VOIVODE is the story of Vlad III, the man whose heroic deeds and horrifying cruelty inspired countless legends and lay the foundation for the greatest horror story of all time: Dracula.
It is the tale of a man who is as alluring and as terrifying as his fictional namesake, and whose deeds, even centuries after his death, still have the power to astonish and to frighten us in equal measure.
It is an attempt to shed light on one of the most controversial figures of Renaissance history and to recount his tale through the words of those who knew him best: His tutor, Hamza Pasha, his former friend and now bitter enemy, Sultan Mehmed II and finally, through Vlad’s own account.
In the morning, I often come to sit alone on the balcony that overlooks the vast royal gardens. When the warmth of the Ottoman sun turns into a scorching heat, I sometimes nod drowsily upon the lavish ottoman, allowing the sun to warm my raddled, arthrosis-lined hands as I breathe in the heavy scent of the flowers from the gardens below.
And as I sit there, staring into nothingness, I can sometimes hear Hatice's laughter, like the chime of bells, so clear, as if she were still here with me - as if my dear daughter had never left me. I try to conjure up her face before my eyes, knowing that her sweet and loving features would not take form for me, but instead, they would be replaced by the cold, merciless face of the monster who has taken her from me.
Memories! Memories are a cruel thing, infesting the mind like poisonous vapour, corrupting the soul and driving a man to the edge of sanity. Many say that I have gone mad with grief and age. Maybe they are right, but I pray to Allah that, as I write down my account of events, my mind is as sane and lucid as it was on the day I first lay my eyes on the boy who would bring about my ruin and that of my empire.
Copyright © 2018 Gabrielle Estres