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The Historian Audiobook

The Historian

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.
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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 (3572 )
5 star
 (1468)
4 star
 (1118)
3 star
 (614)
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Overall
4.0 (1873 )
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Story
4.3 (1855 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (49)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Wendy Toney, AL, USA 11-28-07
    Wendy Toney, AL, USA 11-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    3
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    Overall
    "Lots of History, Little Action"

    I was really excited about this book but it turns out to be an immense amount of content for very little action. Props to Kostova on the intricate historical background, but this book is alot like Bram Stoker's Dracula in the fact that most of the book is spent talking about Dracula and he only ends up in 2 or 3 chapters out of 70-something. I also found the ending kinda weak.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charon New York, NY, USA 05-01-07
    Charon New York, NY, USA 05-01-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    8
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    0
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    Overall
    "Beautiful Writer"

    Kostova has come up with a new way to write a vampire drama with beautiful, patient storytelling and a compelling drama. The history, culture and settings were done well. The narrators added to the story.

    If you are into easy, breezy fiction with quick conclusions and easy development...this book isn't it and that isn't a bad thing. She is a very good writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth 03-02-07
    Ruth 03-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    145
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Very Enjoyable"

    I loved the story and the narration was the icing on the cake. I enjoyed all of it, even the "dull and overly descriptive" parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary m. dewulf 02-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    98
    6
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    0
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    Overall
    "A great book"

    Vivid and interesting all the way through. Very well narrated...extremely pleasing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Martinez St. Louis, MO 02-09-07
    Chris Martinez St. Louis, MO 02-09-07 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    24
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    Overall
    "Oy vay!"

    This book was very slow to develop and not very interesting to listen to. There wasn't much character development, the book was just about 95% reminiscing about unexciting events. If this is one you're on the wall about listening to, you may want to just pass it up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Parker, CO USA 01-31-07
    Deborah Parker, CO USA 01-31-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    107
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Delightfully Bloodthirsty!"

    This one is too good to be true! Vlad the Impaler?!! Ancient secret societies?? Don't buy this title if you have pressing business to attend to. It grabs you and MAKES you listen!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Amherst, NH, United States 01-30-07
    Christopher Amherst, NH, United States 01-30-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    6
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    0
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    Overall
    "Long winded, but an entertaining story"

    It takes a very long time for the story to get going and even then it's still somewhat slow, but it is very charming and entertaining.

    Some of the plot devices are a little too convenient, but it's well worth listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Austin, TX, USA 01-25-07
    Heather Austin, TX, USA 01-25-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    12
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    0
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    Overall
    "great story"

    This was a really good book. It is comparable to Braum Strokers Dracula. It is origional, interesting and worth the credit. I will listen to it again one day. This one will stay in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krystyn 10-28-06
    Krystyn 10-28-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    449
    15
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "loved it!"

    I loved this book - one of the most enjoyable I've ever downloaded. If you love books, vampires, and libraries, this is the book for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Goodrich North Carolina, USA 10-12-06
    D. Goodrich North Carolina, USA 10-12-06 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    1
    Overall
    "Great, but"

    This was a great book, straight from the beginning. It is a fascinating premise and has many memorable scenes. It drags a bit in sections and could have been a good deal shorter, but it was a spooky read. I like to listen to a book before going to sleep, but couldn't with this one.

    My only complaint is the ending is a bit anti-climatic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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