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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 (4039 )
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4.3 (2294 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sarah 08-13-12
    Sarah 08-13-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
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    2
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    "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
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    "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
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    79
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    "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
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    "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
  •  
    Sara Seattle, WA, United States 06-14-12
    Sara Seattle, WA, United States 06-14-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Must Be a Lover of History, Yourself"

    I always wanted to get excited and feel engrossed by them, but history classes were never my favorite. My mind immediately wanders when someone talks of history that I can't bring down to a personal level and relate to. As such, this book - while incredibly well done - is just not for me.

    I also struggled listening to the character Paul impersonate Helen; it wasn't the accent that I minded, it was the sound of his voice attempting to sound like a woman's voice. With all due respect, it can't be easy for a man to sound like a woman. However, the narrator's seemed like a caricature of a woman's voice in this book, and I found it very distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mia Tempe, AZ, United States 05-13-12
    Mia Tempe, AZ, United States 05-13-12
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    Story
    "Stoker's Dracula is a guide book?"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would cut at least 3 hours from the middle of it and take out the excessive details. I would also make the story more imaginative and original instead of basically rewriting Dracula. The original will always be the best.


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

    No. If anything, The Historian has turned me off from Elizabeth Kostova entirely.


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

    They breathed life into the characters and made me stick with the story just to hear the acting.


    Was The Historian worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I was ecstatic to see this book was available in audio form. My aunt bought it when it was first published and said it was a phenomenal book. I don't see it, however. I found the beginning to be very good until the father found it necessary to obtain Stoker's Dracula to find out how to protect himself from the vampire. After that point, I found the story to be dull, repetitive and extremely drawn out. There was nothing left to my own imagination and I found myself fast forwarding more than 3 hours towards the end until I found the beginning of the end. I was horribly dissatisfied with the ending.I do not recommend the book at all. The performances were well done though and I think it was probably the wonderful voices that made me stick with it at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 05-04-12
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2016

    Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I am not a vampire fan, but this was good."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I like historical fiction which is why I picked this, but I actually missed the part of the description that told me it was about vampires. But it was not a silly vampire story, and I am glad I listened to it now. It was an almost historical approach to...what if vampires ARE real? Where would they live? How would you find one? What would the world around them look like? How would they interact in our world? I really did like it.


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

    It really was unique, I have no comparisons right now.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The different reader for each time period was helpful - so I didn't get confused at the jumps back and forth at all. They were good at the eastern European accents without sounding like a bad Dracula movie. Other than that, they faded from my mind - which is what a narrator SHOULD do. I like that.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, not any extreme reaction, except perhaps surprise that I liked it since (again) I am not into vampires.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heidi 05-02-12
    heidi 05-02-12

    I love audible during boring laundry duty. I seem to be drawn to fantasy most likely to get a break from reality. I love my family!

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    "if you like vampire storys, this one rocks!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Its an amazing way to escape your world into a suspenseful strange one.


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

    When the professor was found.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There was more then one


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were several twists and things to keep you guessing.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great lesson! Make laundry and house cleaning fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yankee Bookworm 04-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of my firsts and one of my favs"

    This was one of my first listens and I am re-listening now. Recommend to those who like historically based mysteries,or vampire lore as opposed to vampire horror. I liked all the voices. Pacing is flawless. While at times I became impatient with the level of detail, for the most part thought it was necessary to set the scene, tone, or context. Beautifully done overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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