Thursday, May 16, 2013
Countess Dracula by Tony Thorne
It has been awhile, but I've started writing the second YA novel based on Erzebet, and reading the above book about her life. This is the best researched book yet, even more so than Infamous Lady. Thorne is careful in explaining the history of the region, historical era, and Bathory family. He points out that the various forms of the languages spoken in Erzebet's time are often innaccurately translated. For example, articles denoting gender can be feminine or masculine. Also, he point out that virtually none of the servants personally implicated Erzebet. Only Fisczko, whose name itself has several meanings, mentions "the mistress" towards the end of his interrogation. Throne reiterates the accusations and allusions made under torture, and gives a better picture of who the feckless servants involved were. He debunks myths about Erzebet, and points out inccuracies and exaggerations in McNally's books and in romanticized horror novels about her, mostly written during the 19th century. Throne observes that for all her alleged fraternization with the servants, Erzebet, as an upper class woman, did not speak or understand their dialect. How likely would it be that she would be wallowing in their pastimes? He also points out more grudges and motives her accusers would have had against her. Thorne does not attempt to whitewash The Countess, but he is fair and well reasoned. I don't know yet if he is a lawyer, but he would make a good defense attorney. Also, the case as he describes it against her reminded me very much of the McMartin Preschool cases. It is great reading, overall. I've also spotted a book called Bad Girls in which the usual fictionalized bio of Erzebet appears.