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The Last Confession
A novel by C C Humphreys
1501. The cruellest winter in a century. Despite this, three powerful men have made the hard journey to the remote castle of Poienari, high in the Carpathian mountains. Each has been summoned with a fragment of a famous sword: the Devil's Talon. Long believed destroyed, it was fashioned for one man dead in battle these 25 years. Vlad Dracula - meaning either the Dragon's, or the Devil's Son. Each knows what this could mean - the reforming of the Order of the Dragon. This secret society, successor to the disgraced Templars, dedicated to the fight against heresy and especially the Turk, has never been more needed. But the wielder of that sword, Vlad of Wallachia, committed such hideous deeds that the reputation of the Order was all but destroyed. No young Princes will rally their armies to the Dragon banner, not when the man most associated with it was a murderous madman. Or was he? For many still remember him taking on the mighty Ottomans alone, and very nearly defeating them. Was he not also a hero, a true defender of the faith? If he can be rehabilitated, the evil minimised, the glory enhanced, if the blackening tales can be countered, the Devil's Son buried, the Christian Prince resurrected... perhaps, in a way, Dracula can rise from his grave to lead a last crusade. Each man knows pieces of the story, like fragments of a sword. They need to know it all, beyond the propaganda. And waiting for them in the castle's dungeons are three people who can tell that story, two men and a woman who knew Vlad better than anyone. But, unlike the Princes, they did not come to the castle willingly...
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