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The Historian | [Elizabeth Kostova]

The Historian

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....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

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....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.

©2009 Elizabeth Kostova; (P)2009 Hachette

What the Critics Say

"Quite extraordinary....Kostova is a natural storyteller....She has refashioned the vampire myth into a compelling contemporary novel, a late-night page-turner." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Kostova's vampire is no campy Lugosi knockoff....Blending history and myth, Kostova has fashioned a version so fresh that when a stake is finally driven through a heart, it inspires the tragic shock of something happening for the very first time." (Newsweek)

"Impossible to resist." (Miami Herald)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (78 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (25)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.1 (48 )
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
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Story
4.1 (48 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (8)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Meg EDEN HILL, Australia 03-17-10
    Meg EDEN HILL, Australia 03-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
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    21
    6
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    FOLLOWING
    3
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    Overall
    "Dracula revisited"

    I loved this book when I read it a few years ago, and I was a little aprehensive about the abridged version, given that the full story is so wonderful and dense. This audio version is well worth the download.. It flowed seamlessly and I did not once get the sensation that I was listening to only half the story. One of the authors has a bit of a funny tone to his voice, but the primary narrator is engaging and easy to listen to.

    I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys -real- vampire stories, where the creatures are terrifying and intelligent (unlike more contemporary interpretations of Vampires being pretty, shiny, go to high school and are no more frightening than a pair of bunny slippers). Vampire stories that cause your gut to clench in fright.

    For those who like their stories with a little history thrown in, Kostova has brought the legend of Vlad Tepes (AKA Vlad Dracul or Dracula) into a relatively modern setting, with the story's protagonists being hunted by Vlad Tepes' sinister inhuman agents as they move throughout Europe in their hunt to find, and destroy Tepes once and for all.

    Download, read, enjoy! :)

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Hagerstown, MD, USA 05-06-10
    Maria Hagerstown, MD, USA 05-06-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    4
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    "Don't get the abridged"

    Great story but it was incomplete. I thought i had not download the whole book when it ended.
    But i don't want to spend a credit buying the book again. I am out of this line of books unfortunately.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaime 10-14-14
    Jaime 10-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    FOLLOWING
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    Performance
    Story
    "Probably better unabridged"
    Where does The Historian rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father I guess, he's the protagonist.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    The unabridged version would probably be worth the extra money. I purchased this one because it was only 10 hours long, and I had a 10 hour car trip, and I wanted something digestible. However, the characters are not very well developed, the plot is jumpy, and the language is rushed in this abridged version. Even the sample sounds better in the unabridged.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 09-17-13
    Thomas 09-17-13 Member Since 2009

    I like Irish and Swedish crime thrillers and sociological exposes concerning African American life from Colonial times to the end of WWII. Recently I have taken a real liking to the works of Neal Stephenson and Fyodor Dostoevsky as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great accents, wonderful background music and more"
    What made the experience of listening to The Historian the most enjoyable?

    The use of different voices for the reading of different letters. Each character is voiced by a separate actor or actress performing with a different accent. As I am a fan of all accents, it made the story very pleasant to listen to.


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

    Rossi's missing letters meant to be sent from Romania. They reveal SO much about the historical Dracula as well as the story's plot.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    As mentioned before, the accents. The best was the guy who did the man with a mixed Scottish/Romanian accent. It was superb and an excellent example of hard work and top-notch voice acting.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Historian and why?

    Perhaps Rossi himself but each plot line has its own quirks. The unnamed narrator's recounting of her trip to Italy and Slovenia has its own charms too.


    Any additional comments?

    I've listened to this recording many times. It is fitting when the Autumn chill fills the air and you want something intellectually satisfying yet a bit dark.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. GOMEZ-POND York, NE 01-11-11
    R. GOMEZ-POND York, NE 01-11-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    8
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    Overall
    "Kept me on the edge of my chair"

    Going into this book, which was suggested by my mom-in-law, I was a tad hesitant because I am not a person who watches scary movies let along hear them. I can say that I was happy that I took a chance and listend. All the way through I was held in suspense for the next thing to possible pop out from the darkness.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 08-31-15
    Patricia 08-31-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting story but didn't hold my interest"
    What did you like best about The Historian? What did you like least?

    Had a few interesting twists and I did not expect it to be about Count Dracula, so it was different for a change


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    the story told from the different parties


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    The father (Paul) was totally not a good fit to be the narrator. It was obvious that he was reading, so difficult to lose yourself in the story, and he was far too effeminate to be her father....I just couldn't reconcile the narration with his role. Liked all the other narrators though!


    Could you see The Historian being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No - it was too drawn out in parts


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Eva
    Dusseldorf, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Great narration!"

    I did enjoy listening to the book. The story is good, however I admit if I were to read it myself, I would give up rather early on. The narration is superb. I do prefer my vampires to be bad, so if you are after something with Dracula, this might be the thing for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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