As Deep and Dark As It Gets


My book is set in Wallachia. Everyone knows about Transylvania, but I’m not sure how many of you have actually heard of Wallachia. Modern Romania is made up of regions that used to be part of three separate territories—Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. My story is set in the 1880s. At the time Wallachia and Moldavia were united and called the Romanian Principalities. That’s where my hero is from. And there are others like him in the area. DEEP DARK types:

  1. Haiducul = THE HIGHWAYMAN: My grandfather’s stories were, of course, the best. Handsome highwaymen who rode like the wind, outsmarted the corrupt authorities and buried their treasure deep in the woods. When I was little, I thought my grandfather was a highwayman himself. Close enough, I guess—he was a police officer.

  1. Fratele cel Rau = THE WICKED BROTHER: Okay, so there’s the notorious Prince Vlad aka Vlad Dracu aka Vlad the Impaler, a character Dracula is loosely based on. BTW, Prince Vlad is Wallachian (not Transylvanian) and so is his wicked younger brother, Radu (nicknamed Radu the Fair because of his good looks). Radu is quite a character. Both brothers were the sultan’s hostages in their teens and educated in the Ottoman court. Rumour has it that the sultan fell in love with the handsome Radu. There’s also a story of sibling rivalry: the two princes fought each other for the Wallachian throne. Don’t be surprised: traditional Romanian history portrays Vlad as “the good brother.”

  1. 3. Zburatorul = THE FLYER: They say Transylvania/Romania is where vampires come from. Really, vampire is not a term I’ve ever heard in Romanian tales. The undead are called strigoi. They’re ghoulish rather than vampiric. Flyers are closer to the glamorous image of the vampire. Charismatic males who come to girls’ windows at night. They don’t feed on blood, but on sex. These incubi are dark haired and exquisite.

  1. Varcolacul = THE WEREWOLF: Wolfmen and wolf warriors have always roamed these lands. There’s a battle standard that dates from pre-Roman times. It features a mythical creature, the wolf-headed serpent, although it also looks very much like a dragon…

  1. Zmeul = UNTRANSLATABLE: In Romanian fairy tales, there are sizzling hot supernatural baddies who kidnap fair maidens. We call them zmei. They live in the Otherworld in gold, silver or bronze castles. What do they look like? Superhumanly strong men? Ogres? Dragon shifters? Warlocks? Demons? Uh…it’s complicated.

I’m obviously acquainted with these decadent gentlemen. Are you interested in late-night visits from any of them?


About Rose Vane

Rose Vane teaches historical linguistics in Bucharest, but she also resides in an imaginary tower surrounded by all kinds of characters. Occasionally she remembers to feed her husband (who really is from Transylvania). She never ever forgets to take care of her son’s blue piglet. A Deep Dark Call is her first fiction book. You can find Rose on Facebook ( and on Twitter (@RoseVaneVane).

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