Vlad Dracula, three times ruler of Walachia, never once ruler of Transylvania, indeed he left Transylvania at around the age of 7, when hisfather took the throne in Wallachia and moved his family from Sighisoara to Tirgoviste (and no, he didnt have a castle in Transylvaniaeither. Neither the one in Bran, nor any other). Vlad was given as a hostage to the Ottomans in ca. 1442 and held there until his fathersmurder in 1448. He then briefly ruled with Ottoman backing. Sent packing, he roamed around until he managed to get the throne back in 1456.He ruled for 6 years in what by many is still seen as a golden period, where crime and anti-social behaviour was as good as eradicatedthrough harsh and very public punishment of those that broke the law (impaling was particularly popular. He had learned that trick from theOttomans). He enraged Fatih Sultan Mehmet by a series of raids into Ottoman held Bulgaria in the winter of 1461, and in 1462 Mehmet camefor him. Following a series of guerrilla skirmishes, Vlad finally withdrew to his bolthole castle in Poienari, which was eventuallybombarded by Ottoman cannons and Vlad had to flee to Transylvania. Having had enough of him causing trouble with the sultan, the Hungarianking, Matthias, put him in house arrrest for the next 14 years (partly in Budapest), only to support his last reign in Wallachia in 1476,when Mathias needed a strong arm facing the sultan. He was killed in battle in January 1477 and his head was sent to the sultan as proofthat his long-time adversary had died.Despite this historic summary, most people think that Vlad Dracula was from Transylvania, that his castle stands in the Borgo Pass and thathe is a vampire.The book "In the Shadow of Empires" is a narrative of the historic Vlad Dracula, the events he shaped and the events that shaped him. Itfollows Vlad Dracula from cradle to grave and specifically avoids discussing vampires, apart from where it is absolutely necessary to linkthe historic person to nineteenth century fiction writing.Written by an international traveller, who spent 9 years living in Transylvania, and couldnt understand why there was no Dracula, the bookis factual but written in light and accessible language aimed at a general, rather than academic, audience.