear strike is debated but considered too problematic to be enacted as a “solution.”
A nuclear explosion would feed the anomaly that lives off energy…provoking the declaration:
“We are facing an unknown enemy who is staging an attack over the gulf of a hundred-thousand years and across our solar system and likely the cosmos.
“This is war.”
Humanity’s hope falls on Project Wildfire’s shoulders.
Consisting of a few scientists, the elite Wildfire team tries to keep the planet from being infected while persisting through the perilous jungle landscape that they find they are dangerously ill-equipped to face.
The jungle proves to be an ominous setting with death and misery lurking around every suspenseful corner. Wilson’s background in robotics is illustrated throughout the novel as technological gizmos play a crucial role in the plot.
Crichton would be proud of the culminated novel. His typical style of literary pacing is amplified in this suspenseful rollercoaster – an exponential increase of suspense carries through until the novel’s conclusion.
Near future technology and innovation are present and most appreciating to read.
The Andromeda Evolution is a must-read sequel for The Andromeda Strain fans and the science fiction community.