Today for A Glimpse Back in Time I'm going to be talking about the real life man who was the inspiration for a gothic horror novel and this upcoming YA release! Can you guess what I'm going to be talking about today?
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And I Darken by Kiersten White
The Conqueror's Saga #1
And I Darken, I think, is pitched as fantasy, but it is definitely not! It's historical fiction through and through! This novel is a gender bent reimagining of the story of Vlad the Impaler, who was the real life inspiration for Dracula.
When researching Vlad, I was surprised to see how this book follows his story so well! It really makes me excited for the rest of this series, especially if it keeps following the history! I would love to see Lada follow in the footsteps of Vlad, it would be incredibly interesting.
***If you're not big on violence, I wouldn't read this post.***
My review of this book will be posting on the 26th!
Vlad III was a 15th century prince of Wallachia, which is now a part of Romania. He was often referred to as Dracula, meaning son of Dracul in Latin, after His father became a member of the Order of the Dragon and took the name Dracul. Vlad himself was initiated as a member at age 5.
Vlad's father became the voivode or prince of Wallachia in 1436. He was removed from power several years later. In order to get his throne back, he betrayed the Order of the Dragon (whose purpose was to protect Western civilization from the Ottoman threat) and allied himself with the Ottoman Empire. To prove his loyalty to the sultan, he sent his two sons, Vlad III and Radu, to him as hostages.
While Radu eventually found the Ottoman empire to be home and converted to Islam, Vlad hated the Ottomans. He was generally angry at everyone, fighting with his trainers and tutors, and became a huge problem. His bad attitude earned him plenty of beatings and imprisonment, which just helped to solidify his hatred of the Ottoman Empire.
He was released from his imprisonment after promising to behave himself and went on to learn multiple languages, how to ride horses, and how to use weapons. Why they wanted to teach a hostage who hated them so badly such things is a mystery to me.
In 1447, Vlad's father and older brother were killed when the Hungarians, led by John Hunyadi, took the Wallachian throne. The Ottomans marched to Wallachia and put Vlad on the throne. His rule didn't last very long before Hunyadi returned to take the throne again.
Vlad fled to Moldavia to live with his uncle until he was killed. After that he decided to go to the Hungarians for help. They were impressed by his knowledge of the inner workings of the Ottoman Empire and by his intense hatred for the new sultan, Mehmed II. They backed him when he went to reclaim the Wallachian throne again.
War had left Wallachia in a very poor condition. Crime was everywhere, crops were failing, and there was no trade. He enacted new laws with severe punishments if they weren't followed. His preferred method of punishment was impalement, but he implemented many many other methods of torture to kill his enemies. During Vlad's rule there was very little crime because the punishment for pretty much any offense was death.
There was also not very much poverty during his rule because at one point he was disappointed by the number of poor and sick that he saw so he invited them all to a feast and then boarded up the hall and burnt it down.
Vlad turned impalement into a form of art. In impalement, the stake is generally inserted in through the bottom and out through the mouth, avoiding vital organs in order to prolong suffering. He would occasionally change up how and where the stake went in, sometimes impaling people upside down or going in through parts other than the bottom. He even would impale stakes through mothers and infants together through the chest. Sometimes he would impale thousands at a time, creating forests of impaled corpses. Sometimes he would even arrange the stakes into patterns. The height of the stake was based on the rank of the victim.
A new crusade was called against the Ottomans in 1459, but no one was enthusiastic about another expensive, tiring war. Vlad, always seeming to have an unquenchable thirst for blood, provoked the war by killing envoys sent by the sultan to discuss a tax he was meant to pay to the Ottomans on non-Muslims. The envoys refused to remove their turbans in his presence so he had them nailed to their heads. A force was promptly sent to deal with Vlad, but he dispatched everyone.
When Vlad began carrying out raids in 1462, the sultan sent 90,000 troops to take care of him. Vlad was outnumbered by more than 2 to 1. He couldn't defeat the sultan's forces by traditional means so he used tactics such as poisoning water sources, creating swamps that had to be crossed, and sending people suffering from diseases such as leprosy to go mingle with the enemy and spread it.
Despite all of his tactics, he couldn't get the sultan to stop his advance to the capital city of Wallachia. But when the sultan finally approached the city, he found it deserted with the road lined with the impaled bodies of 20,000 Turks and Muslim Bulgarians. He was horrified and went home, leaving his subordinates (including Vlad's brother, Radu) in charge.
Shortly after, Vlad ran out of money for the war and went to the Hungarian king for more and ended up being imprisoned on false charges. When he was finally released several years later, he made his final attempt to reclaim the throne of Wallachia and was killed in battle.
Have you read And I Darken? Did you know how awful this guy was? I had heard of him, but never knew just how sick he was! What do you think of old Vlad the Impaler?