Ravaged by the Nazi Secret Service during World War II, Romanian resistance forces turn to one of their leaders, Professor Van Helsing for any way out. To fight these monstrous forces, Van Helsing raises a legendary monster from centuries of slumber: Prince Dracula himself.

Once he was the ruler of Transylvania. Prince Vlad Dracul, is, above all else, a patriot. He proves more than willing to once again drive out his country’s invaders. Upshot: No one minds if he drinks all the German blood he desires.

In Berlin, when Hitler hears about the many defeats his forces are suffering at the hands of an apparent true vampire, he is seduced by the possibility of becoming immortal. Thus two forces are set upon a collision course, the ultimate confrontation: Superpower against superpower.

There is something truly exceptional about this book. It is incredibly entertaining and well written but transcends most other reading experiences because just the sight of it in one’s hands can provoke conversation with a complete stranger.

The title immediately inspires epic comparisons to the likes of Godzilla Vs Mothra, and Hulk Hogan Vs Andre the Giant. There is that sense that two behemoths are about to face off and the winner may rule mankind for the rest of existence. It’s a guilty pleasure of brutality and fantasy and I was hooked from the moment I saw it. The bright blood red cover emblazoned with the words Dracula Vs. Hitler would not only grab your attention on a crowded shelf but might be enough to tear you away from Ozzy Osbourne live onstage tearing the head off a small animal. There have been a number of occasions where I’ve been reading it in a public place and passers-by seem unable to catch a glimpse and not stop and do a double take to confirm what they just saw. My reading was continually interrupted by random people asking me ‘are you serious’ and ‘is that for real’ to the point I had to begin only taking it out in private to get a good head of steam going.

The story is told in that epistolary style through a mixture of excerpts from fictional books that cover the history of the Van Helsing family, correspondence between German high officials and Hitler, and the diary entries of our young protagonist John. This seems to be quite popular at the moment with Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nueval and The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff being other excellent examples and like the found footage style of film making, gives the reader an alternative entry point into the world. Unlike the aforementioned books though Dracula vs. Hitler gets away with a little cheating, as the book excerpts tend to mirror the more traditional style, which should provide a nice smooth transition for those that are not used to reading this style and those that have read it before but dismissed it due to its semi-detached nature.

Our protagonist is a young soldier named John. He is relatable and his humour infectious as he fights to deal with the realities of war whilst absorbing and surviving the utter craziness of the violent fairy tale taking place before him. He is intelligent, earnest, and at times brave but always human making him a complete fish out of water in this world of almost superheroes, dictators with aspirations of world domination and well Dracula. His respect for Van Helsing Senior, his lust for Van Helsing Junior and his distrust and jealousy for Dracula are all explored and woven through the missions they undertake. Duncan gets maximum use out of all of it by using the various POVs to show the differences between the way each character is seeing the ridiculousness or importance of their situations.

A vampire tale would not be complete without a little romance and naturally he gets the hots for the young Miss Van Helsing whose daring escapades can’t help but increase her desirability. But dear reader what is better than forbidden fruit and what is more forbidden to the daughter of THE Van Helsing than the old ancient blood sucker himself. This element of the story provides a great deal of lightness and humour that gives the entire book a fantastic balance.

Dracula Vs. Hitler winds up being quite a builder in terms of tension, pace and energy. It takes a little time (but not too much) for Drac to find his way into the world as the resistance could really use someone with increased speed, strength and a certain level of invulnerability to add some bite to their guerrilla style combat. From there reports find their way up the chain of the German command and back to the Fuhrer whose curiosity for the occult demands his involvement. I’d have liked dear Adolf to make an appearance a bit earlier, but by the time he came along I was well and truly hooked and ready for a big showdown. Duncan does not disappoint. The battle scenes are excellently written and definitely provide the visual flavour that books written in this style sometime need.

Called “A magnificent, flawless, delightful mash up of historical fiction and gothic horror” by Will Wheaton, it really is great fun particularly for fans of pulpy WW2 style combat. Rarely do find yourself cheering on the Prince of Darkness, but because he is up against the world’s greatest villain/piece of crap it is not only a foregone conclusion whose team the reader will be on but also enough to get some Team Drac hats printed off. Dracula Vs. Hitler is a custom written thrill ride for those that like a classic bloodbath with a twist.


By Charlie Hopkins

Charlie is an Aussie living in LA who has been reading fantasy and science fiction since he was a boy. David Gemmell, Raymond E. Feist, Stephen King and Issac Asimov were his toys and he has been enjoying discovering new authors ever since he could go to the library. He collects 1st editions and signed copies of his favourite books, has an awesome Chihuahua called Hot Sauce and can be found on Twitter as @areadingmachine. Mark Lawrence, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, GRRM, Brian Staveley and Ernie Cline are among his favourite authors with Red Rising by Pierce Brown being his standout/must read/you'reanidiotifyoudont book so far of 2014. Charlie is a recent addition to the Fantasy-Faction family and also posts reviews, personal thoughts and blogs about giveaways, special editions and more at www.areadingmachine.com.

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