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The Historian
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
The story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780316067942
ISBN-10: 0316067946
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Pages: 928
Edition: Reprint
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 311

3.8 stars, based on 311 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Historian on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 21
Absolutely wonderful book! I honestly could not put it down and missed sleep reading this book. Yes, the writing style is a little different than what you're used to but I think that may help with the overall mood of the book. If you like history, following clues and a touch of horrific tension you'll adore this book.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 14
I enjoyed this book very much. I notice the reviews where people felt it was a slow read. Although it is a Vampire story, it is more of a historical novel. I love both types of books.If you just want o fnd out "what happens" you may feel impatient. This book is a travelogue, a mystery and a fascinating history of Eastern Europe. This is not a fluff book. I hope you'll give it a try.
reviewed The Historian on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
At times while reading the first half of this book, I felt impatient for "the story" to begin. It felt like too much detail, too much background. Looking back, I can see that each twig of detail was important, and was carefully placed to build a roaring bonfire by the story's end. This was a remarkable book, in the development of the story from the point of view of several characters, the view of the past through many layers of stories and sources, and the gradual accumulation of a subtle awareness in the reader's imagination of what might be happening that wasn't quite mentioned, wasn't exactly described, but was only hinted at. This is a book I look forward to reading again in a year or two.
reviewed The Historian on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I really enjoyed this book about one family's search through libraries, medieval documents, and beautiful historic cities for the tomb of a monster... Vlad the Impaler, the real man whose crimes and blood-thirsty life inspired the folk legends and Hollywood version of Dracula. The story is told through a woman's flashbacks to her teenager years as she listened to the stories her father told her and had her own experiences in the search. I think this book is very well written with many lively descriptions of people, places, and events. And there are several twist and turns in the story to keep you turning the pages until the very last. Will they be able to find Vlad's tomb? Will Vlad's body be in his tomb or will an empty sarcophagus reveal that the legends are true and he is undead?
reviewed The Historian on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I really wanted to like this book. I got about halfway through it and could not finish. I loved the scenery descriptions and the writing, but the middle bogged down for me, and I could not finish it - as much as I wanted to. I have so many other books I could not wait to start, and once I did, I could not pick it back up.
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reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
If you are into historical fiction that is detail oriented you will probably like this book I found myself skimming over all the detail, there is just so much of it, landscape, buildings, etc. It is a lengthy book that requires a serious time commitment. If I like a book I can't put it down. It took me several weeks to read this book. If I had it to do over I don't know that I would.
reviewed The Historian on + 5 more book reviews
The Historian surprised me! I was pulled in by others' descriptions of it being a vampire novel that had not succumbed to high-school fantasy. And I must say, it was actually scary. At no point does Dracula ever stop being anything than completely terrifying.

I found the details in the book to be marvelously well-researched (or, I don't know enough about the tops to have detected errors). As a rehabilitated academic myself (biology), I loved the descriptions of research methods and visiting archives - all back in an era where a researcher must physically visit a library. There were other unexpectedly rich layers of details: life in Communist Hungary, the lunch and dinner spreads in Istanbul, and descriptions of medieval book-making.

My only criticism of the book is that it is only truly scary for about a 100 page swath. After that, the tension descends to a much lower level of a mystery novel. This might have been a good thing, since I read it every night. Either way, I couldn't put it down and I'm now passing it around to my friends.
reviewed The Historian on + 4 more book reviews
I thought this was a fantastic book in its genera, wonderfully researched and vivid in description. A must-read for anyone who enjoys eastern European history or the Vampire genera.


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