The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian

byElizabeth Kostova

Paperback | September 1, 2009

see the collection Tales of Horror

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An "innovative" (The New Yorker) retelling of the story of Dracula. Told with the flourish and poise of a talented storyteller, Kostova turns the age-old tale into a compelling "late night page-turner" (San Francisco Chronicle)

When a young woman discovers a cache of ancient letters, she is thrown into the turbulent history of her parents' dark pasts. Uncovering a labyrinthine trail of clues, she begins to reconstruct a staggering history of deceit and violence.
Debut novelist Elizabeth Kostova creates 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.
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.
Title:The HistorianFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:720 pages, 8.1 × 5.45 × 1.5 inShipping dimensions:8.1 × 5.45 × 1.5 inPublished:September 1, 2009Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316070637

ISBN - 13:9780316070638


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read! It hooked me from the very first page! It is a really well written and I felt the story come to life as I read it. It's pretty good so read it and enjoy!
Date published: 2019-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books I read this book several years ago. I don't know what compelled me to pick it up and reread it recently, but I'm so glad I did! I didn't remember anything about this book (other than that I loved it), so it didn't feel like a reread. It was like reading this book for the first time. It's a big, chunky book (over 600 pages), but I was pulled into the story right away and read as quickly as I could. I was so absorbed and engrossed in this story. I loved getting lost in it. I loved the characters, the jumps back and forth in time, the sense of history, the thirst for knowledge, and the way it could get quite dark at times. And come on, any story that starts with the discovery of a mysterious book is bound to captivate me! I also loved delving into the history of Vlad the Impaler and the Dracula legend, and showing how historical figures who seem so imposing and unreal at times were, of course, real people. I love history, and I love the way this book brought history to life. Of course, it is fiction, so there are definitely some liberties taken here (I think we can all agree that vampires are not real), but I liked the way the fantastical and the historical were blended together. I wouldn't call this a horror story - it's not scary, but it has some great moments of suspense and a couple of creepy scenes. Mostly it was like a historical bookish thriller mystery with a paranormal element, if that's a thing. The overriding thing that I took away from reading The Historian and from Kostova's writing was the utter, absolute pleasure of language. Kostova has such a way with words, and I really felt such joy reading this book just from the act of reading. The Historian was such a joy to read, and it was a reminder to me that rereading is a valuable, enjoyable activity. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes you feel like you're in history I enjoyed reading this book a couple times. It is an easy read and keeps you wanting to read more!
Date published: 2018-06-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too long I wanted to enjoy this book because of my fascination with Dracula but it turned out to be a long read that made me lose interest
Date published: 2018-06-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It started off This started off so strong and just kind of started going down hill, quick. The end just felt rushed.#plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read If you are willing to commit the time and suspend your disbelief, The Historian will take you on a journey.
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I wanted to like this so much more then I did. The beginning of teh book kept me hooked;However, the second half of the book lagged too slowly for me. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I absolutely loved this book! The new take on Dracula and the history and travels were captivating.
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from So Slow... I thought reading this book would be interesting because of the new angle it gives to the old myth of Count Dracula. Turns out the idea was great, but the execution was not. The book is way too long, way too slow, and the characters are way too bland.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it This was a really great read. I loved it so much
Date published: 2017-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book lover is awe For the library technician that I am, was that a great book! I couldn't read this at night because I got anxious, even if I'm not home alone. I felt like the people were going to jump through the pages to get me. It was also great to learn, though the story, about a part of history I wasn't familiar with. It has everything I could wish for: a mystery, family issues, libraries, travels across the world, fantasy and more. Please read this!
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Author is Genius I enjoyed the novel so much, I recommended it to my mother as well. The Swan Theives by Elizabeth Kostova is one of my very favourite books, read multiple times. Must Read!!!! (both) #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from overall very strong debut Huge fan of how the writer creates atmosphere and blends history and nonfictional elements. The ending didn't quite deliver but overall a great read.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I couldn't finish it While the idea of the story was good, I couldn't finish it. The writing is not my style and every page was a struggle to read.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book This is one of my favourite books. The facts and history spun together with the gripping storyline and mystery make it hard to put down.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! Great read. Read it a few years ago
Date published: 2016-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Passionate scholars fight the real Dracula The Historian is Elizabeth Kostova's long novel about a group of people's search to find and destroy the vampire, Dracula. This is the same Dracula who is the object of Bram Stoker's classic novel, inspired by the historic ruler of Wallachia (next door to Transylvania), resister of the Ottoman Empire, and also known as "Vlad the Impaler." In fact, Stoker's novel is part of this novel's world and is mentioned several times. Readers learn a good bit about the historical Dracula, as well as about life in the Romanian part of eastern Europe, in the course of Ms Kostova's book. The vehicle for the search for Dracula is (mostly) compellingly described scholarly research. Moments of horror punctuate the narrative and lead to a satisfying portrayal of the Impaler himself. The numerous mentions of Bram Stoker's book in her's, shows Ms Kostova's admiration of that novel. She even borrowed from it the plot feature of a group of human allies bonding in their quest to find and destroy a great evil. Some of them even bond romantically, just as in Stoker's novel, contributing to the family relationship of the vampire hunters. Another device the book borrows from Stoker is the narrative consisting of documents written by the characters. These are made up of letters and journals and some are even noted as being inserted by a given character for the sake of providing completeness to the tale. This makes the narrative first-person accounts rotating among several of the main characters, as in Stoker's book. It is not done in a distracting way, however, and the general feel is simply of a first-person story. And that story is told in a modern format, with contemporary sensibilities, and without the "tritely romantic" or patriarchtic aspects of Stoker's book. But the overriding theme and tone of The Historian is the sheer love of books and scholarship, especially historical scholarship. The search for Dracula is mostly carried out in libraries--public libraries and the private libraries of monasteries and of the scholar-vampire hunters. This could make for a dry narrative but it does not in The Historian, which I attribute to the storytelling ability of the author and her obvious passion for books and study. Readers of like mind will appreciate this aspect. Then Ms Kostova pairs that love of scholarship with a love of travel. The characters travel a lot through Europe and we see through them the love of new destinations and the appreciation of exotic locales, cafes, foods, coffees, and wines. This melding of literary appreciation, scholarship, and traveling is what makes The Historian most memorable for me, and it is done--for the most part--without sacrificing the storytelling or slowing the plot. I say, "for the most part," because I think Ms Kostova does carry the travels, library searches, misdirections and dead-ends a bit too far before she reaches her finale. I think she could have cut a lot of that and reduced the length of her book by about one third without any loss to the story. It would have made the book's good parts even stronger. That burdensome excess cost the book a star in my rating. So we follow these library-loving scholars in their search for Dracula through three-fourths of the book before we encounter the five hundred year-old vampire. By that time, we've learned enough of the historic Vlad to get a feel for the kind of person he was, and then the presentation of him as a character complements that knowledge very well. He is presented with all the arrogance and psychopathy of the ruler-impaler, and yet he is also another scholar: Perhaps you do not know that I was something of a scholar. This seems not widely known...I became an historian in order to preserve my own history forever...I am a scholar at heart, as well as a warrior, and these books have kept me company through my long years. Even Dracula's relating of how he became a vampire through his search for the means of achieving immortality, included the vehicle of a book: But recently I met a man, a merchant who has traveled to a monastery in the West. He said there is a place in Gaul, the oldest church in their part of the world, where some of the Latin monks have outwitted death by secret means. He offered to sell me their secrets, which he has inscribed in a book. Appropriate. The Historian is a really neat work of fiction that is on my list of favorites because of its unapologetic love of books and learning, coupled with a stimulating vision of one of history's monsters brought to undead life. If you are a lover of books and appreciate the intellectual stimulation of searching for the resolution of mysteries in the historical record, then you'll find hanging on through The Historian's 700+ pages a rewarding experience.
Date published: 2015-07-16
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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