Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Dracula Chronicles: Bound by Blood by Shane K. P. O'Neill

The Dracula Chronicles: Bound by Blood
(Volumes 1 and 2)
by Shane K. P. O'Neill

The Dracula Chronicles: Bound by Blood was released on 1 December 2012. This is actually the third book in The Dracula Chronicles series, and it is published in two volumes. Books 1 and 2, The Gates of Babylon and Descent to Darkness, are yet to be released. Books 4 to 8 are also in the works.
Look out for my previous blog post about the Prequel to this series, The Dracula Chronicles: Birth of the Monster. Please note that this series is adult fiction. The series is historical and set in a brutal age, and is therefore quite brutal in parts. It also has a fair amount of erotica content.

Below, you can read an excerpt from the book, an interview with the author, and enter the giveaway. Shane has been kind enough to donate two Kindle Edition copies of the book as well as five book marks to seven lucky winners. Best of luck!

The Dracula Chronicles is the brilliant and terrifying new concept of Dracula. It is an epic journey through the ages where the forces of Light and Darkness struggle for supremacy until the Second Great War, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. This bitter feud began after the creation of mankind. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.
On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil. He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers. These chronicles are their story.

Book Trailer

Excerpt  (WARNING - Contains material suitable for Adults Only.)
Chapter 14 - November, 1494. Dracula’s oldest living enemy, Vintila Florescu, sits alone at home awaiting death. His son and heir, Victor, has been murdered and his head sent to him in a box.
The men paused to reflect on their conversation.  Florescu had heard enough.  He stepped away from the window and sat down in his chair.  It was the most plausible explanation for what had happened.  But to murder his son and then send him his head?  That was personal and indicated a real grudge.  Could his nephew dislike him that much?  It gave him plenty to ponder. 
He gazed at Victor’s head where it had spent the last four days on the table in front of him.  His tears had long dried up now.  They would do Victor no good.  He was a broken man.  If Death were to call, he would be welcomed.  He sighed hard and then, drinking the last of the wine in his cup, he drifted off to sleep.
His dreams took him back to another time.  He was much younger then.  Dead bodies littered the streets from the fighting.  Smoke hung over the city from the buildings that burned in the aftermath.
A woman stood naked at the gallows.  A rope hung around her neck.  He grinned at her, though she did not seem afraid.  Even then as her moment of death was upon her she showed only strength.  She stared at him, her eyes full of hate.  He hated her as much, but secretly admired her resolve.
Her face remained engrained there in his mind.  He pushed her down naked on her bed.  The bed she had only ever shared with her husband.  He forced her to watch in the mirror, as he took her from behind.  Holding her by the hair their eyes met in the glass.  The first silent exchange of hatred passed between them.
He then sat in a chair.  One after another his men took turns with her while he watched.  He loved every one of her cries though she fought hard to stifle them.  Pound the Draculesti whore his men encouraged each other.  One at a time they did.
Her face remained there.  Purple and swollen it turned as the rope tightened around her neck.  Her legs dangled free, kicking aimlessly against the cold night breeze.  A tongue black and swollen protruded from her mouth.  Her eyes bulged as the noose slowly choked the life out of her.  Yet still they burned into his.
He turned his focus on a man much younger than he.  A son crushed by the image of his mother dangling from a rope.  One who had already brought himself much honour on the battlefield.  Battered and bruised, he looked up defiantly.  On his knees he cursed them, each and every one.
Florescu looked down at the hot coals nearby.  He picked out an iron, its metal red and glowing.  A thousand sparks flew against the darkness when he blew on its tip.  The young man eyed it with fear.  He struggled against those who held him down.  It did him no good.
He pressed the hot iron against soft flesh.  A loud hiss followed by the most horrible scream.  Then silence as the molten iron ate through all in its wake.  Flesh and bone melted into one.  He saw a blinded convulsing body thrown down into an open grave.  It was an image he could not escape.


"There is a reason why all things are as they are." - Bram Stoker, Dracula
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, of the House of Drăculești, becomes a pawn in the age-old battle between good and evil. In his attempt to return to Heaven and dethrone God, the fallen angel Lucifer sets his plans into motion. He grants Vlad immortal life as a vampire and commands the Voivode of Wallachia to wage war against the Catholic Church no matter what the cost.
Author Shane KP O'Neill blends facts, folklore and myth and goes beyond them in creating a darker and more plausible account of the Dracula legend.
Spanning centuries, this outstanding debut is rich in detail. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Vlad Dracula schemes his way and manipulates well-known historical figures in his attempt to bring down the Catholic religion. Niccolo Machiavelli, the Borgias, Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn are some of history's famous men and woman whom Dracula befriends and wittingly destroys.
This novel is not for the faint of heart so be forewarned. Although the language is very graphic and there are some sexual situations that may shock some readers, they are necessary to the plot. This is a tale of darkness after all yet there is also hope and goodness among its pages as well.
Overall, this was an engrossing and entertaining book that will delight readers who love historical fiction, vampires or a combination of both. I was impressed by its scope and I highly recommend it. Moreover, I look forward to reading the next chronicles.

Interview with the Author

Hi Shane, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book The Dracula Chronicles: Bound by Blood.

Which writers have influenced you the most?
When I was younger, in my teens, my friends and I would pass around any horror novels we could get our hands on.  Therefore, my earliest influences would have been Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Robert McCammon, James Herbert and Shaun Hutson.  I have widely expanded the amount of and genres of books I read, but it is those above-mentioned writers who influenced me the most.

What age group do you recommend your book for?
I would recommend my books for an audience of 18+.  The back cover on my books specifies this too.  My stories are set in a brutal age and therefore many of the scenes in the books are equally as brutal.  There is also a high erotica content and I would not want my teenage daughters reading it, not yet anyway.

What sparked the idea for this book?
I have had a long-standing love affair with Dracula and have always wanted to create something new with him.  Dracula is one of the best-known names in the modern culture of the western world, but despite this I have wanted to take him one step further.  The idea for my series has been with me a very long time and evolved as I wrote.  I wanted to write about Dracula the man and Dracula the vampire and built a premise where I could accommodate the two.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In Bound By Blood the premise comes first, but this is Book 3 I am beginning the series with.  If we were talking about Book 1, The Gates Of Babylon, Dracula’s story would come first.

What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It would probably be building the real historical characters, of which there are many, and blending them into the premise of the book.

How to you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it will make people say, “Wow,” and leave them compelled to talk about it to others.  There is so much between the covers that I hope it leaves readers dying to read the next one.

How long did it take you to write this book?
When I sat down to write it properly, it took me about seven months.  But saying that, the very first chapters or the first drafts of those chapters were written twenty years ago.

What is your writing routine?
I do not have any specific routine.  I can write at home, on a train or on a flight.  If I am in the mood to write I will write, no matter where I am.  When I am at home, I will go up to the tower with my laptop, look out over the valley, put on some music (usually hard rock/heavy metal) and off I go.

How did you get your book published?
I originally followed the traditional route and had a couple of offers, but I always wanted to go my own way and do it alone.  Because my series is eight books, I could not risk the acceptance of an offer on one book affecting the future of the rest.  Therefore, I needed to maintain full control of my project.  But, in doing that, I have deliberately taken many years with the project to ensure my books were polished and as good as they could be, and to know the industry the best I can.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Always believe in yourself and always be professional.  Make sure your work is as good as it can be before you query agents/publishers and especially so if you self-publish.  And remember, that not everyone will like your book, no matter how good it is.  Accept it.  Everyone has a right to his/her opinion and none of us have a divine right to expect everyone to love what we create.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Most of all I like to spend time with my family, whatever we do.  I like to read, cook and watch sports.  These days I have very little time for any of these pursuits as my book promotion can be quite demanding.

What does your family think of your writing?
They love it.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I do not have too many fond memories, but loved growing up in rural Ireland.

Did you enjoy school?
Yes and no.  I was quite small when I was a kid and bullied a lot.  But the education I received in Ireland was absolutely fantastic.  We were blessed there with a multitude of brilliant teachers and with many of them, I hung on their every word.

Did you like reading?
Yes.  I love to read.  Even with a pretty intense book promotion I still set aside time to read.  And now that I am using my Kindle properly, I have a nice catalogue of new books lined up to get my teeth into.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember.  I was always writing stories and poems and very long-winded essays at school when I was as young as eight years old.  There was always a writer in me, and now I am sharing it with all of you.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I would not say so.  Most of what I write is set in Renaissance Europe and post-Renaissance Europe.  But with Book 6 of my series, Reckoning Day, I have set it in the area where I grew up. 

What is your favorite book?
Strumpet City by James Plunkett.  It is a book that depicts the poverty in Dublin, Ireland in 1913 during the strike back then.

Who are your favorite authors?
Almost all my favourites have come from the horror genre.  These would be the likes of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Shaun Hutson and Robert McCammon.  In recent years I have read lots of books by James Patterson, Carlos Luis Zafon, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman and Jeffrey Archer.  All are great writers.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
There will be many more books from The Dracula Chronicles series.  I also intend to release a series of horror shorts called Tales Of The Black Sabbath.  I hope to bring out an anthology of these later next year, probably with variations in the endings.

Shane, thanks so much for visiting and talking about your books. The series sounds fascinating, and I think we'll be hearing a lot more about you in the future. Best of luck with your writing career and thanks for donating your gifts to our giveaway.