Tuesday Terror! The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

I want my mummy!

😀 😀 😀 🙂

Our narrator, barrister Malcolm Ross, is sent a message by the girl he’s already well on the way to falling in love with, Margaret Trelawny, begging him to come to her aid. Her father has been attacked and seriously injured. Malcolm rushes to her side, as do the doctor and the police. Abel Trelawny’s physical injuries are severe but not life-threatening, but he is in a strange comatose condition. He has, oddly, left instructions on what must be done in just such an eventuality. He must not be removed from his room, which is full of Egyptian treasures he has “collected” from tombs, including several sarcophagi. And two people must watch over him each night. So Malcolm offers to stay at the house, and helps with the watching while carrying on his wooing. Slowly he and Margaret learn that her father has been studying one mummy in particular, Queen Tera, and believes that she had magical skills. He believes that she intends to come back from the dead, and Trelawny intends to help her…

This would have made a great short story or novella, but at full-novel length it’s incredibly over-stretched and repetitive. It’s well written, of course, and the narration from Simon Vance is excellent – it may in fact have been the only thing that got me through all the repetition. There are parts that are very good, like the flashback to when Trelawny and his associate stole – sorry, I mean “collected” – the contents of Tera’s tomb, including Tera herself! Then there are parts where Malcolm tells us for the umpteenth time all about how sweet his Margaret is, to the point where I was about ready to put an Egyptian curse on both of them myself.

Bram Stoker

However my desire to know what would happen when Trelawny carried out his experiment held my interest throughout. Who doesn’t love a resurrected mummy?? But what an anti-climax! After eight hours of listening, the experiment is packed into the last quarter of an hour, and the actual climax takes about two minutes! And I don’t mean to quibble, but the happy ending seemed wildly inappropriate to the big build-up! I had already learned from another review that the story apparently had two endings, so after I’d finished I did a bit of checking. It turns out the original ending from 1903 was far from happy – in fact, it was so bleak the publisher refused to reissue the book in 1912 unless Stoker altered it. So he did, and now the happy ending is the one most commonly used. I found a copy of the original online, and while it certainly suits the tone better and is more Stoker-ish, it’s just as rushed and tacked on at the last moment as the later ending. I seem to remember complaining about the abrupt way Dracula finishes too, so maybe it was a deliberate stylistic choice of Stoker’s to end stories this way, but it felt like an unsatisfactory pay-off after a lengthy (though mostly enjoyable) listen.

(The porpy did a bit of research during the boring bits, and
discovered that even the ancient Egyptians loved porpies!)

Relief of a porcupine in an Egyptian desert; detail of a wall fragment from the grave of Penhenuka at Saqqara, Egypt. Old Kingdom, 5th Dynasty, c. 2500 BCE. Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany. Painted limestone. ÄM 1132.
Attribution: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg), CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Audible UK Link

PS Sorry I’m falling behind with answering comments and reading posts. The Australian Open has started which means I have to become even more nocturnal than I usually am, which throws out what I optimistically refer to as ‘my schedule’. I’ll catch up when the virtual jet lag wears off! Blame these men…

Meantime, good morning and good night!

59 thoughts on “Tuesday Terror! The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

  1. Happy ending? I’m assuming Margaret and Malcolm married. Not saying that wouldn’t be a happy ending, but really, that is just the beginning of cooking, cleaning, sewing and the rest – for her.
    As for the tennis, a friend’s son went today and had an outside pass, but because the temperature was so hot (36 degrees Celsius) there was no games on the outside courts so they were allowed into the arenas to get out of the sun. We just had a quick storm come through, which should cool things down overnight, but I’ve lost connection to the television station showing the tennis!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha! Fortunately they were rich enough to have servants to do all that stuff, so all she’d have to do is look pretty and do a bit of embroidery!
      The temperature seems to have been all over the place this week – today seems quite cool, so your storm prediction was right! Hope you got your TV back, although it’s been so traumatic so far I’m not sure I’m brave enough to watch Andy today!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I see the porpy’s been around for quite some time, FictionFan! Who knew? As for the book…. the whole sarcophagus plot line is a good choice for a horror story, and Stoker could build atmosphere, no doubt. But I’m not much of a one for all that repetition, and abrupt endings do feel ‘stuck on’ even if they a match for the story. That’s interesting, by the way, about the alternate endings. I wonder how many other books are like that, with the publisher-sanctioned ending being the one we know, and another ending lurking around somewhere…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The porpy’s getting a bit big-headed, what with Egyptian tombs and French chateaus – he’s getting a bit sneery about my humble home! 😉 Yes, it does seem odd that a publisher could force a change of ending on someone as successful as Stoker. And while both were abrupt, I felt the bleaker ending suited the story better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so frustrating when you read a novel that would have made a great novella or short story! It hasn’t happened to me in a while, but when you get a great premise that ends up being overstuffed with repetition it’s such a shame. At least the narration was great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this would have been much better if it had been shorter. Admittedly I felt that way about Dracula too! It’s funny, because he’s much more concise in his short stories. There have been a few books now that I’ve felt the narrator actually kept me going when I’d probably have abandoned a printed version. It’s an art form in itself!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know why I never paid any attention to Bram Stoker’s other works. I read Dracula and that was it.

    Stories of mummies always make me giggle. I’m not sure why. I’m sorry this one wasn’t better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mummies always make me think of cartoons for some reason – maybe some Scooby Doo episode is stuck in my subconscious! I haven’t read much Stoker either – just Dracula and a few short stories. He’s very good, but sometimes gets a bit gruesome for me.


  5. With the Open going on, I’m surprised you’re getting any work done! I’m also surprised at that Egyptian porpy relief (though I don’t know why I am — surely porpies are as ancient as humans!) As for the story, hmm. Not sure I’d appreciate such an abrupt ending (happy or sad), after spending valuable time with a tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Open has been so traumatic so far I’m kinda frightened to watch any more of it!! The porpy is getting a bit above himself, what with Egyptian tombs and French chateaus! He’s beginning to sneer at my humble home… 😉 Yes, I felt I deserved more after the eight hours it took me to get the the ending!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Do not like dude in picture 1. Do not like dude in picture 2 because of today (although he absolutely deserved it). Love dude in picture 3. Vamos, Rafa!

    Also, I’m watching delayed because I’m smart. No getting up in the middle of the night for me 😜.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Whiney baby 🙄😂. But I especially dislike him now for knocking out the hot Italian. 😜

        The seeds are dropping like flies. All my favourites are crashing out. I’m really not enjoying this Open 🤦🏼‍♀️.

        Rafa broke my heart, as did his wife. I’m going to leave it there as I don’t have nice things to say about Novak 🙊. That’s two war declarations 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, yeah, the Italian was nice! Did you just watch the Zverev/Mmoh match by any chance? If not, you should try to catch it later. I think I’ve fallen in love with Mmoh… ❤ I’ve got mixed feelings about Novak. I try to love him, but he doesn’t make it easy. Rafa’s wife managed to look gorgeous even while sobbing – I think I hate her… 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting about making him re-write the ending. Isn’t that sort of what happened to Shelley and her Frankenstein story? (I’ve yet to read it, and I’m not sure which version I have) I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I remember having quite inappropriate thoughts about the mummy in the 1999 film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, most mummies seem to feel they’ve had too much rest! The Open is proving to be rather traumatic so far – I’m trying to get my courage up before Andy’s match this morning. I can’t take any more defeated idols!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love learning about other Bram Stoker works, Dracula seems to overshadow everything but this novel seems interesting (if not too long). Also fascinating that the Porcupine was revered by Egyptians! They definitely loved their animals, but of course the cat will also be their favourite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • On the whole I think I prefer Stoker’s short stories to his novels – not so much room for rambling! But he’s very good, if a bit gruesome at times! Haha, Tommy has been trying to tell the porpy that cats were higher up the order in ancient Egypt, but the porpy refuses to accept it… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.