December 1999 marks the 10th anniversary of the overthrow and execution of Rumanian strong man Nicolae Ceausescu--the only Communist dictator to be violently overthrown during the 1989-91 fall of East European Communism. Controversy persists to this day as to whether it was a spontaneous revolution or a coup engineered by his own Securitate (secret police).
Vampire Nation is set three years before le Déluge, amid the societal degeneration that led to Ceausescu's downfall.
The year is 1986. A young American, Henry Willoughby, flies to Communist Rumania on business. While in flight he is inadvertently served vampire blood, sensitizing his eyes and revealing a nation of vampires. And contrary to their darkly romantic image, these vampires are ugly, slothful, paranoid, and vicious.
Henry only wants to return home on the next flight, but when he unwittingly espies two classified maps, he has no choice but to run. Soon he is buttonholed by the Countess Anya Amasovich, a deadly Russian beauty who might be an unreconstructed tsarist, or a CIA assassin, or a KGB vampire. She agrees to help him escape Rumania, for a price: she intends to his blood memory of the maps to locate and assassinate Rumanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Pursued by Militia and Securitate vampires, Henry and Anya's quest takes the reader on a surreal tour of Ceausescu's Rumania. From the rubble of historic buildings razed to make way for Ceausescu's Boulevard Of The Victory Of Socialism, through the secret Securitate tunnels beneath the city, past trees painted green to reflect the bounty of Communism and vampire sycophants who insist Ceausescu invented sliced bread, through hospitals where healthy legs are amputated in error, past angry ghosts and beggar ghouls, past playboy First Son Nicu Ceausescu's Presidential Palace blood orgies, to the Snagov Lake tomb of the historic Dracula bordering the lakefront estate of Nicolae Ceausescu himself.
Vampire Nation is extensively researched, drawing from both the author's historical readings and his childhood visits to Communist Transylvania, where he still has relatives.
The author's short story, "Vampire Nation," was published in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories (Barnes & Noble Books, 1998). That story now serves as prologue to the novel.
Vampire Nation, the novel, was a Finalist in the 1998-99 Writer's Foundation/America's Best contest.