The Historian

The Historian

Elizabeth Kostova / Jan 22, 2020

The Historian In a year old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father s library The book is ancient blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word Drakulya

  • Title: The Historian
  • Author: Elizabeth Kostova
  • ISBN: 9780316057868
  • Page: 278
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 1972, a 16 year old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father s library The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word Drakulya, but it s the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to My dear and unfortunate successor, that really pique her curiosity Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantlyIn 1972, a 16 year old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father s library The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word Drakulya, but it s the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to My dear and unfortunate successor, that really pique her curiosity Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantly provides pieces of a chilling story it seems this ominous little book has a way of forcing itself on its owners, with terrifying results Paul s former adviser at Oxford, Professor Rossi, became obsessed with researching Dracula and was convinced that he remained alive When Rossi disappeared, Paul continued his quest with the help of another scholar, Helen, who had her own reasons for seeking the truth As Paul relates these stories to his daughter, she secretly begins her own research Kostova builds suspense by revealing the threads of her story as the narrator discovers them what she s told, what she reads in old letters and, of course, what she discovers directly when the legendary threat of Dracula looms 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.

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    About "Elizabeth Kostova"

      • Elizabeth Kostova

        Elizabeth Z Johnson Kostova was born Elizabeth Z Johnson in New London, Connecticut and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee where she graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, where she won the 2003 Hopwood Award for her Novel in Progress She is married to a Bulgarian scholar Her first novel, The Historian, was published in 2005, and it has become a best seller.Kostova released her second novel The Swan Thieves on January 12, 2010.


    1. You know you’ve been in school too long when you write a vampire novel in which Dracula’s ultimate threat is to force his victims to catalog his extensive library of antique books. On the other hand, after finishing The Historian, and its detailed Vlad the Impaler research, I’m willing to consider that threat as akin to impalement. If Kostova’s references to Henry James did not reveal her as an admirer of his, then its sprawling prose, vague plot, and sexually confused characters would h [...]

    2. This has got to be one of the most disappointing books I've read in a long time. Although the descriptions of the various eastern European cities are often pretty and atmospheric, my frustration with this book won't let me mark it above one star.It starts out well; very interesting and suspenseful for about the first 100 pages or so. But as you read it, the book just gets more and more ridiculous. It's about 600 900(!) pages long (which is way, way too long) and I urge anyone reading this book t [...]

    3. This novel is better than I had any anticipation of it being. I’d seen it among a friend’s luggage then later saw it at the library. Having just come off three weeks of nineteenth century novelists, I thought, Oh, something light would be a nice change. After all, I thought. Vampires. The book is about vampires. And not just any vampire, but the mack daddy himself, Dracula, the real Vlad the Impaler, who turns out to be the undead.Light reading. Sure. Six hundred and fifty pages of vampires [...]

    4. January 3, 2014Dear Khanh of 2006,I am your older, wiser self. Many things will happen in the years that have elapsed before you become the me of today. You will fall in love. You will break hearts. You will get your heart broken (karma's a bitch). You will change jobs. You will graduate from college.Most importantly, you will become more intelligent, you will learn the art of advanced thinking because really, all college teaches you is how to get good grades by regurgitating textbooks. When you [...]

    5. This is actually the second time I've read this book. For a first novel, it is outstanding. I was completely engrossed in the story. I really love history and the whole Dracula lore. I thought it was a great mix of both. It added a lot of suspense that made me read it with the lights on. I think I read it in about four days, I just couldn't put it down. I will say this though, if you are not really into history or researching, I would skip it. If you are wanting to read it just because it has to [...]

    6. Am I destined for some kind of literary hell if I say I wish Dan Brown would rewrite this story with the spark and intensity of the Da Vinci Code?I think I read some review here on GoodReads that called this a book to be conquered. You know, one where after a time you feel so invested that you MUST finish it, you must defeat the book, you will NOT give up, no matter how much you are suffering. Whoever said that about Kostova's The Historian, I salute you.I kept telling my friends I was reading " [...]

    7. Tentatively, my hand crept towards the mouse. What dark and unholy specter could be contained in other people's reviews of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian? I was filled with passive-voiced dread as the link was clicked by me. I was horrified to read:xdragonlady's review:"My main problem with the book being that the author told the tale from so many different points of view, but that they were each told in first person without giving the reader any notice as to who was telling the tale. [] I do [...]

    8. This book is impossible to resist. It has fairly leapt to the top shelf, where it's nestled down deep with my all time favourites. I confess to being initially reluctant to delve into this story, I mean who really needs another campy, vampire tale? Lucky for me I put these feelings aside long enough to read the first chapter after which there was no looking back. Step into the pages and begin an eerie, haunted, hypnotic adventure thoroughly saturated in ancient history and wondrous, exotic, old [...]

    9. I would have enjoyed being at the pitch meeting for Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. It had to have gone something like this: Well, most people think Dracula isn’t real, Kostova must have explained. What this book supposes is that not only is he real, but he’s still alive, and wreaking havoc on the world. She must have paused here, expecting, perhaps, to be thrown from the room. Allowed to remain, she plunged forward. My main character is a historian. All the action takes place in librar [...]

    10. Wow, was I ever disappointed in this one! I initially read the dust jacket on one of my many excursions to the book store and was very excited. It had been a long time since I read a really good scary story with vampires. The dust jacket alluded to sleepless nights filled with suspense and horror. I eagerly bought my very own copy and returned home to crawl into bed and begin reading this tale of terror. Okay, so sometimes books have to start slow. You've got to get the setting right, introduce [...]

    11. This is my favorite book of ALL time from any genre! At its core this is a book about Drakulya, about his history and his impact on those that knew him and those that have hunted the truth about him for centuries.The novel opens with an unnamed female voice informing the reader in the year 2008 that she's about to tell the story of what happened to her thirty years before. The story is mostly about her father Paul, a historian turned diplomat, and his search for Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. This n [...]

    12. It has been some time since I read this, so my recollections may not be that accurate. I tend to make these decisions (do I like or not like a book?) viscerally, rather than by formula. But I figured that any book that merited my little used "pissed me off" category, deserved an explanation. The Historian:Kostova sets her book partly in the 70s, partly in history, and she tries to write in a flowery language, like the great masters of novel from the 19th century- but to me, she really just comes [...]

    13. This book reminded me of the DaVinci code in some ways, but was much more interesting and better written. All of the research and historical documents were fascinating. I was especially interested in the subject matter, because it was about Vlad Ţepeş, the Wallachian (Romanian) prince, who Bram Stoker popularized as Dracula. (Not because I'm interested in vampires, but because I served my mission in Romania and was interested in Vlad himself. Evil and terrible as he was, the Romanians actually [...]

    14. Onvan : The Historian - Nevisande : Elizabeth Kostova - ISBN : 751537284 - ISBN13 : 9780751537284 - Dar 704 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005

    15. Hmmm.I read this at work and one of the builders in the break room looked over the top of his copy of the Daily Star and asked if this was some sort of "how to" book (he understood that I was an archaeologist and thus interpreted The Historian to be some sort of quick guide to well, being a historian). And I sighed my deepest sigh yet, as another tiny particle of my soul curled up, died and flaked off and floated away into the ether.Obviously if I was a vampire I wouldn't have to worry about the [...]

    16. The HistorianBy Elizabeth KostovaKostova received two million dollars for this debut novel, an almost unheard of sum for an unknown writer, but I’m sure it went a long way in reimbursing her expenses for the research that would have been required to write The Historian. Make no mistake, this is a lush and beautiful book, each passage is fleshed out in detail reminiscent of the grand medieval cathedrals and libraries in which it takes place. The reader is drawn into the past quickly and present [...]

    17. (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)So first, a disclosure: I actually received a free used copy of Elizabeth Kostova's 2005 modern vampire tale The Historian unexpectedly in the mail one day, from author Akmal Shebl at the same time he sent in his own book Prisoners in Paradise for review, not as a bribe I think but rather an example of wh [...]

    18. Well written, interesting perspective on Vlad the Impaler. Good research into the history of that part of the world.

    19. THE HISTORIAN BY ELIZABETH KOSTOVA: Welcome to a retelling of Dracula for the twenty-first century, only think much better and more interesting; less of the weak and pitiful women and demanding men; more history and research. Elizabeth Kostova, while no doubt being a very well off person who went to the best schools for writing, has nevertheless spent a long time researching and writing The Historian with the resulting book being little about vampires and undead and more about books and history [...]

    20. “Not everyone who reaches back into history can survive it.” I hope I will have time to write more about this book later, but one thing I need to mention is: what you hear about is true. The denouement is ridiculous and I honestly don't understand why it had to be this why, since it's more than apparent that Kostova's imagination is, to say the least, extraordinarily vivid. Dracula's motive is implausible and unconvincing, but I feel that it holds a symbolic meaning in Kostova's conception o [...]

    21. A plodding, contrived, poorly written mess of a book about three generations of historians researching the Dracula legend. It spans centuries, countries and strains all credulity.The multi-narrative structure is ambitious (and, of course, is a nod to Stoker's classic novel), but Kostova doesn't pull it off. All her characters - unless they have an obvious accent - sound alike and there's far too much exposition and repetition.The final quarter (it's a looong book, about as long as Vlad's life) i [...]

    22. Fourth time for me to read this gothic novel about Dracula (both the historical figure and the vampire) and those hunting him, and boy does it still amaze me! And so despite all its happy coincidences, Dracula’s somewhat lackluster motivation to do what it is he does (won’t elaborate; no spoilers) and a few small plot holes here and there, I’ve decided to upgrade it to 5 stars.This novel is so well written and so riveting that I can well turn a blind eye to its flaws and just let myself be [...]

    23. I really wanted to like this book but God is it boring as hell. I hate not finishing a book but I just can't waste one more minute reading something akin to watching paint dry. I kept waiting for the story to take off and for something, anything, exciting to happen. This felt like an exercise in cold war geography and a self-indulgent author letting us know how smart she is and how much research she'd done. Who cares?! The premise for this book was really intriguing but the story gets lost in pa [...]

    24. Most boring first 15 pages of any book I've ever read.For revenge, I will attempt to write the shortest review of The Historian :D

    25. If there were negative stars, I would give them to this book. OMG, words fail me.On second thought.ey don't. Let me describe the ways this book sucked.First off, it sucked because it COULD have been a brilliant books IN theremewhere in the 642 pages. I would venture to says about 300 pages too long. At page 201 into the book, it was still plodding along unmercifully. They way it is written, in first person, is way too choppy. Some chapters are being told by the "dad" charachter- Paul. Some are b [...]

    26. The Historian is a standalone historical fiction novel written by Elizabeth Kostova. Yes, it has vampires in it and no, it's not classified as paranormal. Why? Because of Ms. Kostova's attention to historical accuracy, specifically regarding the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler rather than the mythical (and paranormal) Dracula the Vampire. In an online interview, Ms. Kostova stated, “I took a real historical mystery, the question of where Vlad the Impaler is buried–or what became of his [...]

    27. This novel would have done well to have large parts of the first half culled. Although the first half is pleasant enough as a travelogue, especially the Eastern European scenery and impressions of Budapest that we are treated to, it soon began to feel tedious and I was pretty bored by the time the book began to pick up again.The last third is the best part of the book, so do try and push through until you get there.The biggest aspect I found to complain about, is that I'd expected a bit more sol [...]

    28. a modern take on the Dracula story. This reminded me of The Da Vinci Code in some ways. The story was a pageturner with lots of atmosphere and exotic settings, danger and romance mixed with the secrets of history. But at the end, I found myself thinking, "What a minute. That plot made no sense." Dracula's motivation is sketchy at best, and the choices the characters make just don't ring true, in my opinion. That's all I can say without giving away the plot. Read it and see what you think. I was [...]

    29. People believe in Santa Claus, I believe that Dracula is for realAnyone who knows me remotely now, know that I hate reviewing books (being scarred and scared since my grad days :D) So this isn’t exactly a review just my typical need to ramble .You've been warned! So! I read this book almost a decade back, it was a difficult period of time for me as I was going through a phase of academic as well as existential angst in general, with the threat of submission of dissertations looming ahead So an [...]

    30. A wild ride of a book even though it concerns itself mostly with the topic of historical research, the subject of which makes all the difference. We travel from Holland to England, France, Greece, New England, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and back again, we travel in the past and present, we see various points of viewa rich, complex story. Highly recommended. Be prepared to take some time for the journey.

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