The Historian

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The Historian

by Elizabeth Kostova

Little, Brown And Company | September 1, 2009 | Trade Paperback

The Historian is rated 3.6026 out of 5 by 78.
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father''s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge 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 inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler''s dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad''s ancient powers-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 relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettable.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 720 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 in

Published: September 1, 2009

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316070637

ISBN - 13: 9780316070638

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book!! I love the vampire genre, but was looking for something fresh so i picked this up because it was so different from the usual. it was such a great read!! i couldn't put it down because of all the suspense and mystery surrounding the characters. i highly reccomend this book to anyone, it is appealing not because of the vampire backdrop but because it is such a well written and incredible book!!!
Date published: 2011-04-20
Rated out of 5 by from Fantastic One of my favourite things to do is settle under a cozy blanket with a hot cup of tea for the afternoon with a good book. The feel of a thick book in my hands excites me and I always hope that I am not let down. This book will not let you down. While the theme of the story has reoccured with the undying tale of Dracula, this book creates a whole new look on the epic tale. I was immersed in this book within minutes of picking it up. The author`s main character is a father telling a story to his child, and I felt like I was the child the whole time. Waiting and looking forward to the next chapter in the story. Perfect for when you have the time to settle in for a few days to an intriguing read.
Date published: 2010-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from New adjective for "boring": The Historian I do have to give praises to Kostova for her incredible research on Vlad the Impaler, however, I was disappointed about the novel's length. I bet if Vlad were alive, he would torture his victims by making them read this novel. It took six chapters (or 42 pages) for Paul to start telling his story! Six! Although the pages were brightly painted with vivid colours, the story dragged on with no end to boredom. There were days where I would look forward in doing my math homework than to read this novel. On the other hand, the first time I read this novel (last year), I loved it only because I was skimming through the lines. At least two-thirds of the book were elegantly plotted, but the climax was rather too short or hard to pick up. I mean, would you calmly talk to a dead man who killed thousands of people for enjoyment? Oh joy. Kostova used beautiful words, but the emotions were monotone. There were even love scenes in the novel that shed no vibe. Additionally, the ending was too fast paced while the unimportant scenes dragged on. All the characters (aside from all the boring historians who had no personality) were filled with awkward characteristics that made them disgustingly lovable. My personal favourite was the weasel-looking librarian who crept in the protagonist's shadows. If he were to exist in reality, I would gladly drink tea with him. Luckily, the vampire in The Historian did not sparkle or fall in love with a human girl. However, neither was he scary. Instead, he was a poor grandpa who roamed in his library reading books and stalking down historians. In the end, The Historian is a great novel to read if you have a lot of time to spare or if you skim through it (like how I did last year). I would personally recommend reading it while listening to the audio because there are chances where you might fall asleep on top of your book. However, DO NOT USE THIS NOVEL FOR ENGLISH ASSIGNMENTS! You might pound your head against the wall trying to read and capture important quotes.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Repetitive and boring The Historian has been widely acclaimed as a thriller, but it failed to thrill me in the least bit. For the most part, it was unnecessarily long and boring, and I found that it took too long to get to the point. While for some books this might be a good thing, it was sadly a coup de grace for a book with an already overused theme (i.e. vampires). The book was a huge cliché, and to me seemed like an amalgamation of one deus ex machina after another. The only saving grace for me were the little folk tales about Dracula and the Ottomans, but that was about the only good part in the whole book and it would only be enjoyable to history fans. I felt that the real fun started about a hundred pages before the end of the book, and even then, the climax was short lived and unfulfilling. An abridged version might have been somewhat less painful and tedious to read. In short, The Historian does a little bit of everything; goth fiction, thriller, detective fiction, historical thriller, and adventure, but it fails to impress in any of those areas. Only read if compulsory e.g. for a class project.
Date published: 2010-06-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from COMPLETELY BORING thank god it's not just me-this is tedious-there is no suspense-there are text books more interesting on the history involved here-the characters are one dementional and the book is just one hop from one library to the next-i will not read another of the authors books-i don't like the way she writes-it's just conversation after conversation about what someone wrote in one book after another-if you love history or vampires, there are much better books to read-dull
Date published: 2010-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What obsessions would Dracula have? And could you be vulnerable because you share that obsession? Elizabeth Kostova presents a fascinating and chilling story of Dracula. Often the obsession of readers and fans, the world's leading vampire gets to have his own obsessions this time: knowledge, particularly of a certain kind. It makes historians in particular vulnerable, drawing his attention to them, based on their shared thirst for knowledge. In this instance, it is a whole family that becomes caught up in Dracula's world. I took my time reading this: Kostova writes elegantly and at her own pace. There is beauty here, and passion. But no melodrama. Elegance and intelligence. A smart read.
Date published: 2010-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good effort This book had so much promise. it could have been the "da vinci code" of dracula books. but although it kept my interest for the first ~300 pages after that i was just looking forward to the end; which was dissapointing. the last 20 pages are used to solve all the problems and provide a discription of the aftermatth, but it is abrupt and lacks the detail that was often overdone in the rest of the book. The discription of the the characters after the climax was excellent though, I enjoyed and appreciated the authors choice of fate for all the characters, some predictable some tragic in a different way. Great premise, interesting writing style but lacking in excitement to get the reader to the end and be satisfied with the outcome.
Date published: 2010-03-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Besides the fact that there are vampires in this story.... The Historian was one of the choices for my school's grade 11 University English Independent Study Unit; precisely the reason I chose to read it. The summary made the novel out to be one of the most outstanding, unique, thrilling stories. I am quite interested in history and after reading the summary I had thought I had found the Holy Grail of historical fiction novels. My mistake. After a good 100 pages into the novel I felt myself hoping that it would pick up in pace. Wrong again. Elizabeth Kostova would include a series of events which I assumed (as most readers) would lead up to a most thrilling climax. Instead the novel never did hit its peak and continued to drone on, I'm sorry to say, throughout the whole novel. After many enticing events, the story would die down in suspense (though there wasn't much to begin with) and continue to maintain a pattern of exciting (if you can say that) events followed by anti-climax. The novel was also narrated by two, not one, characters, which proved to be very confusing to follow. With the characters, the story also fluctuated between different decades and, moreover, both of the characters were continually changing countries which eventually became a nightmare to try to comprehend. Though the plot was difficult to follow in the first place, Elizabeth Kostova literary characteristics invited her to write in the same style as a history textbook; dates and all. The reader was forced to decipher all the historical background in order to understand to the current events of the novel. Since I do not usually read history texts in my spare time, I found Kostova's writing style to be most dry. I found that I had to concentrate too much on the settings, past events and historical information of the story to be able to enjoy the story itself. The novel did entice me at one point when romanticism was introduced between two of the main characters. Of course, Kostova chose not to develop this relationship, which begs the question: Why introduce it in the first place? Despite hardly being able to comprehend a great deal of the novel, I continued to hope for a climactic ending in order for the book to redeem itself. I was truly disappointed when I closed the novel without having been satisfied with the ending I was hoping for. Instead, the story continued much like a newspaper: all facts, little story. I suggest you chose this novel if you are truly, deeply passionate about ancient history (you might be able to get more out of the novel than I did) or if you have already read all of the other novels available to you.
Date published: 2010-01-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from My Opinion Historians are searching libraries, monasteries and countries of Europe in search for information and confirmation on the remains of dracula (with alot of obstacles.) I found this to be very long & tedious read, lacking suspense. Parts of it flowed, other parts were very choppy.The only thing that really held my interest was I wanted to find out Rossi's outcome. That chapter, which could have been heart wrenching was not. Characters were very flat and one dimensional and in my opinion not at all interesting. I had heard so many great things about this and was very dissappointed . This was a very easy book fo me to put down and not want want to pick back up. I have made a promise to myself about finishing books I start ,which is the only reason I went back to it. On the upside the research gone into this was extensive and is to be acknowledged ,thus 2 stars.
Date published: 2009-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creepily Good The Historian is an epic novel about a young woman who goes on a search to find her missing father, who himself went on a journey to discover the secrets behind letters from his mentor and a mysterious book about Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler who Bram Stoker based his character Dracula on. Guided by her father’s own letters, she travels across Eastern Europe, Budapest and Istanbul looking for clues as to where her father may be and to uncover whether Dracula exists in this modern world. Once again I am reviewing a first novel. I wanted to read this book ever since it first came out. I have a huge fetish for vampire stories and folklore as you will come to see in many of the books I review. And what could be a better vampire story then the one that started it all, the origins of the vampire legend, Dracula. This story is epic in proportion. Spanning decades and countries. There are a few gruesome and creepy parts, of course. But mostly this novel is more of a mystery, a mystery that keeps you turning pages to find out what will happen next. At times the dialogue can be a bit hard to fully understand when it comes to hidden texts and codes, something akin to the DaVinci Code. But we need that to unravel the mystery and carry us to the next point. Story **** Characters *** Readability *** Overall rating ****
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Loved how she moved seamlessly from the narrative of a teenage girl, to her father, and to her father's mentor. A must read for fans of the vampire myth. I must admit that I found the ending a little bit anti-climactic.
Date published: 2009-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from When you feel disgusted inside... The past two weeks I have been sleep deprived trying to get through the Historian. It has been put to rest about twenty minutes ago and although I have great respect for the author, I would not recommend this book. From a structural perspective it goes back and forth, sometimes neglecting to tell the reader whose perspective you are being told. The best part of this book, also the worst part is the plot. I am not saying this book was in any way bad, it is a masterpiece in some ways. I have never been so unsettled by a book that I become unable to sleep, or physically ill. Both was managed by this book. I study History myself and could see the journey these people took, knowing that I would've done similar things. So when things occur to them I felt very uneasy. I also love vampire literature, and have for quiet some time. This is the original reason I picked up the book. I must tell everyone is if that is the reason you want to read it put the book down. I will never enjoy reading another vampire novel. Historical figures like Vlad the Impaller and Elizabeth Bathorey (the Bloody Countess, who's story will be coming out shortly) did horrible things to humans. The idea that people who can commit these live forever is truly terrifying. Although Anne Rice, Stephanie Myer, and many others write about the Byronic vampire, that creature didn't exist in history. These horrible people did. By picking up this book, I have a greater respect for my history. Though I admit a slight disgust with myself that I've allowed an indulgence in a "vampire culture" which stems from terrifying people who I would never want to come in contact with. This book is for people with historical minds, as it is a historical novel, with a great deal of non-fiction in there. It's impressive piece of literature, that I hope never to pick up again.
Date published: 2009-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Highly enjoyable! I really enjoyed this novel! I thought the writing was perfect, the characters believable and the plot was excellent. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because I felt it dragged a bit in parts. Overall, excellent novel!
Date published: 2009-06-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A welcome addition to the vampire folklore So this book is quite long, just over 900 pages and maybe it drags a teeny bit sometimes.....however I still think it's a great read. If you are a fan of history, travel and mysteries you'll love it. And if you're a vampire book person, I think this unique twist on the "vampire story" will surprise and interest you. The story is told from our narrator, a woman who's name we never know, looking back on the mysteries that her father, mother, and many other people went through over years to find out the truth about Dracula. And yes also if vampires are real and if he's is still alive. What I liked about the book was the way Kostova describes everything to detail, so you get swept up and can really visualize all the locations the characters go to, London, Bulgaria, Romania, just to name a few. I also liked that you do get answers about vampires. The only thing is that it is a longer book and sometimes I wanted it to go a little faster but overall that's it's only flaw. Read this book, it's worth it!
Date published: 2009-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic For all those vampire lovers out there this book is for you! It tells the story of a woman searching through history for the true story of Dracula- or the man the legend is based on, Vlad the Impaler. Be careful reading this at night if you are alone at home!! Lots of suspense and fright!
Date published: 2009-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fun Read Traveling through eastern Europe...on a search for Dracula...into one monastery after another, churches, mysterious characters....this was the perfect read over the Christmas season.
Date published: 2009-02-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring! For a Dracula-themed novel, it's hardly "gripping" nor "breathtaking". Nothing that happens in it gripped me nor took my breath away. Granted it is intelligently written, but it's also verbose, long-winded and reads like a doctoral dissertation on the 15th century. I have a BIG problem with the suspense factor in this novel (it's a vampire novel, naturally I expected it to be suspenseful). There are moments in the book when the suspense finally heightens and right when you turn the page in extreme anticipation, Kostova diverts to giving another one of her annoying travelogues and historical musings. And she does this every so often. It became so frustrating to me that halfway through the novel I was already rooting for Dracula to appear and suck the life out of the main characters. I give Kostova credit for her thorough research and intricate writing but I have to say that THE HISTORIAN is overhyped, painfully long and excrutiatingly boring. And that's my two cents.
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful... Wonderful... Genius! This novel has been probably the best one I've read! It's deep, dark, mysterious, beautiful and exciting. If that's posible! Kostova takes you to all these wonderful and beautiful places in search of Vlad the Impaler's origins and whereabouts. She also takes you traveling in time, to different periods of time. All the characters in it are deep and intriguing. It is beautifully written, not very simple but not complexe either. While reading it, you'll wish you were traveling around and searching with the characters. The only thing that I complained about in the begining, was the length of the book. It's a looong story. So this is definately not a "fast read". AND, even if you're a very fast reader, I do recomend you take your time to absorb all the beauty of the story and enjoy it. Even though I found it to be quite long, funny thing is that when I finished it, I wanted more! I'm hoping Kostova will send another great novel our way!
Date published: 2009-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good book I trully enjoyed reading The Historian.
Date published: 2009-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my most favorite books!! This book was fantastic. It had the Dracula myth mixed with the life of a historian. It's hard to explain what I loved about it, it had mystery and puzzles, and lots of great characters. It's worth reading if you love history. AV
Date published: 2008-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova Published 2005 by Little, Brown and Company Time Warner Book Group This is not the kind of book I'd normally grab. I read the synopsis and glanced through it, checking out the quality and style of writing. Still, it did not really grab my attention, but I thought what the heck? It’s on sale for a measly few buck so I haven’t lost much if I don’t like it after closer inspection. So glad I did! I brought it home and dumped it with a stack of other books and then forgot it. But then one morning I spotted it and felt the need to give it at least a cursory read through. When I finally did pick it up to read, I was very pleasantly surprised! This is a fantasy fiction story and the author’s debut novel. Below are a couple of excerpts from the book: ********************* Late on night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge 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 inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history. The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known - and to a centuries long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. My dear and unfortunate successor: It is with regret that I imagine you, whoever you are, reading the account I must put down here. The regret is partly for myself - because I will surely be at least in trouble, maybe dead, or perhaps worse, if this is in your hands. But my regret is for you also, my yet-unknown friend, because only by someone who needs such vile information will this letter be read. If you are not my successor in some other sense, you will soon be my heir - and I feel sorrow at bequeathing to another human being my own, perhaps unbelievable, experience of evil. Why I myself inherited it I don’t know, but I hope to discover that fact, eventually - perhaps in the course of writing to you or perhaps in the course of further events… ***************************** Though not normall the sort of read I can get into, I found myself engrossed in the story in very short order! It is a great read - not much action - but if you like books that are more plot and character oriented, then I recommend giving this one a go!
Date published: 2008-09-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mediocre; did not live up to expectations Whilst it was an alluring and appealing book, based on the dark and heavy cover, excerpts, and summary, I found the book to drag on without much mystery or tangibly good storyline and plot. I was expecting something similar to The DaVinci Code, and while The Historian aims to provide the reader with such kind of mystery and intrigue, the story remains bland.
Date published: 2008-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read !! I noticed this book a couple of times at a local Chapters, picked it up to see what it was about. The letter on the back cover starts, "My dear and unfortunate successor". Well, that 's what got me and I'm glad it did. Iam very fortunate to have read such a wonderful story. I highly recommend this book to anyone out there that like's a book to grip you from beggining to end.
Date published: 2008-06-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dracula Defanged Picked this up at the local Chapters for $5.99. Some friends had recommended it. Several of the staff members at Chapters liked it as well. I realized after that almost everyone who liked this liked The Da Vinci Code. That explains a lot. The book's not THAT bad. But like Dan Brown, Kostova seems to take no joy in her use of language. Lots of cheesy moments here (there's a "single tear drop" line that really made me consider reading on). People move "languidly," look "stoically," step "precariously." Don't they tell you to lose the "ly"s on the first day of creative writing class? And Kostova could use a few lessons on the subtle art of foreshadowing. There are twists here not "revealed" until later but so transparently foreshadowed that no attentive reader could be remotely surprised. And if you're going to move back and forth between time and characters, make sure the narratives on both sides of the transition are interesting. I found myself caring very little for the daughter. And how did everyone find time to write so much when they were all on the run? And someone get this author an editor! Could be half the length. Too many sunsets described, too much background and not enough character. And (Spoiler Alert) Dracula, when he finally appears is very uninteresting and very unfrightening. The ending seems to indicate an inevitable sequel. I won't be reading it, no matter what the bargain bin price. Time is too precious. That being said, I did hang on for the entire 600+ pages. Must be something compelling about it. Can't think of what it is, though.
Date published: 2008-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from DRACULA STILL ALIVE?! this book will drag you in the history and plot twist, even after 100 pages, its hard to put down, you wanna read throught the night and its very well written about the history of dracula with a modern twist, very well written, recommended to anyone who likes a good read
Date published: 2008-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super book! Well written. Is Dracila still ALIVE? Elizabeth Kostova does a great job of capturing your interest in her well researched novel.
Date published: 2008-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this book This book is absolutely intense. I loved every moment I spent reading it. It just sucks you in from the very start. I recommend it to anyone who loved The Da Vinci Code. It has the same type of mystery, but more validity to the history behind the story.
Date published: 2008-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A modern classic If you want big hairy monsters that destroy Tokyo then go rent a cheap movie or read a bad book. If you want true suspense and to be absolutley blown away with great writing then 'The Historian' is for you. Ms. Kostova penned this gem over 10 years and her patience pays off with a modern day classic. Enjoy!
Date published: 2007-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for the average History buff! All in all I throughly enjoyed this book. However, I do think there are some reader requirements if you're wanting to read this book. Since this book does have some heavier reading parts, where it can sometimes feel like you're reading a textbook. I think the only way you're going to make it through this book and enjoy it is if you have a interest in the history behind it. In the end I enjoyed it greatly but I did feel a bit like I was drowning in unneeded text at times.
Date published: 2007-12-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring and pretentious AKA A love letter to libraries I was jazzed. The Dracula Code, they said. This would be awesome. An intelligent thriller that didn't insult the intelligence of its audience (I'm looking at you, Dan Brown) But no. That was not to be. This is a long, boring novel about stuffy academics in tweed jackets (with elbow patches) running around East Europe and sneezing in libraries while pouring over dusty yellowed papers. No castles, no seductresses, no villains and no danger! It's a novel of false documents, layer upon layer of false documents, kind of like Stoker's Dracula. Except this is boring. It's a journal within a journal within a journal. I'm not joking. Imagine what that does to the punctuation. Now imagine that for 500 pages. Yeesh! It just dragged on. And on. And on. This needs to be tightened and made leaner. The scariest part of Stoker's Dracula was the ease in which Dracula assimilated himself into society (creating a racist subtext in the novel, I have to admit). But Dracula is a non-entity in this novel. He barely makes an appearance and he exudes no sexuality, no danger, no seduction, no thrills. Let me spoil the climax. After visiting every library in East Europe, the main characters meet Dracula in a castle and he shows them - I kid you not - his own library! Kostova has written a novel about academic research, and made little to no effort to make it interesting. It's as exciting as watching your dad read a book quietly in his comfy chair.
Date published: 2007-11-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from dragging and way too long Well I do not share the critic's evaluation of this book; I find that the story depicted in this novel could have been cut in half and still I would have said it is dragging. I found way to much descriptive boring narrations; it was like reading a dairy of some kind. In my humble opinion, if you write about Dracula you need lots of action and less rhetoric. But again it may not have been the author's style or intention to describe grueling details. On this, I will let the readers make their own decision about this novel
Date published: 2007-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal! This book had me hooked from the first chapter on. Elizabeth Kostova not only educates the reader, but unfolds an amazing story full of mystery, murder and surprisingly love. I couldn't put it down! If your a history nut, and you like a twist, this book is a DEFINITE READ!
Date published: 2007-07-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't bother I was really looking forward to this book, and hunted through piles of sales books at Chapters to get it. What a disappointment. There was no suspense, just a lot of fanciful dracula imagery and running around eastern europe. This book was just too corny and had too many 'coincidental' moments to be at all suspenseful or believable. I am an avid reader and found this one hard to pick up and finish and then once I got to the end was very disappointed.
Date published: 2007-07-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from YAWNzzzzzz!!!! This book crashed and burned 100 pages in....could barely make it to the end without ripping my eyes out!!
Date published: 2007-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! This was an absolutely amazing novel to read. At first it started off a bit confusing as I wasn't sure about the characters, but after the first couple of chapters, I became addicted. The cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter made it difficult for me to put down and continue my reading the next night! Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those who are interested in history and fantasy combined into one novel.
Date published: 2007-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting It took a little while to get completely immersed in the book, but once it happened, I couldn't put it down. The history is good, the writing is good, and the story is amazing. I would reccomend this to anyone that has any interest in Dracula.
Date published: 2007-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jaw-dropping! This was the best book I've ever read. It reminded me in several ways of The Da Vinci Code, the way the story plays with history, the European locales, and the suspense. The Da Vinci Code wasn't creepy though, and this one was. As I sat reading it one day the telephone rang and I almost leaped off the couch in fright! I agree with some of the other reviewers about the beauty of the writing. I just wanted to read slowly and savour every word. This was a book I simply did not want to end.
Date published: 2007-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Only The Best Book Ever! This book was the best book that I have ever read. I could not put it down for a minute. I was up until 4 in the morning reading it. I found that the history that she impemented was quite facinating and the suspense kept me wanting more. It has been a long time since I read a book that had made me want more. I can't wait to see what Elizabeth comes out with next.
Date published: 2007-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Immersed I picked up The Historian, thinking it would be a boring read, but in fact, it has become of the best reads I have in a long time. The author sweeps you away into a mystery that leaves you hanging at every breath....
Date published: 2007-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A thoroughly enjoyable read It is rare to find a novel in which just "the reading of it" is so enjoyable. I slowly savoured every word. I really loved how the supense built up as the story continued with short bursts of action followed by the build up to the next event. The method of telling the story through a collection of letters so that you were reading a story within a story really gave the feeling that you were digging though history.
Date published: 2006-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book was awesome. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery and a good read.
Date published: 2006-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding!!! This wickedly clever and chilling tale takes you through old Europe and beyond. This is absolutely one of the greatest stories I've been lucky enough to read. I had to meet Elizabeth at a book reading last year to tell her so. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2006-11-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from i did not like it at all As a Romanian and Transylvanian native i did not like the book...I think she makes Vlad Tapes look as a monster a heartless cruel ruler of our country ...and that is not true ...he was one of the best rulers that keep the country from being captured by the ottomans , he did what he had to do. He did not impale innoccent people just theifs, beggars and criminals..I think he was a great ruler that deserves a lot more respect and appreciation .I got the book thinking i'm going to have a great read but i was wrong.
Date published: 2006-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic and rivetting Kostova writes with a delectable combination of grace and gut wrenching suspense that made it difficult to put this lengthy novel down. She masterfully weaves fiction and nonfiction together to create compelling characters operating in a race against one of the most infamous villains of Western literature amid an evocative and evolving chronological and geographic landscape. I highly recommend this book, which I devoured in three days, despite its intimidating 656 page girth.
Date published: 2006-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If You Love A Thrill This chilling novel includes a sureal atmosphere that talks the reader into beleiving it to the end.
Date published: 2006-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good historical Intrigue This book was very enjoyable. I was impressed by the research and historical references and I very much enjoyed that aspect of the book. My greatest criticism of this novel would be the ending. It seemed somewhat abrupt and not very well thought out. This is a VERY long book and to have taken the time to read the whole story, I expected more from the ending. The writer could have edited some of the body of the story to reach a better developed ending.
Date published: 2006-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved it! I knew I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it. I was sucked in. I liked the characters. I loved the history, the scenery, and the suspense. It wasn't scary, I didn't expect Dracula to lurch out from under my bed, but I HAD to find out how it ended. It did drag a little in the middle, there's only so much recounted fake documents a girl can read, but over all I really enjoyed it. I couldn't read it in a day, like the Dan Brown books (I like those too) this book made me slow down and enjoy it.
Date published: 2006-06-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Overrated I was so excited when I received this book as a gift as I had heard so many good things about it and it sounded like a tantalizing read. The historical details in this novel were dizzying--I can't even imagine how much research and hard work went into all of the background minutiae. Unfortunately the plot was rather slow moving, and for a story focussing on both Dracula (the vampire of legend) and the infamous Vlad the Impaler, the book lacked action or excitement and honestly, it did not even have much intrigue (just a few people who mysteriously go missing!). I did read the book until the very end, and I found that the much anticipated climax that I had patiently read so many pages to get to, was over so quickly that my reaction was, "that was it?!" This isn't a bad book by any means, and it was obviously written by an extremely intelligent author but I wouldn't be in a hurry to pick it up again or recommend it to others.
Date published: 2006-06-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too slow -sometimes even tedious This was a good story but it took so long in the telling that it is definitely not one of those books that 'you can't put down'. Scenes were slow in revealing themselves - not in a suspenseful way - just very slow making the reader at times become impatient instead of intrigued. Characters were at some points interesting but at the same time a little dull.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fabulous I enjoyed this novel very much. It had beautiful descriptions of very ancient and unfamiliar parts of the eastern European countries. At the same time, there was a very indepth development of the characters and plot. It has a great mix of vampire lore and historical facts. Overall it was a great book, very intersting twists in the plot.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Read Completely engrossing - a huge success for a first novel. All details and background are there, characters are engaging. Couldn't put it down - and that's my criteria for an excellent novel. The dust jacket design is intriguing, as well. I'm looking forawrd to a sequel - loved the surprise ending. Went out & bought Bram Stoker's "Dracula", simply out of curiosity. That was a good read, too, but I like "The Historian" better. Definitely worth the price of the book. I have recommended it to all my reading pals.
Date published: 2006-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderfully entertaining I believe one of the challenges with this great book is it requires patience and imagination. It is not rushed from scene to scene like an Indiana Jones movie, it lingers on the moments and gives the reader time to escape to feel and enjoy each moment/event the work is describing. Kevin Costner describes his style of movie directing in "Open Range” as giving the viewer value for their money, not just sweeping a panorama of the landscape; instead he lingers to allow the viewer to take in the surrounding scenery to understand more completely how this effects the characters of the film and allow the viewer to participate with greater scope of understanding/imagination; which equals greater participation. When this quality is given to a book it does not make it an easy reader for the stagnant mind. If you enjoy understanding the environment (social, emotional, etc.) of the characters and how this impacts their emotions/actions to a greater degree; provides a history or perhaps, figurative relationship with the character; and are able to understand how full a dimension this creates, then this is a spectacular book and highly recommended by me!
Date published: 2006-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great This book is fantastic. Maybe it is because I am a history junkie, but this book fills every qualification I need. Although, if you want a quick and easy read, go for some other book, because this one makes you think.
Date published: 2006-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely I greatly enjoyed this book and do not understand the bad reviews it has gotten. Although the tale is LONG, it is beautifully written and the pictures that are painted of such cities as Budapest, Istanbul, and Amsterdam made me want to visit them. This is a talented author, and I hope that she will write another. Without spoiling the book (we already know its about vampires...) the author keeps these shadowy, mysterious beings as exactly that. We never find out too much about them, their mysteries are never explained, and we realize afterwards we don't need them to be. What you don't know and have to guess at is a lot more frightening then what you know for sure sometimes. It was a marvelous book, in my opinion, and I found it to be MUCH more entertaining then the Da Vinci Code, although admittedly a little slower. A lovely book. Worth reading!
Date published: 2005-12-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed I bought this book based on the fact that it received rave reviews in all the papers and looked to be a great adventure based on the jacket. Unfortunately I found out that it is basically nothing but alot of fluff with a story that has you waiting for a climax that never comes. The visual images that are conjured up, thanks to the author's descriptive style, are the only positive, unfortunately all the stunning images in the world mean nothing if the story isn't as captivating. Overall a huge disappointment.
Date published: 2005-12-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Gad! Vlad, bad, mad I gave up after a couple of hundred pages. I cared so little about the characters, and so much of the book seemed like encyclopedic entries that I'd read before. No atmosphere of evil, just words that tell us that we should be afraid, be very afraid.... I kept listening for the Bah-bah-bum sound effects. Read The Egyptologist instead.
Date published: 2005-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from absolutely amazing! Even though it took FOREVER to finish and the story lingered on and on, I found the historian to be overly captivating. It left a certain impact on me (though negative) but that's what every book should come down to... be it a negative or a positive impact, it should leave something behind. I treasure this book and love having it in my library. Definately not recommended to people who do not like reading up on medieval history. Otherwise, The Historian is a MUST READ!
Date published: 2005-10-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Does this book ever end? I heard about this book and read all the rave reviews, and from reading the jacket I was intrigued - so I set out to conquer this thick book. It kept me interested at first, but lost my attention about half way through. The story drags on and on - I don't know what all the hype is about. Overall, it is an ok read,but definitely did not live up to expectations.
Date published: 2005-10-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So much crap over so many pages This book was a huge disappointment! I had read the hype and the story sounded like it had potential to be very exciting, but I just reached my 300th page and I am still waiting for the real story to start...and by real story I mean any kind of excitment that would make me want to read more. I am not sure I am going to be able to read the rest of The Historian because I have already invested tons of time trying to navigate this door stop of a novel and not sure I want to spend any more of my precious time. Perhaps it will make nice winter firewood, because we all know fire kills vampires and I hope the same is true about this soul sucking novel. Cheers
Date published: 2005-10-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Historian I was very disappointed by this book after reading and hearing all of the hype. The writing is very clumsy and the overall feeling is that this book was written by a complete novice with no natural writing skills whatsoever. What is going on in the literary world? How can such a bad book gain so much praise and media coverage? How can so many readers actually think this is a good book! Gee, maybe I should write a novel. It seems as though anyone can do it and be a success if they have the right connections.
Date published: 2005-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING BOOK! I absolutely loved this book. I saw the 20/20 episode on this book, and I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it before. The book 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker was great, and it began my interest in vampires and Dracula. This book sparked that interest again. This book was really good! It mixed truth and fiction, and I loved that. It made me wonder if Vlad Dracula really is a vampire.... they say his tomb really is empty! Someone should dig it up and see. I would!=P That's freakyy. I read this book whenever I had a free chance and just finished it. The ending gave the idea that Dracula might not be dead (since the heroine found another book with a dragon). Awesome book! Read it!
Date published: 2005-09-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I bought this book after seeing a program on CNN and then reading the synopsis and reviews on this site. I am so far extremely disappointed. The writing is similar in quality to a Harlequin romance. Lots of words but little substance. The characters are unbelievable and not very likeable or interesting. The authors attempts to write the story in different time frames is awful and hard to follow. I can't imagine wasting any more time to complete the remaining 300 pages. I'd much rather reread the earlier Anne Rice books. I'll be returning this book tomorrow.
Date published: 2005-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling An amazing book. The plot is so rich with history that I can piece the puzzles together quite easily. The ending was fine but it lacked surprise. Still the middle was great and the beginning was good enough to get me to the middle. I would recommend it to most people.
Date published: 2005-09-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An excellent read This is a wonderfully written novel that is rich in detail, history and mythology. I savoured the author's words from the start of the book; however, I must indicate that I was rather disappointed with the ending. I found it a bit abrupt and lacking substance; but despite this weakness, I highly recommend this book for its fantastic and gripping tale.
Date published: 2005-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than just a story,but a literary brilliance What can I say about this book. It will take your breath away literallly. It was the most beautifully written book I have ever read. I would argue its poetry. As you read the words crash solftly like rocks in teh vast ocean. WOW!! WOW! is all there is to say. This is one book worth to get in hardcover and keep on your book shelves forever. One to pass down to your children too.
Date published: 2005-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read.... Like prior reviews posted - is a great book, and hard to put down. Mythology, history, superstition, and a unique approach to the writing make a good read.
Date published: 2005-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from an excellent novel This book has often been compared to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code but I found this to be a much better book. It is written assuming that the reader has some degree of intelligence and at times the plot can be highly detail-oriented switching between multiple time-frames and locations. With evocative descriptions, plausible characters and a great deal of historical research, this book really was a compelling page turner and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for an involved and intelligent read.
Date published: 2005-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read It took me 3 1/2 days to read it, but I couldn't stop until I had finished the book! I would never compare it with Dan Brown's, Da Vinci Code but rather Bram Stoker's original, nail bitting, Dracula. In, The Historian I once again had the opportunity to visit old places long forgotten thanks to the attention to detail the author gives her story. This is truly a, must read for Dracula fans!
Date published: 2005-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Historian People should stop comparing this book to the DaVinci Code. Brown can write 'brain candy' that is entertaining but, The Historian is by far more intelligent in it's characters and story telling. An entertaining story and leaves you wanting more when it is done. I loook forward to Kostova's next attempt and only hope it doesn't take as long to write as this one did. I can't wait ten years!!!!
Date published: 2005-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not 1st class literature but gripping nonetheless I found this book's greatest strength lay in its use of plot devices and structure. Although many hail Kostova's work as something akin to The Da Vinci Code, I can safely say that The Historian pales in comparison to Brown's masterful integration of history and fictional adventure. At times, Kostova is awkward in her historical allusions, while in comparison, Brown maintains something of a natural fluidity in his use of allusions. I must admit however to being unable to put this book down. As I've mentioned, Kostova has the ability to grab the reader from the first chapter, propelling you easily to the last page. She certainly deserves credit for being able to weave a masterful plot, and ending the adventure in a way which I felt was tasteful for a work of this genre.
Date published: 2005-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Where hype meets hoopla! This book as been released with plenty of hype as the next Da Vinci Code or Dracula meets the Code. All of this is really unfair, and has caused a big split in readers reaction to the book when it does not meet their expectations. One thing is certain, no one is lukewarm in their reaction to Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. The difference seems to be between those who where expecting historical fiction and those who want it to be the next X-files or Comic book rendition of Drac. To really understand this book one must understand the author has written fictional history mixing the legend of Vlad Tepes with that of Count Dracula. Much of the book is not page turner material, there is a lot of set-up and historical info that lingers and might have been shortened, but there are some who enjoy this sort of info (me included to a point). Even the more typical thriller sections are not off the meter scary or thrilling but they are interesting and keep the reader engaged. One gripe I had, is that I was confused a few times by the authors sudden shifts back in forth to different time periods, very disorienting! I visited Romania about 5 years ago, and visited Vlad's ancestral home. The author's description of the place and the feeling she relates are perfect and true, right down to the spititual elements. All in all this is a very good debut Novel, that should spark controversy similar to the Da Vinci Code, and I expect a long run on the best seller list (even though it is not quite deserved) Speaking of Debut Novels, check out the undergound thriller hit A Tourist in the Yucatan.
Date published: 2005-07-02

– More About This Product –

The Historian

by Elizabeth Kostova

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 720 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 in

Published: September 1, 2009

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316070637

ISBN - 13: 9780316070638

About the Book

When a teenage girl discovers a medieval book in her diplomat father's library, he reluctantly confesses an unsettling story: his involvement, 20 years earlier, in a search for his mentor, who disappeared from his office only moments after confiding his certainty that Dracula--Vlad the Impaler--was still alive.

From the Publisher

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father''s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge 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 inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler''s dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad''s ancient powers-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 relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettable.

About the Author

Elizabeth Kostova graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. Her second novel,The Swan Thieves,will be published in October 2009.

Editorial Reviews

"Kostova''s vampire is no campy Lugosi knockoff....Blending history and myth, Kostova has fashioned a version so fresh that when a stake is finally driven through a heart, it inspires the tragic shock of something happening for the very first time." -Newsweek
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