Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to 'My dear and unfortunate successor'. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of - a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden ...
Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to 'My dear and unfortunate successor'. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of - a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history. In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright - a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the Dracula myth. Deciphering obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions, and evading terrifying adversaries, one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions - a captivating tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful - and utterly unforgettable.
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This was a great read. I would recommend it to any one.
I hope to read more from this writer.
Apr 8, 2011
This book is very well written. it is not for the casual reader however. One is expected to know something about relevant places as well and the history and myth surrounding Vlad Dracul.
The reader's imagination is excited as the story reveals itself.
Jan 5, 2011
A nighttime read
I like to read at night. This is the first book that I had to put down at one point and let it rest for weeks...it was too intense and scary. I can't wait for the movie version to come out.
Mar 9, 2010
Two important questions?
The Historian is an all time favorite. However, notable in many reviews is some expressed disappointment with the ending.
To understand the ending - and better appreciate the entire book - I think it is essential for every reader to understand two things - for whom ("the one reader") - and what purpose - motivated the storyteller to finally "commit to paper" this "cri de coeur".
Feb 8, 2010
I tell friends this book is The DaVinci Code for fans of the Dracula legend. The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons left me longing for a return trip to Europe to follow the trail myself. Similarly, The Historian kindled a desire to follow the roads travelled by the characters in their search for Dracula.
While the book's focus is on Dracula, it is not a horror tale, per se. However, as you read, there may be times when you are tempted to lock the windows and doors and add a string of garlic to your grocery list, just in case.
The characters, quite frankly, were less interesting than the travelogue but someone has to tell the story.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-04-11 Considering the recent rush of door-stopping historical novels, first-timer Kostova is getting a big launch-fortunately, a lot here lives up to the hype. In 1972, a 16-year-old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father's library. The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word "Drakulya," but it's the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," that really pique her curiosity. Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantly provides pieces of a chilling story; it seems this ominous little book has a way of forcing itself on its owners, with terrifying results. Paul's former adviser at Oxford, Professor Rossi, became obsessed with researching Dracula and was convinced that he remained alive. When Rossi disappeared, Paul continued his quest with the help of another scholar, Helen, who had her own reasons for seeking the truth. As Paul relates these stories to his daughter, she secretly begins her own research. Kostova builds suspense by revealing the threads of her story as the narrator discovers them: what she's told, what she reads in old letters and, of course, what she discovers directly when the legendary threat of Dracula looms. Along with all the fascinating historical information, there's also a mounting casualty count, and the big showdown amps up the drama by pulling at the heartstrings at the same time it revels in the gruesome. Exotic locales, tantalizing history, a family legacy and a love of the bloodthirsty: it's hard to imagine that readers won't be bitten, too. Agent, Amy Williams. 325,000 first printing; major ad/promo; 10-city author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2005-09-05 It would take a lot to kill a runaway bestseller like Kostova's debut. Though the audiobook doesn't quite drive a stake through its heart, neither does it do it any favors. With six actors (including Martin Jarvis, Jim Ward, Rosalyn Landor and Robin Atkin Downe) playing twice as many roles, the audio would benefit from a listing of the cast and characters rather than the unhelpful "in order of appearance" credit on the box. Listeners learn about a centuries-long vampire hunt from a historian, Paul (Boutsikaris), as he slowly tells the saga of his covert research to his teenage daughter (Whalley, whose lush whispery voice and conspiratorial attitude is most convincing). Paul's tale is supposed to be a secret, painfully pried from him by his daughter for whose safety he fears, but Boutsikaris recites it in a nonchalant and impersonal way. Most disappointing, though, is the voice of Dracula himself. His accent and delivery is exactly the stereotypical vampire voice used by everyone from Bela Lugosi to Sesame Street's the Count. The eerie swelling string music is a nice touch. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 11). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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