|← The Secret of Barnabas Collins →|
1968 / 1870s
|Dark Shadows The Secret of Barnabas Collins|
Publisher's summary EditAnother chilling tale about the vampire who has become America's favourite villain.
Here is another never-before-told story of the handsome, mysterious 175-year-old vampire.
While searching for the woman who will replace his long-lost Josette, and thus end the terrible curse upon him, Barnabas meets lovely Clare Duncan. The story of their romance--and of the terror it brings to the beautiful young noblewoman--is a tale of Gothic suspense that will chill and delight the legions of Barnabas Collins fans.
The novel begins in April, 1968 with Victoria Winters meeting with Barnabas (whom she has only recently met) discussing Earnest Collins and also the ruins of a mansion called Stormcliff. They meet up with a vicar who's something of a history buff. From there the story segues into a flashback...
Lady Clare Duncan is a twenty-year-old heiress in London, daughter to Lord Augustus Duncan. She has fallen in love with Barnabas Collins. At a party, her uncle accuses Barnabas of cheating at cards and also of seeing a main in the Duncan household. He refuses to deny the latter, then exits. Clare follows to his home, but finds him not there. Instead, she finds Ben (Barnabas' manservant) drunk and the actress Eileen O'Mara, who jealously tells the girl Barnabas is only interested in her because she reminds him of Josette. Turns out Eileen, who has been bitten, intends to blackmail Barnabas. She has Clare hide and listen to prove her story about vampires. But when she tries to blackmail Barnabas, he drains her dry. Horrified, Clare flees.
Visiting her Aunt Flo, she finds herself still thinking about Barnabas and decides to visit France, where she believes he was last headed. After crossing to Calais, they learn Barnabas headed to the island of Mont St. Michel between Normandy and Brittany to visit a Dr. Henri Fontaine. A monastery sits atop the island, where Lady Clare finds her way.
Dr. Fontaine is a strange, rather sinister man very pleased to have Lady Clare and her servant Belle for a visit. He promises them Barnabas will return soon, but his wife Madeleine warns Clare that Fontaine is a vampire. She enlists Lady Clare's help in driving a wooden stake through Fontaine's heart. Escaping from Mont St. Michel, Clare heads for Boston, although with her father following.
Aboard the Morning Star Clare and Belle meet Mr. and Mrs. Josef Pallidino, a medium and his assistant. But Clare has nightmares about Dr. Fontaine and Belle begins sleepwalking--as she did under the influence of Barnabas, then Fontaine. That same night Clare is nearly thrown overboard. Joseph Pallidino warns her she may be under attack by mysterious forces. They hold a seance and it seems as if the spirit of Fontaine threatens them. But it seems as if somehow Barnabas, without being present, banishes Fontaine's ghost.
Upon arriving in Boston, Lady Clare heads for Collinsport. Upon reaching there, she discovers Barnabas has rented Stormcliff. She also hears of attacks on local girls, including one woman "of easy virtue" who was strangled. Barnabas himself behaves politely, but strangely to both Clare and Belle. Ben says he has fallen under someone's spell, a "deceitful and dangerous woman." According to Ben, her name is Julia Conrad and she is a skilled seductress while her husband is away. Lady Clare admits to knowing Barnabas is a vampire, hoping that her love can lift the curse. But Barnabas admits to her, that only someone who doesn't know he is a vampire can ever love him.
Lady Clare visits Julia Conrad, trying to get her to break it off with Barnabas, but she refuses. But Captain William Conrad's ship, the Belle Corliss, soon arrives. Clare meets a young, well-read sailor named Nathan Forbes who warns her Captain Conrad is a bitter, stubborn man. He promises to do what he can for her, most especially to see if Captain Conrad can make his wife join him during the ship's next voyage. But within a few days Nathan wants to warn her of legends he's read about the original Barnabas Collins--including that he was supposed to be a vampire. Nathan also feels powerfully attracted to Lady Clare, and it is clear she likes him as well. Barnabas even encourages this match when he hears of it.
Then, Belle goes sleepwalking and walks off of Widow's Hill. At her funeral, Lady Clare decides she must destroy Barnabas. She enlists Nathan's help. But when he sneaks into Stormcliff's cellar and drives a stake through the figure in the coffin, he doesn't realize until too late that the person there is Ben! He has committed murder! More, as he's telling Clare all this, Stormcliff begins to burn!
Barnabas, it turns out, set the blaze in order to hide the murder of Ben. He also has booked passage to the Indies on the Belle Corliss in hopes of finding a witch doctor who can lift the curse. He offers a deal--silence for silence. Clare insists on going along as well, to see how things progress. But aboard ship, a drunken Captain shoots Barnabas and Julia point blank--and the vampire immediately stabs him with the blade of a sword-cane, killing him. Julia lives only a short while afterwards. Barnabas is heartbroken. But the crew, they are terrified. They desert, leaving only Nathan and Lady Clare and Barnabas still aboard. Nathan, realizing it is only a matter of time until Barnabas will attack them in his blood-lust, takes Clare aboard a small dinghy and heads for shore. It takes a long time, but after days they finally reach land soon after sunset.
A bat emerges from under their things and flies away. Both realize that was Barnabas, fleeing the ship with them.
Soon after, Nathan and Clare are married. As they head back to London, Clare spots a familiar caped figure smiling and waving goodbye from the docks.
- Barnabas Collins
- Lady Clare Duncan
- Lord Augustus Duncan
- Eileen O'Mara
- Nathan Forbes
- Dr. Henri Fontaine
- Victoria Winters
- This story is not compatible with the continuity supplied by the original Dark Shadows television series. In this story, Barnabas Collins was never chained up in the secret room at the Collins family mausoleum, but instead, continued to exist throughout the ages assuming the guise of his own son, and later grandson.
- Another difference would be that stories of vampirism seem to surround Barnabas in Collinsport, so that many believe his "ancestor" was indeed one of the living dead.
- Despite the differences between the novels and the original Dark Shadows television series, the relationship between Barnabas Collins, Angelique and Josette appears to be the same in the continuity of the novels as it was in the show.
- In this novel at least, Barnabas' coffin needs to be lined with earth from Maine. How he survives aboard the dinghy is unexplained.
- Lady Clare Duncan's title would indicate she is the daughter of a duke. However, the same could be said of her father's title, which would mean her title should have been "The Right Honourable Clare Duncan."
- The story of the Belle Corliss is pretty clearly based on that of the Marie Celeste.
- The bulk of the story seems to take place in the 1870s. At this time, the Collins family seem to be visiting New York.
- Also Published in Germany in 1977 with a cover illustration by N. Lutohin.