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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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The Historian (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Elizabeth Kostova (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,489759194 (3.68)4 / 701
Fiction. Historical Fiction. Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed ofâ??a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers-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 relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettab… (more)
Member:PDelV
Title:The Historian
Authors:Elizabeth Kostova (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2005), Edition: 1st, 642 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)

  1. 373
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (SandSing7)
  2. 191
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn (GodOfTheAnthill)
    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
  3. 143
    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (clamairy)
    clamairy: Similar themes of magic and academia.
  4. 112
    Dracula [Norton Critical Edition] by Bram Stoker (Nubiannut)
  5. 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.
  6. 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 Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber (nicchic)
  13. 10
    The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (MyriadBooks)
  14. 76
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (Johanna11)
  15. 21
    Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James (Joles)
  16. 21
    Angelology by Danielle Trussoni (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: A well-imagined history with supernatural beings.
  17. 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)
  18. 10
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(see all 22 recommendations)

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» See also 701 mentions

English (732)  Spanish (10)  Swedish (4)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (756)
Showing 1-5 of 732 (next | show all)
I must confess to a strong subjective bias with this book. It is the most recent of the books my husband and I have read to one another, so my love of our bonding and tradition may have transferred onto the story.

Regardless, its lovely prose contributed to an atmosphere which was dark and mysterious in an elegant old-fashioned way. The meticulously researched history and rich description gave it a sense of reality despite it existing in the vampire genre. One could almost believe.

The love story I could have lived without, but it was tolerable and only caused eye-rolling two or three times ( )
  Zoes_Human | May 14, 2024 |
A long and complicated tale, told through multiple viewpoints, of Drakula's pursuit of certain humans and their search for his tomb. I did not find the ending very satisfactory--reminded of P. J. O'Rourke's description of something as a "long run for a short slide." After enduring pages of pursuit through archives, libraries and remote monasteries I feel that the reader deserved some reward in the way of an exciting, climatic ending. Was the ambiguous ending intended to set us up for a sequel?
  ritaer | Apr 19, 2024 |
La historiadora
Elizabeth Kostova
Publicado: 2005 | 676 páginas
Novela Intriga

«Su nombre despierta terror en el corazón de los hombres. A lo largo de siglos, se le ha considerado un mito. Ahora, alguien se atreve a buscarlo a través de los rincones más oscuros de Europa y Asia y buceando en lo más remotos pasajes de la Historia».
Durante años, Paul fue incapaz de contarle a su hija la verdad sobre la obsesión que ha guiado su vida. Ahora, entre sus papeles, ella descubre una historia que comenzó con la extraña desaparición del mentor de Paul, el profesor Rossi. Tras las huellas de su querido maestro, Paul recorrió antiguas bibliotecas de Estambul, monasterios en ruinas en Rumanía, remotas aldeas en Bulgaria… Cuanto más se acercaba a Rossi, más se aproximaba también a un misterio que había aterrorizado incluso a los poderosos sultanes otomanos, y que aún hace temblar a los campesinos de Europa del Este. Un misterio que ha dejado un rastro sangriento en manuscritos, viejos libros y canciones susurradas al oído. Para Paul y su hija llegar al final de la búsqueda puede significar un destino mucho peor que la muerte. Porque a cada paso que dan, se convencen más de que él les está esperando. Y en sus corazones, retumba una pregunta angustiosa… ¿Es posible que la tumba de Vlad el Empalador esconda algo más que el cuerpo de un asesino legendario?
  libreriarofer | Feb 18, 2024 |
Uuuuuugh…..this was likely the single most drawn out book I’ve ever read.
The most scary-exciting thing to me in this book happens on a train with the main character’s daughter.
Helen is truly the saving element of this book.
The most interesting exchange is when a scholar speaks to a profound character in the 70s chapters regarding his carefully chosen extensive prized library.
This was definitely not for me, and next time I’m picking the buddy read….. ( )
  cmpeters | Feb 2, 2024 |
(2005)Very good tale of a family's quest to find Dracula in Europe. She is a very good writer, but the book is long - 640pages.
  derailer | Jan 25, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 732 (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.


     â€”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.

     â€”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
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Historical Fiction. Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed ofâ??a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers-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 relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettab

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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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