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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Elizabeth Kostova (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,068711151 (3.69)4 / 675
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.
Title:The Historian
Authors:Elizabeth Kostova (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2005), Edition: 1st, 704 pages
Collections:MLIS, Your library

Work details

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)

  1. 333
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    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
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    clamairy: Similar themes of magic and academia.
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  7. 40
    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.
  8. 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)
  15. 10
    Lord of the Dead 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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    vwinsloe: A well-imagined history with supernatural beings.
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English (689)  Spanish (8)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (710)
Showing 1-5 of 689 (next | show all)
Vampires. Slow. Choppy. Stupid. Not for me. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
Oh, ye gods!! What a tale! Make sure you have a reliable atlas (I suggest either National Geographic's or the Reader's Digest Wide World Atlas) - of course, these days, there is always wikipedia. This book will teach you more about Romania and Bulgaria (and southern France) than you might believe is possible, especially if you are a map freak. Most of the locations described in the book turn out to actually exist! (Who knew?) The story, characterization, plot, and all the rest are quite entertaining, I find (if occasionally just a little overwriten), but, in general, this should keep the reader entertained over many a long, cold, October night!! I give it - ( )
  Farree | Sep 9, 2020 |
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publishing Date: 2005
Pgs: 642
Dewey: F KOS
Disposition: Irving Public Library - South Campus - Irving, TX

History and folklore of Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia, the Impaler. Three narratives follow the lives of Rossi, Paul and Hellen, and their daughter as they are drawn into the hunt for the truth and then the hunt for Dracula through history and into the present. Weaves together Istambul, the south of France, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, telling the story of the hunt, the hunter and the hunted, though they switch places a few times.
Historic thriller

Why this book:
Favorite Character:
I didn’t trust Turgut at first. It was very deus ex machina him being in that particular Instanbul cafe at that particular time with access to the ancient archive that our heroes needed access to. Though, of course, he is a member of the Janissaries who oppose the Order of the Dragon. It’s his business to know who is looking for the vampire, The Vampire.

Favorite Scene:
Hell yeah, Helen. (When you get to this scene, you’ll know.)

Hmm Moments:
I begin to wonder if the Historian was what...who I thought it was? Hmmm.

So the dragon books are an invitation to a deeper mystery. And those who take it up become more than peripherally on Dracula’s radar. A tryout. A competition. And the winner gets...an eternity of horror.

WTF Moments:
Camping outdoors in the ruins of Dracula’s castle...what could possibly go wrong?

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Replaying the Tagoviste tryst and visit from both perspectives separately is filler and doesn’t add anything but page count.

Oh yeah...strange encampments in the deep mountain woods of Transylvania, let’s just walk up on them in the middle of the night and ask them what’s going on. What could possibly go wrong?

The Sigh:
Began to get the Oprah effect. And you get a dragon book, and you get a dragon book, and you get a dragon book...a ha ha.
The father’s reluctance to tell his daughter the story drags on the pacing in the early part of the story.

I almost put the book down. AS her father tells the story of his mentor Rossi, there is a building sense of anxiety, desperation, and suspense. But with only two “events” in the first 70-ish pages, I almost gave up on the book.

Last Page Sound:
Wait...that’s it? There needed to be a bit more to that climax.

Questions I’m Left With:
So...were the monks in the south of France vampires too?

What happened to the vampire librarian from Oxford?

Author Assessment:
The prose is well constructed. It is well balanced.
_________________________________________________ ( )
  texascheeseman | Jul 29, 2020 |
Not a big fan of this book. Good character development, but lacking in pace. I got the feeling that the author started writing this book then halfway through realized that she had spent way to much time on verbiage and didn't know how to end it. The first 3/4 of the book is a slow, slow burn, leaving the final 1/4 of the book and the ending to feel out of place and rushed. Very disappointed, as I really tried to like it because of the subject. ( )
  lokidragon | Jul 24, 2020 |
It was hard to get into, hard to keep reading, and difficult to finish. The characters weren't particularly likeable, so I wondered why I was spending so much time with them. Guess it's just that I'm a huge Dracula fan and the weather's cold and it was a free book. But I can't say that I would recommend it to anyone. Definitely NOT a page-turner. ( )
  gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 689 (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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Original title
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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,


     —Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897.
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.
"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
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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