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 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.
The Historian is one of my favorite books, and this audiobook is fantastic. I can easily distinguish between the characters and the pacing is perfect. The sound quality is great and I don't feel like I have to turn my speakers way up to understand the narrators. Highly recommended!
As a general rule I like long audiobooks, but I've never had to rewind a book as often as this one. There are long pauses in the action while things are explained (one key piece of information comes in the form of a scholarly paper). My mind would wander and I'd have to go back to see if I had missed anything. I also found that at those times my disbelief clicked in--...but how did he ...? Even though some seemingly extraneous details turn out to be relevant, a good edit could have sustained the action without sacrificing important information.
I also have mixed feelings about the narration. Having two readers works well, but the woman's attempt at an English accent is excrutiating.
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.
I am not a part of the current pop fad for vampire novels so I'm not sure why I chose this book, but I'm very glad I did. It's certainly not pop, but rather a deeply thought out story with loving attention to historical detail.
(Sidenote - I have an interest in art and architecture, so I found the descriptions of, for example, Byzantine and Romanesque architecture fascinating, but I don't think they are too esoteric either for the average reader.)
The novel is a long, somewhat demanding, listen, but be patient. Let the story unfold and envelope you, which it does, due to two lovely performances by the male and female readers, and a gripping plot.
The novel follows three historians, one in the 1930s, one in the 1950s, and one in the 1970s, all linked, who are pursuing Dracula and in turn are being pursued by him. The historians are very real people and their stories are emotionally involving, at times bringing me to tears.
The transitions back and forth between the three different decades, and indeed back to medieval times, is very well done and I never felt lost or left behind by the writer.
And of course, this being a vampire story, it should be plenty blood-curdling too, and it succeeds.
My one quibble would be that the finale of the novel feels rushed to me, and the long-awaited confrontation between good and evil not quite as apocalyptic as I wanted.
Also, I had formed an emotional attachment to the Turkish characters who form such an integral part of the middle of the novel, and they are not mentioned at all in the denouement.
Overall though, a very enjoyable journey through time, from one fabulous locale to another, in the company of people I really came to care about. What more can we ask of a novelist?
What I didn't like about it:
1. In the letters that the father writes to the daughter he goes into waaay to much detail. No real person would describe how a person sat, what they ate, the way the wind felt, what someone was wearing down to minute details, in a letter.
2. Parts of the story were too contrived. The author was trying too hard.
3. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the characters, especially the ones they meet in Istanbul. I think I needed to see those names instead of just hearing them spoken.
What I did like:
1. I love books that give lengthy explanations based in history.
2. I don't like gorey, suspenseful books, so I thought it was great that Dracula is mostly an historian, even though he still bites people.
3. Books! I love books about books!
4. I liked that the author didn't go into too much backstory about how Vlad became a vampire. He just did. Now we have to deal with it.
Overall, I liked this book. It had it's flaws, but I was entertained.
in the description letting the buyer know it is about Dracula
the narration jumps between characters, accents, eras and is very confusing
too many accents (not well done)
very disappointed in this book - sorry I wasted a credit on it
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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