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The Historian (2005)

by Elizabeth Kostova

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,369724160 (3.69)4 / 678
A young woman discovers an ancient book and a cache of old letters in her father's library, and thus begins her adventurous quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, a search that will span continents and generations, and a confrontation with the darkest powers of evil.
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    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
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    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (clamairy)
    clamairy: Similar themes of magic and academia.
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    Dracula [Norton Critical Edition] by Bram Stoker (Nubiannut)
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    Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (Johanna11)
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    Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust (tessac)
    tessac: Freedom & Necessity is epistolic in nature so if that appealed to you in The Historian, I heartily recommend F & N. There are no vampires but, like The Historian, the fantastical is subtly woven into the story.
  7. 51
    Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker (Joles)
    Joles: Both of these books share a great deal of research and they keep you speeding through one chapter to the next. Oh...and they both have Dracula....
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    The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (MyriadBooks)
  14. 10
    Lord of the Dead: The Secret History of Byron by Tom Holland (QueenOfDenmark)
    QueenOfDenmark: I've just started reading The Vampyre but right from the start it put me in mind of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. Lord Byron is used as the main character in Tom Holland's The Vampyre to interesting effect while count Dracula is the more traditional vampire hero in Kostova's Historian.… (more)
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    The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber (nicchic)
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    Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James (Joles)
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    Angelology by Danielle Trussoni (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: A well-imagined history with supernatural beings.
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(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (701)  Spanish (9)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (723)
Showing 1-5 of 701 (next | show all)
Finally finished it by listening to the audiobook. I liked it better in that medium. It's dense and slow moving. The historical parts sound correct, but I don't know enough about Vlad to know if that's actually the case. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Kind of pleasantly written - like JK Rowling writing Stephen King - but the last third of the book with its rushed/bizarre explanation of what the heck has been going on, and its stupid epilogue, holds it back. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
A great read. Taking one star off for the antiseptic method the author used when having a character tell their story. But then again this is a very ambitious novel and I think even the most seasoned writer would have a doozie of a time navigating so many layers of material stacked upon itself. I think with that aside that she did a wonderful job of putting us in the middle of the characters lives. I felt kind of Jilted to hear how the father died. His ending seemed very low key and I felt that he should have had a better send off. A historian dying like a soldier in a land scarred by previous war. Paul deserved better. Everyone here is a main character and everyone has a stake in the outcome. I do like how after all the horror and evil that was put into the villian he was still made to be a misunderstood creature. ( )
  Joe73 | Dec 29, 2020 |
Not what I expected when I picked up this book. It was good though. The ending left a little wanting. ( )
  Weezer41 | Dec 27, 2020 |
Not what I expected when I picked up this book. It was good though. The ending left a little wanting. ( )
  Weezer41 | Dec 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 701 (next | show all)
Vlad Lit: don't flirt with it, just sink your teeth right in
 
When, after many other allusions to historians and historicism, Kostova introduced a character whose last name is Hristova, I was tempted to run out to a pharmacy for some antihristomine.

What's unfortunate about this overload is that the book -- which seems to want to do for historians what ''Possession'' did for literary scholars -- 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.
 
In a ponderous, many-layered book that is exquisitely versed in the art of stalling, Ms. Kostova steeps her readers in Dracula lore. She visits many libraries, monasteries, relics of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, crypts, restaurants, scholars and folk-song-singing peasants. Every now and then a mysterious pale, sinister figure will materialize, only to vanish bewilderingly. The book's characters find this a lot more baffling than readers will.
 
Stuffed with rich, incense-laden cultural history and travelogue, The Historian is a smart, bibliophilic mystery in the same vein (sorry) as A.S. Byatt's Possession--but without all that poetry.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Jun 12, 2005)
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Kostovaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eyre, JustineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michael, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ram, TitiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schroderus, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
How these papers have been placed in sequence will be
made manifest in the reading of them. All needless matters have
been eliminated, so that a history almost at variance with the
possibilities of later-day belief may stand forth as simple fact.
There is throughout no statement of past things wherein memory
may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary,
given from the stand-points and within the range
of knowledge of those who made them.


     —Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897
What sort of place had I come to, and among what kind of
people? What sort of grim adventure was it on which I had
embarked? . . . I began to rub my eyes and pinch myself to see if
I were awake. It all seemed like a horrible nightmare to me, and I
expected that I should suddenly awake, and find myself at home,
with the dawn struggling in through the windows, as I had now
and again felt in the morning after a day of overwork. But my
flesh answered the pinching test, and my eyes were not to be
deceived. I was indeed awake and among the Carpathians. All
I could do now was to be patient, and to wait the coming
of the morning.

     
—Bram Stoker, Dracula,1897
There was one great tomb more lordly than all the rest; huge it was,
and nobly proportioned. On it was but one word,


     DRACULA.

     —Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897.
Dedication
For my father,
who first told me
some of these stories
First words
A Note To The Reader

The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper.
In 1972 I was sixteen—young, my father said, to be traveling with him on his diplomatic missions.
Quotations
"To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history . . ."
"My dear and unfortunate successor . . ."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine with any abridged editions of The Historian.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

A young woman discovers an ancient book and a cache of old letters in her father's library, and thus begins her adventurous quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, a search that will span continents and generations, and a confrontation with the darkest powers of evil.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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.

AR 7.3, 42 Pts
Haiku summary
Dracula - alive!
But where to find him today?
Family's search for truth

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Hachette Book Group

6 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316011770, 0316154547, 0316067946, 1600242782, 0316070637, 1600248616

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