For many, Vlad the Impaler is the bloodsucking torturer recreated in Hollywood's Interview with the Vampire and the real character so vitally realized in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the man recreated on screen by screen legends Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman, or the vampire stalking through the pages of Ann Rice's novels. Later interpretations see him as a potent symbol of Nazi aggression in World War II, fired partly by Murnau's Nosferatu of the 1920s and the blood rites of the Aryans. But who was the real man who inspired the Dracula legend? Was he as gruesome as legend depicts, or, as some Romanians, refuting the popular image, suggest, an heroic 15th-century warrior and freedom fighter? Or is his reputation as a bloodthirsty mass-murderer, who sadistically impaled his victims, justified? In this title, the author peels back the layers of myth and history to reveal the 15th-century figure who was the real Vlad the Impaler.