Son of the Dragon was the ninety-ninth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Steve Lyons and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown and Caroline Morris as Erimem.
Released in 2007, it was about the historical Dracula, often called Vlad the Impaler. Like preceding Erimem adventures The Church and the Crown and The Council of Nicaea, it was a so-called "pure historical": a story featuring no science fictional elements outside of the Doctor's TARDIS. Also in common with several other Erimem stories, Dragon contained an element of tension over whether she would be departing. In this case, listeners heard the story ofher's first engagement, presaging her eventual royal matrimonial departure in The Bride of Peladon.
The title referenced Vlad the Great, Dracula's father, known as "the Dragon". Although the pre-titles sequence of part one directly stated that the "Son of the Dragon" was Dracula, in fact the rest of the story made clear that the title also applied to Vlad the Great's other son, Radu the Handsome. The contrast between the two leaders was one of the central themes of the piece.
But since my father's murder, I have had another name.
I am Dracula.
The Fifth Doctor arrives in 1462 with Peri Brown and Erimem. The TARDIS materialises in the ruins of a small village. Disgusted by the smell, they find the village burned and the livestock slaughtered. The people were impaled and left to die. One lingering victim tells them that the destruction was by the Son of the Dragon, also known as Dracula.
The Doctor deduces that they are in Wallachia, and a group of soldiers approach. They run. The Doctor is embarrassed by a fall into a pit trap, and they are caught by Radu the Handsome and the Sultan's Army. Radu is impressed by former pharaoh Erimem, and places them under his protection. They head to the soldier's camp, which was away from the TARDIS. Erimem rides ahead at Radu's request. The Doctor corrects Peri when she mentions Count Dracula, telling her that the real man, Prince Vlad Dracula III, ruler of this area, was worse. They have already seen Vlad the Impaler's favourite form of punishment, meaning that the villagers were probably collaborating with the enemies of the voivode of Wallachia. They realise they are travelling with the prince's enemies, the Turkish army led by Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror.
Radu, Erimem, and the soldiers reach the next village, where they find the well is poisoned, as Vlad has been destroying his own crops and livestock to hinder the invading army. Radu believes the Doctor is their jester, and considers him poor protection from the prince for two women alone. Erimem laughs and says the Doctor is no fool. He offers them food, water, and a pace in their camp, but warns there will be a price later. He goes to arrange this.
The Doctor and Peri eat in the tent, the Doctor telling stories about the historical Dracula. He mentions that to some people, Vlad is the hero who saves them from the Turks. The Doctor would like to meet the man, but Peri wants to get out before being caught in a war. She hears a noise outside and worries about real vampires, and the Doctor mentions that they're real, and he's met them. It turns out to be Erimem, who also wants to leave, before she and Peri end up as concubines to the Sultan. They make plans to meet near Radu's tent and sneak out. Radu catches the Doctor skulking around his tent, and they discuss the war. The Doctor reveals that he knows Radu is Vlad's brother. They're interrupted by an attack, and a suspicious Radu rushes off to protect the Sultan. The Doctor recognises that he has, yet again, landed on an infamous date.
Erimem and the Doctor meet in the woods and worry about Peri. The Doctor wants Erimem to navigate southwest by the stars, away from the battle, so he can concentrate on finding Peri. Erimem brandishes a sword, and the Doctor warns her that if she uses a scimitar, she'll be declaring herself an enemy of Vlad. She compromises, keeping the sword for self defence, but agreeing to leave,providing the Doctor finds Peri and brings her back.
Peri is awakened by a young Turkish girl, Ayfer, who warns her that the prince is in the camp and will slaughter her. Peri talks her into helping her pull down a tent pole to defend themselves. A burning arrow hits the tent and they are forced to leave.
Radu finds the Doctor, reporting that the Sultan has fled. He offers the Doctor a sword. The Doctor refuses but needs to change his mind rather quickly as enemy soldiers spot them. They prepare to defend themselves.
Erimem saves a horseman from a Turkish attack, and the man recognises from her clothing that she is not Turkish. She introduces herself and the man assumes she was a prisoner. He wants to reward her courage and offers to take her away with him. He is offended by her refusal, but thinks it is because she doesn't know him. He reveals himself as Dracula.
to be added
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Peri Brown - Nicola Bryant
- Erimem - Caroline Morris
- Dracula / Prince Vlad / Vlad the Impaler - James Purefoy
- Radu - Douglas Hodge
- John Dobrin - Barry McCarthy
- Maria - Clare Calbraith
- Soldiers - Steven Wickham
- Ayfer - Nicola Lloyd
- Like his father Vlad the Great, Dracula is a member of the Order of the Dragon.
- While battling Dracula's soldiers, Erimem swears by Osiris.
- Bram Stoker was inspired to write his novel Dracula from stories of the Prince of Wallachia's cruelty.
- When she meets Dracula, Peri tells him that he is shorter than she expected.
- Peri compares her stitching to that of Baron Frankenstein.
- She compares Vlad and Radu to Beauty and the Beast.
- The Doctor quotes Omar Khayyám: "Awake! For morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the Stars to flight".
- A preview appeared in Doctor Who Magazine issue 386, illustrated by Martin Geraghty.
- After The Church and the Crown, The Council of Nicaea and The Kingmaker, this is the fourth (and third consecutive) audio drama in which the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem encounter an historical monarch.
- This audio drama was recorded on 6 and 8 February 2007 at The Moat Studios.
- The Doctor tells Peri that he once encountered vampires "with fangs, bats, the whole package". (TV: State of Decay)
- Erimem is still learning English from Peri and is now reasonably proficient in written English. Peri began teaching her friend English in The Axis of Insanity and continued in The Roof of the World.
- Erimem tells Dracula that her family were slain by power hungry men. (AUDIO: The Eye of the Scorpion)
- The Sixth Doctor would later meet Dracula's fictional vampire namesake in the Land of Fiction. (AUDIO: Legend of the Cybermen)
- Vlad was once imprisoned in the labyrinth under Buda Castle in Budapest. (AUDIO: The Labyrinth of Buda Castle)
- Official Son of the Dragon page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Son of the Dragon at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide