Friday, 8 February 2013



Carmel is the title character and primary subject of Seán Manchester's Gothic horror novel Carmel (published in the year 2000). Some aspects of the character are inspired by a person known to the author in the 1960s, while other aspects of the story are transparently inspired by the case of the Highgate Vampire at which centre the author found himself. The remainder, as intended, is a faithful sequel to Dracula.

In Bram Stoker's novel, Count Dracula's characteristics, powers, abilities and weaknesses are narrated in a piecemeal way by various narrators from different perspectives. The most informative of these narrators are Jonathan Harker, John Seward, and Mina Harker. Likewise, in Carmel the story unfolds through the eyes of different narrators with James Harker and Lord Mamucium being principal among these. Correspondence and newspaper stories, in a style commensurate with Stoker's own, also find inclusion.

"Yet there is much more to Carmel than walking in the eerie footsteps of Stoker’s Dracula," one reviewer observed, "Yes, we are transported into that fearful realm of supernatural evil peculiar to vampires as the author skillfully restores those near-extinct elements from yestercentury, but at the centre is a story painfully real. ... This is a novel and how much is based on reality is less important to the reader than its effect as a vampire tale; for here is a terrifying exploration into the nether world of the undead where the reader is found wandering betwixt Victorian tombstones as the original contagion spreads its venom in 20th century England."

Sylvaine Charlet, another reviewer, commented: "Seán Manchester’s style, imagination and sensibility makes Carmel quite a jewel. Stoker has, at last, a literary heir worthy of writing a sequel.”

Carmel depicted in oils by Seán Manchester. 

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