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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.

Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions - and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers - one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions, a relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful - and utterly unforgettable.

©2008 Elizabeth Kostova (P)2016 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    10

Performance

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    5
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling!

Listened to it pretty much straight through. Great performance! I read it earlier and this was the second audio go for me (last was on CDs about ten years ago). Still great!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

it was ok

It seemed to go on too long and somewhat predictable. narration was good. just ok.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Maybe the best book I have ever listened to!

Beyond excellent!!!!!
Very creatively written!
Well grounded in history with a flair of fiction. Truly a work of art!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!

Great story, great characters . Great narrator. It was a long read, but kept you entertained the whole way thru without dull spots. Very good!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great buildup to nowhere

Let me be frank. I enjoyed The Historian. I think I was just a little disappointed that I read reviews before listening that the book was a bit of a letdown at the end after so much buildup. You become engorged with the backstory and relish with every detail when you’re putting the pieces together. When everything comes to a head, the lack of play with all of the action and the quick ending makes me give this book 3 stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

For me there was way too much letter and transcript reading in the book, very tedious and boring. The good part was I could do many other things while listening to this and miss whole sections without missing the story line at all.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Maybe a mystery

Any additional comments?

I’ve been a fan of vampire and Dracula books for a long time, this book doesn’t compare. It seems the author wanted to tell a fictional story yet also inundated the reader with a lot of research, true reasearch and fabricated. I would have preferred a more succinct story line without getting weighed down with the other.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointing ending, otherwise excellent

I'll try to write this without giving away any spoilers. I started reading The Historian years ago when it first came out and put it aside for some reason. So when I saw the audio version was available, I decided to give it a go. The narrators did a great job, and the writing is beautiful, with gorgeous attention to detail. I was totally pulled into the story and the development of the characters. Unfortunately, I feel like the author didn't quite know what to do with her creation at the end and we had an abrupt and unsatisfying denouement with the Dracula thread. The entire book leads up to meeting Dracula, and as soon as we're given a glimpse of his character... Well, let's just say I was disappointed with the way it all wrapped up. It's quite a long listen at about 24 hours, and I do wish the payoff had been better conceived, but maybe that's just me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A drag

I absolutely struggled to finish this one. I love all things historical but this just dragged and dragged on. When the main antagonist's motivation was finally revealed, I was in awe at how ridiculous it was. The excellent performances couldn't make up for the lame plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Subtle monsters, rich story

I am not sure what was more intense- the monster or the search for him.

Enjoyed this book quite a lot. Will listen to it again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book

i have read this book before and lived it. I loved it again. This has kept me company through many trips to and from work in traffic.