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Authors: C.C. Humphreys

Vlad

BOOK: Vlad
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DRACULA.
A name of horror, depravity, and the darkest sensuality.

Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his story not of a monster but of a man…and a contradiction. For the one they called “The Devil’s Son” was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer.

His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and whom he has to sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes—“The Impaler.”

But Vlad’s actions defy such labels. His extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph, and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade—there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his innumerable sins.

Copyright

Copyright © 2009, 2011 by C.C. Humphreys

Cover design © Orion Publishing Group Limited

Internal design © 2011 by Sourcebooks, Inc.

Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious and used fictitiously. Apart from well-known historical figures, any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410

(630) 961-3900

Fax: (630) 961-2168

www.sourcebooks.com

Originally published in London in 2009 by Orion Books.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Humphreys, C. C. (Chris C.)

Vlad : the last confession / C.C. Humphreys.

p. cm.

“Originally published in London in 2009 by Orion Books”—T.p. verso.

Includes bibliographical references.

1. Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, 1430 or 31-1476 or 7—Fiction. 2. Wallachia—Kings and rulers—Fiction. 3. Wallachia—History—Fiction. I. Title.

PR9199.4.H85V53 2011

813’.6—dc22

2010050908

To Alma Lee, lady of letters, adviser and inspiration.
In memory of Kate Jones, the very best of literary agents, and of friends. Sorely missed.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

THE DRACULESTI

Vlad Dracul—“The Dragon”

The Dragon’s Sons:

Mircea Dracula

Vlad Dracula

Radu Dracula

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

THE WITNESSES

Ion Tremblac

Ilona Ferenc

Brother Vasilie, the Hermit

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

HEARING THE LAST CONFESSION

Petru Iordache, Spatar of Poenari Castle

Janos Horvathy, Count of Pecs

Cardinal Domenico Grimani, Papal Legate

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

AT THE TURKISH COURT

Hamza agha, later Hamza pasha

Murad Han, Sultan of Rum

His son, Mehmet Celebi, soon to be “Fatih” or “The Conqueror”

Abdulraschid, his favorite

Hibah, mistress of concubines

Tarub, maid

Abdulkarim, or Sweyn the Swede, janissary

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

THE HOSTAGES AT EDIRNE

The Mardic Brothers, Serbian

Constantin, Bosnian

Zoran, Croatian

Petre, Transylvanian

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

AT TOKAT

Abdul-Mahir, torturer

Wadi, torturer

Samuil, the Christian martyr

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

THE WALLACHIAN BOYARS

Albu “cel Mare” (“The Great”)

Udriste

Codrea, vornic (judge)

Turcul

Gales

Buriu, spatar, commander of cavalry

Dobrita

Cazan, Dracul’s logofat, or chancellor

The Metropolitan, head of the Orthodox Church in Wallachia

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

DRACULA’S VITESJI

Black Ilie

Laughing Gregor

Stoica the Silent

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PRETENDERS TO THE WALLACHIAN THRONE

Vladislav Dan

Basarab Laiota

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OTHERS

Matthew Corvinus, “the Crow,” King of Hungary

Brother Vasilie, Vlad’s confessor

Thomas Catavolinos, Ambassador

Abdulmunsif, Ambassador

Abdulaziz, Ambassador

Mihailoglu Ali Bey, Radu’s army commander

Jan Jiskra, Corvinus’s mercenary commander

Elisabeta, Dracula’s first wife

Vlad, Dracula’s son

Ilona Szilagy, Dracula’s second wife

Janos Varency, thief-taker

Roman, Moldavian

Old Kristo, gatekeeper

Hekim Yakub, physician

TO THE READER…
 

In the bitter winter of 1431, in the town of Sighisoara, a second son was born to Vlad Dracul, Voivode (or Warlord) of Transylvania. He was christened Vlad and, like his elder brother, was given the surname Dracul-
a
—Son of Dracul.

In the “limba Romana” that they spoke “Dracul” meant “the Dragon.” Or “the Devil.” So Vlad Dracula was the Devil’s Son.

He acquired other titles in his life. Voivode of Ungro-Wallachia. Lord of Amlas and Fagaras. Brother of the secret “fraternatis draconem”—the Order of the Dragon. His own people called him Vlad Tepes. His Turkish enemies called him Kaziklu Bey. Both meant—The Impaler.

The land he won and lost and ruled was Wallachia, the central province of present-day Romania. Caught between the expanding Hungarian Kingdom and the all-conquering Turks, between the Crescent and the Cross, Wallachian princes were expected to be the dutiful vassal of one or the other.

Dracula had different ideas. Different ways of executing them.

Finally killed in battle in 1476, his head was chopped off and sent as a gift to his most bitter foe, Mehmet, Sultan of the Turks. It was mounted upon a stake on the walls of Constantinople. There it rotted.

A few mourned him; most did not.

I make no judgement. I leave that to those who heard his last confession—and, of course, to you, the Reader.

I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me.

Terence

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