Synopses & Reviews
Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to 'My dear and unfortunate successor'. Her discovery plunges 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 evil hidden in the depths of history.
In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright - a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the Dracula myth. Deciphering obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions, and evading terrifying adversaries, 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 captivating tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful - and utterly unforgettable.
"What's unfortunate about this [romanticizing of historians] is that the book...is otherwise the kind of wonderfully paced yarn that would make a suitable companion to a deck chair, a patch of sun and some socklessness." Henry Alford, The New York Times Book Review
isn't especially scary (though Kostova can work up a respectable miasma of dread when needed), and it lacks the inane but breathless chase scenes of The Da Vinci Code
, but for the sophisticated reader it's a fine Bordeaux to Dan Brown's overcaffeinated Diet Coke....The big difference is that, unlike Brown's nattering cardboard people, by the end of Kostova's novel, the girl and the mother she lost as an infant have also become people worth caring about, tragic figures enmeshed with a treacherous past. That makes The Historian
a thriller in more ways than one." Laura Miller, Salon.com
(read the entire Salon.com review
A vivid and sophisticated re-imagining of the Dracula myth. Quite simply "The Historian" is a gothic masterpiece, and begins when a young girl discovers an ancient and disturbing book in her father's library, opening a dark chapter in his past. It is a captivating tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful and utterly unforgettable.