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The Bargain

Novel by Jon Ruddy 1990.

"A Knightsbridge book set in Easy Eye type for more comfortable reading" doesn't promise much in the way of quality. Surprisingly, however, this isn't as bad as could be expected. The bargain of the title is an agreement between Count Dracula and the people of the small village of Arefu, Romania, situated just below the remains of his ruined castle. Basically it stipulates that each party leaves the other alone - live and let live and all that. This bargain gets a bit uneasy during World War II however, where the various plot strands alternate between the German quest to take Russia via Romania, Dr Ferdinand Bibescu's quest to locate the source of vampirism, and Dracula's quest to turn an increasing number of highly ranked German officers into vampires.

To give him credit, Jon Ruddy has crafted some wonderful scenes contrasting blatant crudity with elegant subtlety, but this doesn't go far towards countering the annoying kiddie talk section, the ludicrous verses from a supposed Romanian folk song and the pointless finale where the recognised history of a certain German bunker gets rewritten. Interesting but ultimately unsatisfying.


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