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)
It was OK for a three era book. I sometime's forgot which time frame I was in. You have to have your listening game face on 90% of the time or you'll lose track. I wouldn't listen to it again.
But for multible reader's (actor's) it was well read.
I enjoyed this book. It is compelling, but it did get a bit long. I was ready for the story to wrap up a bit before it did. But the characters are fleshed out well and the scenes are very vivid. The naration was very good.
This could have been such a clich?, but it was absolutely delightful. The narrator has some to do with this, but I really enjoyed this. It had lots of detail, but didn't bog us down in it. Not too many side-stories to get us lost. Just a great overall read... and a fresh dracula view!
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.
I suspect if you're a committed vampireophile, my complaints about the pace of this book will not deter you. Skip the review. Enjoy the book. But for the rest of us, I'm afraid there's not as much here as one would hope. The author is incapable of writing a line of dialog without having a character think about it at some length. If you're hoping for a rapid exchange of ideas between characters, fast-paced conversation, find another book. These guys think too much -- presumably in case you're too dim to think for yourself. If something is horrible or awful, the writer does not trust us to see that for ourselves. She will tell us, showing no faith in her own descriptive powers. She will rarely skip an opportunity to remind us this is a baleful and wicked character we're pursuing, yet fails to create a portrait that fulfills her adjectives. All of the main male characters are interchangeable. Listen to the voices of Rossi and the father and tell me how to distinguish the two. To the book's credit: There's much original here. It paints some nice portraits of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania during the Cold War. It may send you in pursuit of European monastaries. It will make you wonder about vampire lore and its pervasiveness. But as a bit of storytelling, it's not quite there.
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.
Is it a best seller because of true merit or because everyone jumps on the bandwagon ?
Of course it is merit that makes greatness with a liberal sprinkling of bandwagon activity. Well, I am so so glad I jumped on this one. This is a wonderful story. Richly developed characters made real and dear to the reader listener by the truly excellent narration.
Beautifully written, I am bereft now that I have finished it.
"Audible" is a gorgeous way to read a book.
This book is amaazingly writen and wonderfully read. I finished it and wanted to listen to it again. If you enjoy vampire book or movies at all this is a must read. Elizabeth Kostova wove this story into an epic adventure that keeps you guessing and hoping.
I loved this as a work of historical fiction. I loved this a a vampire story. I ESPECIALLY loved the male narrator as he created unique characters with is voice and his numerous accents! Good Job! Thank you for the hours of enjoyment.
This book starts interestingly enough, but the writer looses her handle on it quickly, and you're soon lost in nasty thicket of over-description (and it's close cousin, pointless detail). You get a fantastic sense of how tedious a graduate level thesis must be, but as a reader, is that really what you're looking for in a vampire story?
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