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
"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)
I don't mind history, and I don't mind 26 hour long books. This, however, is the slowest book that I have ever actually finished. This is NOT a book about Vampires, or Dracula - heck, it's barely about its own plot. It is a book about how great libraries are. If you are fond of old, musty books, this is a must-read for you. If you prefer a gripping story, give this one a pass.
I'd like someone else to take a stab at writing this story, because it could have been so good.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I think that there is a lot to recommend in this audiobook. It was well produced and the narration was excellent. The book was well written and long with multiple arcs. This may not appeal to all but it does to me. There was a good deal of history, no pun, and geography spanning the pages. I diligently followed the characters but was no emotionally invested in any of them. It was a book about the history but not exactly the origin or final disposition of Dracula's vampirism. Many reviewers have commented on the unsatisfying ending of the book and I have to agree here. For a book of this length, I believe it should have fulfilled something more than just an enticement to read the next in a series of the author's books though I do not even know if a sequel is planned. I enjoy long, complex books that are often part of a series but I do believe that each entry in a series should have a certain finality in itself and be able to some extent be a work capable of standing on its own. As well written as I believe this book to be, it really does not stand on its own.
This book held me spellbound for hours every day that I listened to it. I was skeptical of all the
"vampire-hype" books- but this was a gorgeous aural surprise.
Characters were so well written and the journey of the book was truly gripping and well written!
Highly recommended by a friend- I will always heed her recommendations.
I didn't know what to really expect. This was a great mix of history and fantasy. Lots of detail, but worth the entire read.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Historian, yes it is long, but I relished every minute of the story. I had this book in my wish list for a long time before I downloaded it, primarily because of the negative reviews. I am so happy that I finally decided to listen to it! Also the production is very well done and the narration is well done too.
If you've read anything by Jean Auel, you'll have a good idea of the pace of this book. The story is wonderful, but I don't need to know every single detail about the surroundings to get the mood of a particular scene. You might find yourself dozing a few times, so be careful about listening to this while driving.
Granted, it started out a little slow, and if you are looking for horror a la Stephen King or Dean Koontz, you won't like it. If you liked the treasure hunt aspects of the Davinci Code, you'll love The Historian.
This story is intricate and has about 4 levels of stories within stories and some of it is very ancient, and I personally could not put it down (stop listening, rather). I have no idea whether any of it is accurate or is even supposed to be, but it is fiction and the author weaves a very good story. Not terribly frightening, but definitely eerie. I can see how others might find it too long, but I was sorry to see it end.
I would love to see more stories like this one, weaving ancient legends with historical events and secret societies leading into the modern.
The Historian kept my commute almost enjoyable for at least a few weeks!
I've tried several times to stick with this story, and I've finally given up about 5 hours before the end. Maybe I'll go back to it sometime. Clearly this is a first novel. It's more like a travelogue combined with reading myriad letters. I picked this because of its length -- long stories with extensive character development and historical relevance are my favorites; however, this story could have been told using 75% less words. Lots of repetition doesn't work for me.
Apparently this is Kostova's first book, and being so it is actually quite amazing, but at the same time the story struggles. The story is strung out over three timelines, so it can get a little confusing or frustrating jumping in and out of the different "voices". Way too often the main characters, who are following and trying to solve a mystery, stumble upon coincidences that are needed to move the story forward to the next scene. At one point, the characters even mention how "lucky" they are that they keep coming across coincidences that help them. Another weakness in the plotting is that the character about whom the whole mystery revolves distributed a whole bunch of resources (maps) to locate the mystery, and at the same time is trying to prevent people who find the resources from locating the mystery. Lastly, Kostova must have done a ton of research on Eastern European history, and she puts it all into her book when lots of it may not have been needed. If you like the genera, then you will probably like the story. Otherwise, wait for the movie...
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