Jeanne Kalogridis


Here’s our boy, Vlad III of Wallachia (a country that now makes up the southern portion of Romania). He is considered a national hero by Romanians, as a Chrstian prince who bravely fought against the Turks despite heavy odds against him. His father was often referred to as Dracul, “the Dragon,” and in Romanian, the ending “—a” means “son of.” Hence, Vlad III was often referred to as Dracula. The dragon seal used by Vlad served as inspiration for the cover of the first book in the DIARIES OF THE FAMILY DRACUL trilogy, COVENANT WITH THE VAMPIRE.





Despite his bravery on the battlefield, Vlad had a few notable habits. Most likely he was a bona fide sadist: he loved to execute his enemies by impaling them on tall stakes, a little trick he picked up from the Turks. The tip of the oiled stake was inserted into the victim’s anus, and the body’s own weight caused the stake to slowly penetrate upwards – sometimes until it protruded from the victim’s throat.

Vlad created entire “forests of the impaled,” where corpses were left to rot as warning to his would-be foes. Rumor has it he enjoyed eating his supper while watching the gruesome executions, and that he sometimes dipped his bread in the blood of his dying victims.





Did Bram Stoker (an Irish newspaperman) research Vlad Dracula and model his fictional character after the real-life sadist? Heavens, no! He apparently came across the name and glommed onto it as an “authentic Transylvanian” surname, but that’s as far as it goes. Ironically, Vlad was not from Transylvania… although he did maintain a northern fortress in the steep mountains there.