Bram Stoker's Dracula is certainly the most famous vampire story, and its popularity has only grown with time.
Dracula "was in life a most wonderful man: soldier, statesman, and alchemist--a student of the black arts at the academy of Scholomance in the Carpathian Mountains. He had a mighty brain, a learning beyond compare, and a heart that knew neither fear nor remorse." Although he has died several centuries ago he has returned as a vampire, and as the novel begins embarks on his plan of world domination by infiltrating London and beginning a reign of terror. His nemesis is Professor Abraham Van Helsing, "a philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day. He had an iron nerve, a temper of the ice-brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command, and toleration, ... and the kindliest and truest heart that beats."