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The Historian Audiobook

The Historian

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2005 Elizabeth Kostova. All Rights Reserved.; (P)2005 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

  • 2006 Book Sense Book of the Year, Adult Fiction

"A bloodthirsty delight....Both literary and scary, this one is guaranteed to keep one reading into the wee hours." (Booklist)
"Along with all the fascinating historical information, there's also a mounting casualty count, and the big showdown amps up the drama by pulling at the heartstrings at the same time it revels in the gruesome. Exotic locales, tantalizing history, a family legacy and a love of the bloodthirsty: it's hard to imagine that readers won't be bitten, too." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Historian is artfully constructed and atmospheric." (Washington Post Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (3740 )
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4.3 (2015 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 05-04-12
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2016

    Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.

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    "I am not a vampire fan, but this was good."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I like historical fiction which is why I picked this, but I actually missed the part of the description that told me it was about vampires. But it was not a silly vampire story, and I am glad I listened to it now. It was an almost historical approach to...what if vampires ARE real? Where would they live? How would you find one? What would the world around them look like? How would they interact in our world? I really did like it.


    What other book might you compare The Historian to and why?

    It really was unique, I have no comparisons right now.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The different reader for each time period was helpful - so I didn't get confused at the jumps back and forth at all. They were good at the eastern European accents without sounding like a bad Dracula movie. Other than that, they faded from my mind - which is what a narrator SHOULD do. I like that.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, not any extreme reaction, except perhaps surprise that I liked it since (again) I am not into vampires.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heidi 05-02-12
    heidi 05-02-12

    I love audible during boring laundry duty. I seem to be drawn to fantasy most likely to get a break from reality. I love my family!

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    "if you like vampire storys, this one rocks!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Its an amazing way to escape your world into a suspenseful strange one.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Historian?

    When the professor was found.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There was more then one


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were several twists and things to keep you guessing.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great lesson! Make laundry and house cleaning fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yankee Bookworm 04-14-12
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    "One of my firsts and one of my favs"

    This was one of my first listens and I am re-listening now. Recommend to those who like historically based mysteries,or vampire lore as opposed to vampire horror. I liked all the voices. Pacing is flawless. While at times I became impatient with the level of detail, for the most part thought it was necessary to set the scene, tone, or context. Beautifully done overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharmane BRIDGEWATER, MA, United States 03-21-12
    Sharmane BRIDGEWATER, MA, United States 03-21-12 Member Since 2016

    Sharmanizzle

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    "Perfect book for an audiobook."
    If you could sum up The Historian in three words, what would they be?

    Riveting historical fiction.


    What other book might you compare The Historian to and why?

    None comes to mind.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked when it would transition between the female and male speaking parts, with the male voice beginning to speak and the female voice saying


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I did want to push on through but I also loved that it was long enough that I could listen to on my commute for most of the month.


    Any additional comments?

    Many books play okay as an audiobook but this one was as if it was written specifically to be an audiobook. I can't really describe how, just I attempted to read this book a couple years ago but got only in a few chapters before I lost interest. As an audiobook it came to life and I know I will be listening to this one over and over for years to come.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brennan United States 03-01-12
    Brennan United States 03-01-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderful"

    This was an amazing book to read - one of my favorites. The audio version is very well done, no hiccups or anything. Definitely worth the money to get this. I have loved the book ever since I bought it, and now I can take it to work with me, rather than sit in silence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina Lakeland, FL, United States 12-08-11
    Gina Lakeland, FL, United States 12-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Historical take on Vlad"
    If you could sum up The Historian in three words, what would they be?

    Good, interminable, retrospective


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the historical view of the author and it gives you a different take on Vlad Dracula.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed Helen, she is strong, and smart.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I think the relationship between Rossi and Helen's mother was heartbreaking and beautiful.


    Any additional comments?

    This story was drawn out in parts and because of this fact I expected a more conclusive ending. I bought this book and put it down several times, thank goodness for Audible, I downloaded it and listened everyday on my way to work. The narrator's really helped the story to move along. All in all it was worth the story and I am glad I listened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Saint Louis, MO, United States 12-01-11
    Justin Saint Louis, MO, United States 12-01-11
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    "Long but worth the wait..."

    I try not to read too much about the books I listen to before I purchase them - so often times I end up having no idea what the book is actually about going into it... This has lead me into TWO "dracula" books this past year! The first one was Justin Cronin's The Passage - OMG! Run - don't walk - to get that book! I'm so excited because that is scheduled to be a trilogy! But I digress...

    The Historian was also a "dracula" book that I didn't know about before listening to it. Not as good as The Passage - but delicious in and of itself... The book was a little long and it did take me a while to get through it... But I enjoyed the ride.

    I always try to buy the longest books with my credits - so I get those for less - and then I purchase the shorter titles I want at the discounted cost. I got The Historian because it was so long - but it wasn't one that I couldn't stop listening to - like previous titles. So it took me some time to get through it and I had to keep coming back to it in between actually reading two other books (of which one was - The Hunger Games - which was utterly amazing!)

    But the actors were very delightful and kept me interested. The book was bogged down in a ton of history - hence the historian - I suppose - so if you don't enjoy a lot of facts and lessons then this book is not for you.

    The story was good and the ending wasn't a let-down (as I find most good books' endings are)... so I would recommend it... with the caveat that it is long and sometimes difficult to stay with - but totally worth the time investment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angeline Piotrowski 11-18-11
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    "Just toooooo long"

    The performance of this audiobook is fantastic and the story premise is really interesting, but it is so long its like being stuck in a loop. Over and over they repeat and review the same information. So much explaining of everything. The story loses momentum over and over again because there is just too much exposition. I get that this is historical fiction and learning the history in this book is fascinating, but it reads more like a college thesis at times than a novel. Just too long. You could fast forward through about 1/3 of the middle and barely miss any plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wistful Angst 11-13-11 Member Since 2003

    Retired secretary

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    "A perfect Stoker World Remade for the 20th Century"

    I liked it. It is a wonderful book, true to the spirit of Stoker's Dracula, with embellishments. The Stoker's book was all about Victorian middle-class society with intense secret dreads and fears, dark folk tales, wolves in the night, respectable and repressed deep emotions with strict social mores and above all epistles. It was formal and 'correct', and very late 19th century atmosphere (fog, mysterious darkness, creepy cities and lonely villages, full of quasi-scientific and academic quality reasoning and research into vague, barely understood new discoveries. I've read Stoker's book many many times simply because I adore the style. Kostova has captured that tone and voice to perfection. If a book could have progeny, then this is Stoker's book Dracula's grandchild. It is very long, and I loved every word of it. I am aware of the haters, and I concede most of their complaints. I don't care. Even though the book passed through many countries, many types of letters and manuscripts, several point-of-view narrators and many time-lines, I was enthralled and eager to follow the paper trail these brave civilian academics set down in true historian/librarian professional research methodology as they heroically sought the most dastardly evil monster that walked for 500 years! (sound of heart beating slowly and darkly, which come to think of it, actually should be the short description of this book) : ) But seriously, I really liked this book. While it is obviously a copy of Stoker's style (in my opinion, a virtuoso performance by the writer), it veers into the world of university professors, specifically history scholars, who use librarian research methods and scientific doctrines in order to discover and solve mysteries from centuries in the past. This particular search is given horror-driven impetus due to Dracula being its subject, and as the story progresses, severe danger to our heroes. The horrors of living under Communism, which is clearly a noir existence even when benign, is touched upon in passing, but the horrors of the Ottoman Empire in warfare as well as of the eastern European autocrat leadership are equally exposed. Eastern European Communism had rather horrific parentage too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bluebird 11-05-11
    Bluebird 11-05-11

    Railroad Gal

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    "I was taken completely by surprise!"
    If you could sum up The Historian in three words, what would they be?

    Suspence, Travel, Mystery


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Historian?

    The beginning, when the girl finds the diary, as it starts the whole plot line.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    They all Fit the book so well. They make you feel it. I felt the characters come alive, and came to know them well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have, but it was too long. I didn't want to put it down, yet I didn't want it to end either.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recomend this book. I would not have normally been interested in the topic, so don't let that dissuade you. This book is now one of my favorites, and I will listen to it again, and again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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