Eppie 2004 WinnerDance With The Dragon

Dance with the Dragon by E. F. Watkins

ISBN: 1-59279-052-6 (Electronic)
ISBN: 1-59279-933 -7 (Paperback)
Cover by Trace Edward Zaber
Copyright © 2002

Background on the novel

No longer available through Amber Quill Press


Peggy Walsh, the teenaged daughter of Senator Dan Walsh, is kidnapped into a dangerous cult, the Church of Eternal Life. When the FBI tries to get her back and fails, the senator accepts help from super-psychic Dr. Armand Renascut. Renascut warns him that cult leader Stephen Farkas may possess real supernatural powers—that he and some of his followers may at least "believe" they are vampires—and that they can be defeated only by special weapons.

Although Walsh learns that Renascut was dismissed from a top-secret Pentagon program because of bogus credentials, he still hopes the mysterious psychic can help him mount another assault on the CEL compound and rescue Peggy. But can Renascut be trusted? Who is he, really, and just how much does he have in common with the cruel Farkas? Only one person knows—Kat Van Braam, Renascut's beautiful partner, who is risking her life daily to keep him "on the side of the angels." 

What Reviewers Are Saying

"4 Daggers!... I love this book. It introduces a whole new perspective on 'The Undead.' I want a prequel...and I want more books written about this couple, and I want a miracle with the last one, however many books that is down the line."
—Goldie Williams, All About Murder

"...A gripping, graphic modern-day vampire story. Fans of TV's Buffy and Angel will love this book, too. There is just the right amount of historical background woven into the story to make everything fit. This is not a book to read alone at night!"
—Roberta Austen, Murder and Mayhem Book Club Reviews

"Dance With The Dragon is at heart a mystery... with a good measure of horror. Lovers of classic vampire literature will appreciate the subtlety and finesse with which this tale unravels. (Bram) Stoker himself would be proud."
—Christine Filipak, Dark Realms Magazine

"Combines a little bit of all your worst nightmares and rolls them into an engrossing tale that's hard to put down."
—Ingrid Taylor, Writing for Independents

Novel Excerpt

"It won't hurt much, I promise. And then you'll be on your way to a whole new life. You'll feel things you never felt before... know secrets no one else knows. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Bogus as it sounded, Peggy found herself nodding.

He had told the truth in one way-she felt only a pinch, the way the doctor's needle pinches when he's already numbed the spot with alcohol. Then came a rush of wild, clashing sensations. Exhilaration and weakness; yearning and fear; a desperation to cling to life and sanity, and a languorous urge to let go of both.

Above everything, the drumming of her heart. At first fierce and rapid, then slower and more feeble.

Peggy supposed she blacked out. When she came around again, briefly, she still lay in darkness on what seemed like a bare mattress. At least it felt better than the carpet. She grew aware of the van moving fast, with an occasional jounce over what must have been a rough road.

She drifted back out of consciousness, the motion rocking her into a particularly deep and forgetful sleep...


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Background on... Dance With The Dragon

Eileen in front of the house where Vlad Dracula was born, in Sighisoara, Romania. Note plaque on wall above. (August 1985)

For DANCE WITH THE DRAGON, I drew upon my observations of not only Washington, D.C., where I often visited relatives, but also of Eastern Europe, where I traveled in August, 1985. My pre-Glasnost trip went to Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Like most tourists, I visited Bran Castle, which is touted as “Dracula’s Castle” but where the historical Vlad Dracula spent only a short period, while in captivity. Tourists are taken there chiefly because it is in good repair—Dracula’s real castle, on the Arges river, is in ruins and almost inaccessible. I was more intrigued to see Dracula’s birthplace in Sighisoara, Romania, which at least in 1985 was a perfectly preserved Medieval town. Vlad Dracula was born in the equivalent of a “townhouse” on one of the main streets. There’s a plaque on the building outside, and a bust of him indoors on the first floor.

(For more information check out http://goeasteurope.about.com/cs/romania/a/dracula_castle.htm)

A street in Sighisoara, Romania, birthplace of Vlad DraculaReading Bram Stoker’s DRACULA all the way through for the first time, during my freshman year in college, strongly influenced my decision to write horror. I don’t think it was the first horror novel I’d read—I know I already was familiar with ROSEMARY’S BABY by Ira Levin—but I’d never thought much about vampires before, and suddenly I found the theme compelling. Over the years, though, I’ve been struck by the fact that most interpretations of DRACULA tend to ignore the character’s military background. Even Stoker presented him not as a romantic figure, but as a formidable leader of men who used clever strategy against his enemies. The wealth of information on the historical Dracula that came to light (ouch!) in the 1970s only reinforced this image of Vlad as a fearless soldier and Machiavellian diplomat. These are the traits I hoped to bring out in my homage, DANCE WITH THE DRAGON.long divider


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