jewel seven stars stoker zebra 1979

I can remember one of my English Literature lecturers telling our study group that in literary terms, Bram Stoker was a one hit wonder.

Lately I’ve been wondering whether that meant he just wrote the kind of books I like and one of them happened to break through.

So, I thought I’d try another.

But on the evidence of THE JEWEL OF SEVEN STARS, one hit wonder is a generous term.

I can’t recall the last time I read a book quite as annoyingly tedious as this. Although there is incident, Stoker’s turgid prose manages to suck all drama and excitement from it, so that the book basically becomes some boring people sitting around a house waiting for something to happen.

A few weeks back I criticised the Hammer Horror film, BLOOD FROM A MUMMY’S TOMB, which was based on this, for some tonal inconsistencies. But actually, that film is really interesting. Having now read the source material, I’m filled with wonder at its director/screenwriter for building something good on such bedrock.

Maybe Stoker sold his soul to the devil to be able to write DRACULA. Perhaps that was worth it. But he really should have asked for a two-book deal.

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