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Literature / The Bloody Red Baron

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The Bloody Red Baron is the second novel in the Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman, set in an Alternate History where Dracula's successful invasion of England led to vampires coming out of the shadows.

In this novel, it's 1918 and World War I is in full swing. Dracula, having been driven out of England, is allied with the Central Powers, but there are vampires fighting on both sides of the conflict (and others hanging around on the sidelines taking whatever advantage they can).

The novel's Kindle and paperback editions also contains the novella, "Vampire Romance."

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     The Bloody Red Baron 
  • Ace Pilot: Biggles, Captain Midnight and The Shadow go up against the Red Baron, Hans von Hammer and Airboy's ally the Heap.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: The Red Baron is portrayed as stiff, humorless, and almost pitiably uncomfortable in social situations. In real life he was known to be pretty jocular and friendly (the change might be a side effect of his vampirization).
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • Someone speculates that if it weren't for all these vampires, maybe World War I wouldn't have happened.
    • Dracula has a Hungarian body double/decoy named Bela.
  • Badass Crew: The Red Baron leads a squad of German fliers who are all vampires and aces, much like the real life Jagdgeschwader 1 the Baron led. Except not only are they vampires (making them excellent night pilots) to match up to the Allies' slightly better squad of aces (which includes Expies of The Shadow, Biggles, and Captain Midnight, along with real life British ace Albert Ball) the squad is modified by science and elder vampire blood into giant bat fliers wearing machine-gun rigs.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Spliced with a WWI biplane, this is what von Richthofen's squadron are transformed into.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Edgar Poe mentions fighting in the Civil War on the Confederate side, more because he got swept up in the whole "romanticized rebellion" thing than anything else.
  • Big Fancy Castle: von Richthofen's flying circus holes up in a distinctly creepy old French castle called Chateau de Malinbois. They decide to rename it Schloss Adler.
  • Body Double: Dracula deploys a number of decoy body doubles during the climactic battle. It backfires once the decoys start being killed, because the news that "Dracula's dead" travels faster than the news that there are decoys in play, and his troops are demoralized by their leader's apparent death (and then also bewildered by the arrival of multiple conflicting accounts of his death).
  • Body Horror:
    • Upon meeting his new squadron, Winthrop learns that one of their pilots was recalled after he snapped and started pounding nails into his own head. His name was Spencer.
    • In one chapter, a vampire stripper entertains the crowd by peeling off her skin. Some customers quickly realize her act is a bit more than they were prepared for, and flee.
  • Creative Sterility: Edgar Allan Poe mentions that he has not written a word of fiction since he became a vampire.
  • Happy Ending Override: Sort of; Anno Dracula doesn't exactly end happily, but it does end with Dracula's power over Britain being dealt a fatal blow and a mob rising up against him. The sequel, however, reveals that he was able to linger around for another few years before finally being driven out of the country.
  • Herr Doktor: Includes cameos by a number of German Mad Scientists from film and literature, including Professor ten Brinken from the 1911 German novel Alraune and Dr. Caligari from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
  • Historical Domain Character: Including cameos by Winston Churchill and Mata Hari, among others.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Hanns Heinz Ewers appears as a murderous and arrogant man whose plans to slaughter an "inferior" woman are only foiled by the undead Edgar Allan Poe. The real Ewers was attracted to the nationalist and militarist aspects of National Socialism, but split with the Nazis over their antisemitism.
  • In Spite of a Nail: A few decades after Dracula conquered England and the vampires came out of the shadows, history is back on course to the extent that World War I is happening in roughly the same way (with a Lampshade Hanging that many believe it wouldn't have happened without the vampire influence).
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The series includes a lot of characters who go unnamed but have familiar descriptions.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Moreau returns from the previous book, this time accompanied by a young Herbert West.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: A combination of characters from both Edwardian fiction in general as well as vampire characters.
  • Never Found the Body: Captain Allard commits a heroic sacrifice at the end to take down Dracula's war blimp the Attila. It is widely assumed he was incinerated in the blast or killed in the crash... but it is strongly hinted in Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha that he did indeed somehow survive, and went on to become The Shadow.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires come from a number of various "Bloodlines", but are considered biological entities with "just a touch" of magic (they don't cast reflections, for example). Some may be able to transform, while others have corpse-like features, and others suffer from blood frenzy. Religious symbols and even garlic only affect those vampires who believe they can. Sunlight only hurts younger undead, and silver only serves to counter their regeneration abilities; any sufficient organ damage (like, say, a stake though the heart) can kill them for good. This novel has a particular focus on bloodlines, as the Germans are experimenting with it to create the ultimate vampire: capable of becoming giant man-bats. It's also revealed that some vampires can heal from moonlight, while some become even stronger from it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: This world's version of Edgar Allen Poe supported the Confederacy in the Civil War and openly despises Jews and other "inferior people" he encounters in Europe.
  • Plot Armor: Even though he's only a minor character in this, Biggles appears to have brought his plot armor with him, surviving the midair destruction of his crate at million-to-one odds, because that's the kind of thing Biggles does.
  • Put on a Bus: Genevieve doesn't appear in The Bloody Red Baron, with Newman choosing to give the limelight to some younger and less powerful characters.
  • Red-plica Baron: As the title sugests, one of the main vampires is the Red Baron himself.
  • Shed the Family Name: The undead Edgar Allan Poe dubs himself simply "Edgar Poe", because the middle name is tied to his hated foster father.
  • Shout-Out: Any piece of seemingly unnecessary exposition, any background character who gets more than a sentence of description? A Shout-Out to something.
  • Take That!: Newman isn't shy about giving unflattering portrayals to real-life personages he doesn't care for. Hanns Heinz Ewers and Field Marshal Douglas Haig are seen in a particularly bad light.
  • Transhuman: By drinking Albert Ball's blood without giving up any of his own blood in return, Winthrop effectively becomes a human with vampiric abilities rather than actually turning into a vampire. It's also suggested that Beauregard is aging much slower than he should be due to picking up a little of Genevieve's blood during the time they were intimate decades earlier.
  • The Unmasqued World: After Dracula took over England, all the vampires come out of hiding. By the time this novel starts, their existence is regarded as an ordinary fact of life.
  • Vampire Variety Pack: The different bloodlines each features a different subset of vampire characteristics; only some bloodlines are able to transform into other shapes, for instance.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Caleb Croft has one upon realizing Dracula has tricked the allied forces with body doubles of himself. Going so far as to try to strangle Charles, and has to be restrained.
  • Weird Historical War: World War I with vampires. Interestingly the characters doubt that the war could have occurred if vampires didn't exist.
  • Young Future Famous People: Quite a few. One of the bigger examples a particularly pompous and overweight member of the Baron's circus... Herman Goring.

     Vampire Romance 
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Genevieve believes this to be the case with the Crooked Men. Part of it is due to their anti-vampire stance which is more nuanced than she believes.
  • Asshole Victim: Kai Pei Mei is this as he had just started a rant about how all vampires needed to bow to the jiang shi when he was murdered. Genevieve actually comments that she didn't really care about any of the victims.
  • Back from the Dead: Liam is this for Carmilla Karnstein, at least from a certain perspective. In truth, it is only her heart that was used to animate the creature and it is an enemy of all vampirekind.
  • Composite Character: In "Vampire Romance", there is a Chinese elder vampire who is both Kah (the priest whose body Dracula takes over in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires) and the evil kung fu villain Pei Mei. His name is simply Kah Pei Mei.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Vampire Romance" there is plenty of foreshadowing as to who The Crooked Man really is, with references abounding to the person themselves. When it is finally revealed, Genevieve mentions that a penny in her head all night finally dropped. Specifically, his murder of two young boys, which the character himself refers to as a part of a long-ago formed habit.
  • Genre Throwback: The short story "Vampire Romance" is a throwback to Agatha Christie style murder mysteries.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In "Vampire Romance", the villain turns out to be a vampirised Richard III, who is worse than Shakespeare portrayed him. He resents Will for saying he sent someone to kill the Princes in the Tower; he dealt with them personally.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Liam is actually a Mandragora homunculus that feeds on Elder vampire blood.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Nezumi first favoured a silver-plated katana in Vampire Romance, though after decades spent in Britain and becoming one of Richard Jeperson's "Lovelies", she uses a hockey stick for non-lethal combat in Aquarius (though the hockey stick does have a steel short sword hidden inside).r.]]
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: The first murder in "Vampire Romance". Kah Pei Mei is killed by Richard III.
  • Old, Dark House: Mildew Manor in "Vampire Romance", complete with the requisite number of secret passages and occupants with dark pasts.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Liam is effectively an alchemically created version of this for the late Carmilla.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: Using alchemy and dark sciences learned from World War One, Dr. Ten Bricken was able to make a homunculus for Lord Karnstein using a piece of Carnilla's heart, plant and mineral matter. The homunculus was in a constant state of stupor and only awoke when feeding on the blood and life force of an elder vampire (no other food source works for it).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Richard the Third makes several homophobic remarks and considers it a reason to murder one of his political allies as she's a lesbian.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: In "Vampire Romance", a vampire who is old enough to have been an eyewitness reveals who really killed the Princes in the Tower.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: "Vampire Romance" has a lot of Agatha Christie homages, including a bunch of Elder vampires trapped at an isolated country estate as someone knocks them off one by one.
  • '20s Bob Haircut: "Vampire Romance", set in 1923, begins with Geneviève getting a bob as part of fitting in to the new era. (The chapter title, "Genevieve Bobs Her Hair", is a shout-out to F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair".)
  • Unknown Rival: Genevieve is utterly despised by 14 year old human girl, Lydia, as her "rival" for Liam's affections. This is due to Genevieve looking like a 16 year old girl and the person that Lydia is most jealous of.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Lydia is a massive vampire fan who believes that they are all romantic tragic monsters except for pretty much vampire she actually meets. She immediately latches on to Liam Karnstein in an attempt to make him "her" vampire. It is to be expected since she's fourteen. She eventually snaps out of it.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Genevieve considers the Crooked Men to be a hate group that targets vampires and is akin to the Nazis. [[spoiler: They are actually only against "foreign" vampires and she's a Horrible Judge of Character.
  • Your Vampires Suck: "Vampire Romance", set in 1923, uses certain fictional characters of the period as expies of Newman's fellow vampire writers - with unflattering results. Salome Otterbourne wrote the Nitelite Saga, with a hero who "glittered like a Christmas tree" and a heroine who kept on swooning, even in chapters that she was narrating; Rosie M. Banks penned the Mal de Mer mysteries, which "were written in baby-talk and took about half an hour to get through", featuring characters with such silly names as Snookie; and Harriet Vane was responsible for the Vampyrhhic Chronicles, which were written from the vampire's point of view and contained long and tedious descriptions of ancient history and Roman Catholicism.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Who will become the King or Queen of Cats?