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The Historian Audiobook

The Historian

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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 (4012 )
5 star
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4.1 (2291 )
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Story
4.3 (2272 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (255)
2 star
 (66)
1 star
 (52)
Performance
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  •  
    Avid Reader Virginia 09-24-12
    Avid Reader Virginia 09-24-12 Member Since 2012

    Honey Hutson

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    18
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, burried storyline"
    Would you try another book from Elizabeth Kostova and/or the narrators?

    The writer would have to do a lot to earn back my trust. The narrators did a good job.


    Has The Historian turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Good narration, good rythm and sound.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    This book probably had a good story buried in there somewhere. I caught glimpses of it. It had beautiful prose and language. But the story was so deeply buried underneath the facts, description and a ton of unnecessary material that I gave up finding it at about halfway through. Much further than I'd normally give something to get to the point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meredith Charlotte, NC, United States 09-17-12
    Meredith Charlotte, NC, United States 09-17-12

    nedalexis43

    HELPFUL VOTES
    115
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    319
    64
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    FOLLOWING
    12
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Underwhelmed, but Worth a Credit"

    I think the hype ruined this one a little bit for me. I went in expecting a life altering read with all the reviews touting this as the best audiobook ever, amen. It is not the best audiobook ever, for me at least. It is unique, exquisitely narrated, and fun. But not "all that". I would have enjoyed it more if my expectations had not been quite so high.

    The characters are a bit aloof, the daughter particularly unrealistic to the point of becoming annoying (not the narrator, the actual character). I found myself wanting to skip over her parts because she was increasingly silly.

    The format of the story is intriguing enough to stick with it, but I saw shades of a DaVinci Code-like "I know know something you don't know" game between author and reader that is a general turn off to me. It was not so bad as to make me stop listening though, and I'm glad I saw it through to the conclusion.

    Worth a credit, good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie H. 09-13-12
    Julie H. 09-13-12

    I love books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    1
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    Story
    "Amazing story!"

    I read this story first then awhile later I listened to the audiobook. As much as I loved the story when I read it, it took on a whole new dimension as I listened. The performance was amazing and made the story even more enthralling! Absolutely amazing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christina 08-25-12
    christina 08-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    14
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Read like a history book"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Although there were some touching moments in this book, the history within the story overtook the character development in such a way that I found myself listening only because I didn't have another book to read. I wasn't attached to the characters in any way.


    What could Elizabeth Kostova have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The characters could have been more developed. There were so many different characters in the story because of how it spanned generations but, because I feel she was trying to give them all equal weight within the story, the main characters were faded to the back. At one point in the book, the present day character was narrating (in addition to the book's narrator) a story of an earlier character who was also narrating a story of an even earlier character who was the beginning of the storyline. By this point, it became a little absurd and almost utterly confusing.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

    There were two narrators in this book. One male, one female. It was definitely a different experience. The male narrator did a fantastic job with accents. Very relatable. The female narrators voice was nice to listen to.


    Was The Historian worth the listening time?

    If I knew then what I know now about the book, I would not have spent a credit on it, unfortunately. While this style of writing may be good for some, it wasn't the listening experience I was anticipating.


    Any additional comments?

    Most books from Audible only take me a week to listen to. I finished this one in 5 weeks (I switched to another book in the middle of this one).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Whittier, CA USA 08-18-12
    Sharon Whittier, CA USA 08-18-12 Member Since 2017

    virgorising

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    173
    22
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dragging"

    I am not going to lie, this is an interesting story, but it was just way too long and dragging. These poor performers must have been there for hours and hours wondering when these sessions would end. It just felt like an unknown history lesson during some parts, which is excellent, I love learning new and strange things but this was just a little too much for me personally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 08-13-12
    Sarah 08-13-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    11
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "so long but nothing really happens!"
    What did you like best about The Historian? What did you like least?

    the idea was good... the instigation of the idea was not good. Too long for so little happening.


    What was most disappointing about Elizabeth Kostova’s story?

    It was recommended to me because I liked the Thirteenth Tale and the House at Riverton but it was really nothing like them except it was a story inside a story, but it wasn't reasonably told by the characters. Too much was in the past, not enough happened in the present to balance it out.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was written like someone reading letters, but it just seemed very unreasonable the way that the letters were SOOO long and detailed and the daughter didn't really find anything out for herself. The idea was neat, the characters are essentially looking for dracula who is apparently real and alive... but the search lasted through a 24 hour book but nothing that exciting happened, a lot of the story was description and academic sounding and not action filled. I usually love a long book but this one felt like I HAD to listen, just to finish, not because I was really excited about what was about to happen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mimi 08-12-12
    Mimi 08-12-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a grabber"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Historian to be better than the print version?

    cannot imagine completing this suspense novel by reading page by page. The narrators inflection kept me present for each suspense filled page. felt as though I had been to Transylvannia on a great adventure.


    What other book might you compare The Historian to and why?

    probably would not have read any book with this content if it were not for my book club. what an experience I would have missed by passing up this selection.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    would not have experienced the characters as being real without the talent of the narrators.


    If you could take any character from The Historian out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    the professor's daughter. her dedication to research is inspiring.


    Any additional comments?

    this book opened up for me a new genre of reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Wailuku, HI, United States 07-31-12
    Kathleen Wailuku, HI, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    595
    17
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "A so-so read"

    This book kept my interest enough to finish the 4 sections, but despite fine narration and what are probably meticulously researched historical facts, the story didn't measure up. One of my friends (a romance novel fan and Dracula afficionado) LOVED the book. I felt that most of book and particularly the ending, was predictable. But now I think I'll have to plan a trip to the Balkans and some of the former Eastern Bloc cities mentioned in the book, just to see them for myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natasha 07-30-12
    Natasha 07-30-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Story"

    First I want to say I really like it when an author can take something we all think we know and put a different spin on it. This was a very good story but it read a lot like an autobiography. Because of that it took me a while to really get into it. The back and forth between the male and female readers could have been done a bit more smoothly and could have also been done with voices that where more complimentary to each other. Overall this was a good book and in the end I was satisfied and wanted to listen to the next one in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Selah, WA, United States 07-25-12
    Crystal Selah, WA, United States 07-25-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Greatest Book on Dracula since Brahm Stoker!!!"

    This is an Amazingly entertaining, coming of age tale, filled with historical reference cleverly built around a story engulfed in the romance and thrills of Dracula!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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