The Carpathian Assignment
The Carpathian Assignment is a vampire story like no other. It takes place where it all began and with the one vampire with whom it all began. Rich in descriptive detail about place and time, the reader is transported to the Transylvanian city of Bistritz in 1896. Jonathan Harker has not yet come visiting, but he’ll arrive about the middle of the story. You see, this is the back story of Bram Stoker’s tale, told from the point of view of the people who lived in the mountains, towns and farmlands near the ancient castle of Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia and Count of Transylvania.
Have you ever wondered how Count Dracula managed to survive in Transylvania for nearly four centuries before he met his end at sunset, on a mountain road in the Carpathians? Did you want to know more about the three wives who lived with the Count all those centuries? Did it seem incredible that Jonathan Harker’s friends could manage to kill the most ancient and dangerous vampire and sorcerer in the world without any local help? Bram Stoker’s masterpiece left many questions that The Carpathian Assignment will answer. Aficionados of Balkan vampire mythology and newcomers alike will revel in the detailed and historically based pages of this novel.
Located in the remote province of Transylvania in late nineteenth-century Hungary, Bistritz is a quaint provincial city nestled in the Carpathian mountains and forests. For one looking forward to a quiet retirement, the pretty Baroque town seems ideal. Such are the thoughts of Kálváry Istvan, a recently widowed and retired cavalry colonel as he arrives to take up his last assignment as Chief of Police in the Spring of 1896.
Istvan’s expectations are dashed almost immediately upon his arrival. He learns his predecessor’s sudden and unexplained disappearance, along with his wife, was the reason for his appointment. The authorities in Budapest also neglected to mention a manhunt underway in the district lead by Gábor Kasza, a brilliant young investigator from the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie. Kasza’s superiors suspect a serial killer haunts the streets of Bistritz and the surrounding Carpathian farms and villages.
Applying the latest methods of detection in the new field of scientific, deductive reasoning, and psychiatry, Istvan and Kasza suspect the Roma, a persecuted minority making their home in a hidden village in the thick forests of the Carpathian Mountains. While investigating the strange activities of the Roma, the detectives find that the isolated mountain people of the Carpathians have a different explanation for the killings. They point to the abandoned, ancient castle towering over the Borgo Pass. And they fearfully whisper a name: Dracula.