[TBC: The 15th century ruler of Wallachia would seem to be an unlikely candidate for recognition as a Christian hero. Vlad, known as "the Impaler" for his practice of impaling his enemies (both real and imagined), may have killed hundreds of thousands of people. One historian documented Vlad’s solution to poverty. He invited all the poor and homeless to a banquet, secured the doors to the building, and burnt it down. Yet, in spite of these things, one contemporary author is seeking "Christian hero" status for the man who served as the inspiration for Dracula.]
Was Dracula a Christian Hero?
To fans of the Bram Stoker novel "Dracula" or the dozens of Hollywood adaptations that have followed it, Dracula, the legendary Eastern European vampire, is usually viewed as an enemy of Christianity. But in her new best-selling novel, "The Historian," Elizabeth Kostova offers a surprising look at a Dracula whose choices are often informed by faith. Kostova's Dracula is based partly on the Stoker legend and partly on the 15th century Balkan ruler known as Vlad the Impaler who inspired Stoker's 1897 Dracula tale. Her book tells the story of a father and daughter in search of the real Dracula, taking readers on a journey through contemporary Romania and Bulgaria, Ottoman Turkey, and medieval Christian Europe. Along the way she reveals a great deal about the historical relationship between Christianity and the Dracula legend. Dracula's name, for instance, came from the Order of the Dragon, originally founded to protect Christian Europe from invasion by Muslim Ottomans. In Kostova's book, Dracula helps build monasteries, befriends monks, and ultimately is concerned not with blood or young women, but with his own salvation (Phillips, http://www.beliefnet.com/story/170/story_17084.html).