The Historian MOBI Ê Hardcover

The Historian ❮KINDLE❯ ❄ The Historian ❁ Author Elizabeth Kostova – If your pulse flutters at the thought of castle ruins and descents into crypts by moonlight you will savor every creepy page of Elizabeth Kostova''s long but beautifully structured thriller The Histor If your pulse flutters at the thought of castle ruins and descents into crypts by moonlight you will savor every creepy page of Elizabeth Kostova''s long but beautifully structured thriller The HistorianThe story opens in Amsterdam in when a teenage girl discovers a medieval book and a cache of yellowed letters in her diplomat father''s library The pages of the book are empty except for a woodcut of a dragon The letters are addressed to My dear and unfortunate successor When the girl confronts her father he reluctantly confesses an unsettling story his involvement twenty years earlier in a search for his graduate school mentor who disappeared from his office only moments after confiding to Paul his certainty that Dracula Vlad the Impaler an inventively cruel ruler of Wallachia in the mid th century was still alive The story turns out to concern our narrator directly because Paul''s collaborator in the search was a fellow student named Helen Rossi the unacknowledged daughter of his mentor and our narrator''s long dead mother about whom she knows almost nothing And then her father leaving just a note disappears alsoAs well as numerous settings both in and out of the East Bloc Kostova has three basic story lines to keep straight one from when Professor Bartolomew Rossi begins his dangerous research into Dracula one from when Professor Rossi''s student Paul takes up the scent and the main narrative from The criss crossing story lines mirror the political advances retreats triumphs and losses that shaped Dracula''s beleaguered homeland sometimes with the Byzantines on top sometimes the Ottomans sometimes the rag tag local tribes or the Orthodox church and sometimes a fresh conueror like the Soviet UnionAlthough the book is appropriately suspenseful and a delight to read even the minor characters are distinctive and vividly seen its most powerful moments are those that describe real horrors Our narrator recalls that after reading descriptions of Vlad burning young boys or impaling a large family she tried to forget the words For all his attention to my historical education my father had neglected to tell me this history''s terrible moments were real I understand now decades later that he could never have told me Only history itself can convince you of such a truth The reader although given a satisfying ending gets a strong enough dose of European history to temper the usual comforts of the closing words Regina Marler.

10 thoughts on “The Historian

  1. Meredith Holley Meredith Holley says:

    You know you’ve been in school too long when you write a vampire novel in which Dracula’s ultimate threat is to force his victims to catalog his extensive library of antiue books On the other hand after finishing The Historian and its detailed Vlad the Impaler research I’m willing to consider that threat as akin to impalement If Kostova’s references to Henry James did not reveal her as an admirer of his then its sprawling prose vague plot and sexually confused characters would have While imitation of Henry James is not enough in itself to make me wish undeath on an author it sucked the blood out of this adventure Kostova writes The Historian in epistolary form primarily through letters from a father historian to a daughter presumably historian The greater part of the book however focused not on this father daughter team’s desperate search for family members and Dracula but on the obscure history of Vlad Tepes the historical figure who inspired the legend of Dracula and on the geography of Romania Bulgaria and Turkey during the Cold War If the Travel Channel™ was ever looking for someone to host Istanbul on a Budget 1980 or Passport to Monasteries Behind the Iron Curtain Kostova would be their woman Whether the history and geography is true or not the sheer volume of trivia padding this book and the work it had to have taken to put it all together is confounding Even with the impressive research this story is Scooby Doo with no Scooby Snacks Dracula would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those pesky historians Dracula and his henchman the “evil librarian” don’t plague society or cause panic Rather they make appearances in goofy disguises in libraries and cafes to give books and other clues to especially promising young historians inspiring the recipients to begin insatiable uests to find out about this Dracula fellow Then Dracula inevitably shows up again to slap people around a little so that the historians will be too afraid to continue their research Once after giving a historian a book to start him on his vampire studies Dracula disguises himself as “a stranger” and buys that historian a drink called “whimsically amnesia” Bet you can’t guess what that does all that research down the tubes Stop the mind games Dracula Not to be deterred by Dracula’s or the Evil Librarian’s threats the historians continue to stalk their prey until the reader would pity Dracula if he weren’t annoying because he is ultimately only trying to build a book collection and a gang of faithful research assistants In painful detail Paul the central historianvampire slayer as he tells his daughter the story of his search for Dracula also tells of falling in love with her “mannish” mother Helen The consistent descriptions of our heroine as “manly” only hint at Paul’s sexual confusion which becomes most apparent when he meets his rival Helen’s ex boyfriend a Soviet spy Paul describes this meeting to his daughter in chapter 38 “’What a pleasure to meet you’ ex boyfriend said giving me a smile that illuminated his fine features He was taller than I with thick brown hair and the confident posture of a man who loves his own virility – he would have been magnificent on horseback riding across the plains with herds of sheep I thought” Except for the word “virility” I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading that description If the author of the uote had been a man I would encourage him to openly write gay characters rather than making his characters marry to hide their sexuality From the author’s picture on the dust jacket I see that she is Madame Bovary so the description fits It is true that because of the vagueness of the plot and the epistolary structure entire chapters and characters could be cut from this book without losing any story Beyond its rambling descriptions however The Historian flounders as a vampire story Psychological conflict adds complexity to most vampire stories as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula when Mina formerly a protagonist becomes bloodthirsty Thirst is the most basic human experience and all vampires started as humans Theoretically thirst or broadly desire could become evil in anyone; and therefore of all monsters we most easily identify with vampires In The Historian however I am left with the impression that if those historians left poor Dracula alone he would have just kept collecting books It was ultimately the research and study not Dracula himself that took the historians away from their loved ones and almost destroyed them From where I’m reading The Historian is solid evidence of what most high school kids could tell you too much study is both boring and potentially bad for your health

  2. Martha Martha says:

    This has got to be one of the most disappointing books I've read in a long time Although the descriptions of the various eastern European cities are often pretty and atmospheric my frustration with this book won't let me mark it above one starIt starts out well; very interesting and suspenseful for about the first 100 pages or so But as you read it the book just gets and ridiculous It's about 600 900 pages long which is way way too long and I urge anyone reading this book to just put it down or read one of the one star spoiler reviews on and be done with it Or better yet ignore the book entirelyWhat bothered me most? I'll try to make a list of my top issues Coincidences Everything in this book happens by some remarkable coincidences One here or there would be fine even interesting but it's as if the author decided 'here's how the plot should go' and couldn't be bothered to come up with realistic reasons for characters to do things and just wanted to move them from one point to another One of the characters even ends up with amnesia Amnesia Like from a bad soap opera I mean are you kidding? So stuff just happens For no reason Which leads me to Stuff just happens For no reason Such as characters getting together romantically well just because No build up no logic they just do because I guess they're both there and they have nothing better to do Which leads me to The characters themselves Completely non existent One reviewer on said that if you take any random section of dialogue from the book it is impossible to tell which character it came from So true The author is completely incapable of creating realistic breathing characters that are different from each other Instead they all talk the same they all have the same reactions the same motives hook up randomly in the same way etc There is nothing believable about these people And for some reason they all write unbelievably detailed letters Which leads me to Unbelievably detailed letters Now I have read a number of great books that use the format of letter writing to convey the plot But this? Ridiculous Not only are these letters insanely long but they are insanely detailed as well creating yet another reason why the book and the characters are completely unbelievable If that's how the author wanted to write this why did she do the letter thing at all? Which brings me to my final big gripe I've leaving the small ones out The ending OMG if you value your sanity do not I repeat DO NOT finish this book Because if you are sane you will get to the ending and go 'What? What?? Are you f n kidding me?? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard' No joke The ending especially after 600 pages has got to be the biggest let down of any major novel in recent years I won't spoil it here however badly I want to vent about it but I swear to you it will cause you physical agony when you read itIn short bad book promises a lot and delivers none of it Ignore it read something else

  3. Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies says:

    January 3 2014Dear Khanh of 2006I am your older wiser self Many things will happen in the years that have elapsed before you become the me of today You will fall in love You will break hearts You will get your heart broken karma's a bitch You will change jobs You will graduate from collegeMost importantly you will become intelligent you will learn the art of advanced thinking because really all college teaches you is how to get good grades by regurgitating textbooks When you are older as you begin to read critically you will learn to appreciate a good book and you will be able to identify literary bullshit when you see itThat's all this book is Literary bullshitThis book is dramatic rubbish artistic gibberish It is nothing than a glorified travel brochureSeriously younger Khanh what the fuck were you thinking when you enjoyed this book? You thought it was sweet you thought it was romantic you thought the writing was beautiful Really? Really?Between 2006 and 2014 you will be able to identify purple prose when you see it You will realize that flowery prose is not good writing Correlation does not imply causation and good writing does not necessarily encompass a good plotYou will be able to recognize a deus ex fucking machina when you see it Oh I know that you learned about deus ex machina in AP English You learned a lot of things in English class You learned about symbolism foreshadowing all that good shit but really it does you no fucking good unless you are able to identify it when you see it And clearly you did not see the tremendous horrifying abominable that's a hyperbole overuse of deus ex fucking machina upon your first perusal of this bookYou will realize that a good epistolary book involving several different characters should have the characters be actually fucking distinct Did you seriously think this book was realistic in any way when you cannot distinguish between the narrative of an old man an older man and that of a girl as she grows from her early teens?Did you ever for a moment think upon the complete absurdity of the letters and the storytelling particularly when said letters and spoken stories were told in excruciating minutiae Is that realistic in any way? In your letters have you ever once mentioned the trivialities of your evening routine particularly when it made absolutely no relevance whatsoever to whatever point you were trying to make? While I waited I poked up the fire added another log set out two glasses and surveyed my desk My study also served me for a sitting room and I made sure it was kept as orderly and comfortable as the solidity of its nineteenth century furnishings demanded I had completed a great deal of work that afternoon supped off a plate brought up to me at six o’clock and then cleared the last of my papers When you tell a story to your friends have you ever once mentioned the drumming of your fingertips when you're trying to tell a story of supposedly the utmost importance? I drummed my fingers on the desktop The clock in my study seemed to be ticking unusually loudly tonight and the urban half darkness seemed too still behind my venetian blinds I know you are young and stupid but you are not that stupid Please don't tell me that this book fooled you in any way Did you seriously buy into the letters and the stories?Fucking letters Fucking stories Bullshit attempts at letters and storytelling and an epistolary timeline that is everything overwrought all that is overdramatic and completely devoid of sense and rationality I would beg for a little bit of sensationalism over sense because overall the plot of this story is entirely lacking in anything remotely resembling fascination anything that would captivate and hold the imagination rather than lulls it to sleepYou endured over 700 pages of this balderdash for a story that doesn't even bring any sense of excitement Vlad Tepes holds no danger He is the euivalent of a grown up high school bully Once powerful he no longer holds any amount of thrall The only remnants of his power are the few close hangers on the few douchebags foolish enough to cling onto the remains of a long diminished power That high school bully might scare a few odd child here and there with his posturing with his scowls You as an adult are no longer afraid You as an adult should know better than to buy into this book's aesthetically pleasing inconseuential claptrapReluctantly yoursAn older a erudite a considerably critical Khanh

  4. J J says:

    This novel is better than I had any anticipation of it being I’d seen it among a friend’s luggage then later saw it at the library Having just come off three weeks of nineteenth century novelists I thought Oh something light would be a nice change After all I thought Vampires The book is about vampires And not just any vampire but the mack daddy himself Dracula the real Vlad the Impaler who turns out to be the undeadLight reading Sure Six hundred and fifty pages of vampires that is less concerned with torn pulsing arteries than with the minutiae of historical research And much like Dracula to which Kostova’ novel The Historian owes an incalculable debt so than many another vampire novel the novel is constructed as a story within a story within a storyOne of the novel’s central conceits is how much of the story is told in the form of letters written by the young female narrator’s father As this sum surpasses well over 300 pages in type obvious plausibility considerations of scale arise but only if you stop to think about it long enough In the middle of the father Paul’s letters he is handed a parcel of letters written by his mentor Bartolomeo Rossi which are also substantially sized documentsAs their stories take them further and further into Eastern and Central Europe the texts begin to shelter one inside the other inside the other like Russian nesting dolls As the narrator reads the letters of her father Paul tells of visiting a Bulgarian scholar who reads to him from a manuscript which includes in its history yet another person’s lengthy transcription of in fact one person’s reminisces about Vlad Tepes This kind of layered story is most definitely part of Kostova’s novel’s sensibility and it’s rather an amusing in jokeWhat’s impressive about all this is how Kostova weaves three sizable narratives together alternating time and place and narrative voice We first are in Amsterdam of 1972 as our young narrator a sixteen year old school girl tells of discovering a mysterious volume in her diplomat father’s office and later of her journey to France Part of what sends her out are the letters she is reading left to her by her father after he vanishes telling of his travels and investigations into the Dracula legend in the 1950s Eastern Bloc He is launched across the Soviet empire as well as through the byzantine mazes of Istanbul’s streets and libraries trying to discover what became of his missing mentor Along the way as we try to find Rossi we are told of his 1930s investigations into the Dracula legend in RomaniaOn top of that there are vast stores of erudition on fifteenth century monasteries the cultural divide betwixt Romanians and Transylvanians the Walechian court medieval church politics central European folk songs Bulgarian religious rituals based around old pagan traditions historian cataloging and research methodology and the overlapping history of Central Europe with its shifting rulers of Ottomans the Orthodox church and its tiny fiefdoms and the Soviet Union For thinking about it as an historian the undead would have lived through an impressive array of erasConsider this rather late passage The “Chronicle” of Zacharias is known through two manuscripts Athos 1480 and RVII132; the latter is also referred to as the “Patriarchal Version” Athos 1480 a uarto manuscript in a single semiunical hand is house in the library at Rila Monastery in Bulgaria where it was discovered in 1923This original manuscript was probably housed in the Zographou library until at least 1814 since it is mentioned by title in a bibliography of fifteenth and sixteenth century manuscripts at Zographou dating from that year It resurfaced in Bulgaria in 1923 when the Bulgarian historian Atanas Angelov discovered it hidden in the cover of an eighteenth century folio treatise on the life of Saint George Georgi 136421 in the library at Rila MonasteryThe second and only other known copy or version of the Zacharias “Chronicle” — RVII132 or the “Patriarchal Version” — is housed at the library of the Oecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and has been paleographically dated to the mid or late sixteenth centuryNot your average vampire book eh?And that’s one of the funny things about reading this novel At times you have to remind yourself that this is a book about vampires Not that Kostova won’t remind you at some point along the way herself but that there is so much enjoyable writing throughout so much fun detective work that at times the supernatural element seems almost decidedly secondaryKostova knows well enough to keep the monsters off the stage as long as possible merely make suggestive shadows lurk here and there on the periphery and affect a rather creepy atmosphere After a point there are a hair too many overt murders that sap some of the menace surprisingly as they make the gathering darkness all too palpably concrete Then there are a number of vampire staples that might turn up normally anyway A bat flitters across a night sky In the woods near a ruin a wolf approaches the edge of the firelight After sitting for some time near a railing cobby with webs Helen Rossi daughter of Paul’s mentor and mother to the unnamed young narrator ends up with an enormous spider on her back These stand ins for the vampire are pleasantly unsettling without being accompanied by shrieking violinsWhat propels each of the main characters the young girl whose name we never discover her father Paul and his mentor Rossi is the discovery of a mysterious old book among their own a book with one printed page that of a dragon with a banner reading “Drakulya” while the rest of the pages are blank Throughout the novel we find that each character who has become obsessed with the legend of Vlad Tepes possesses a similar book that came to them under curious circumstances Why and how these volumes keep turning up is one of the novel's mysteries an it's one of Kostova's rather clever conclusions in her own well thought out realization of the character of Dracula And there is throughout the book an enormous cast of characters not merely just historical personages but various researchers and students and librarians and bureaucrats and all of them are well drawn interesting and fully fleshedWe know of course from the very beginning before the narrator even informs us that when her father Paul speaks of a young beauty named Helen who he meets while trying to track down his missing mentor that this will be the overtly absent mother of the young narrator And of course since she is absent we know there is a reason for that and of course as this is a horror novel we know she is dead — or worse Kostova manages to keep even that particularly familiar angle surprising The author is at least a thorough going plotter and she paces everything beautifully setting up revelations with periodic sparks All three story lines converge some hundred pages out from the novel’s end and from there the story picks up and aims suarely toward its conclusionThe actual climax of the novel as our heroes close in on Dracula and his daytime resting place seems rather rushed ending just all abruptly as if Kostova had opted just to skip overt dramatics which feels a bit of a cheat though she does make up for this lack of action with a final pages reversal that is as unsettling as it is uiet

  5. Michelle Michelle says:

    This is actually the second time I've read this book For a first novel it is outstanding I was completely engrossed in the story I really love history and the whole Dracula lore I thought it was a great mix of both It added a lot of suspense that made me read it with the lights on I think I read it in about four days I just couldn't put it down I will say this though if you are not really into history or researching I would skip it If you are wanting to read it just because it has to do with Dracula I would pick a much smaller book However I just love history and research duh I work in a library so it was right up my alley Actually I'm doing a little research on it myself I did read some of the comments on com and wasn't exactly surprised by the comments It was either a love it or hate it book That is why I throw my caution out there Basically people who didn't enjoy it were out for a Dracula story and thought the history was a drag I'm really into history so I thought it was pretty damn good I will say I did discover a few historical inaccuracies but I think I'll let them fly for now ; All in all a good read especially for a rainy day

  6. Matt Matt says:

    “It is with regret that I imagine you whoever you are reading the account I must put down here The regret is partly for myself – because I will surely be at least in trouble maybe dead or perhaps worse if this is in your hands But my regret is also for you my yet unknown friend because only by someone who needs such vile information will this letter someday be read If you are not my successor in some other sense you will soon be my heir – and I feel sorrow at beueathing to another human being my own perhaps unbelievable experience of evil Why I myself inherited it I don’t know but I hope to discover that fact eventually – perhaps in the course of writing to you or perhaps in the course of further events” Elizabeth Kostova The HistorianI would have enjoyed being at the pitch meeting for Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian Well most people think Dracula isn’t real Kostova must have explained What this book supposes is that not only is he real but he’s still alive and wreaking havoc on the world She must have paused here expecting perhaps to be thrown from the room Allowed to remain she plunged forward My main character is a historian she would have continued All the action takes place in libraries and consists of primary source research Yes primary source research As in looking at really old writings and then discussing them a lotShe would have paused for breath at this moment Also it is over 600 pages longClearly that meeting went well The Historian was the “it” book of 2005 It came with a huge advance and big expectations and a national promotional tour From the start it was a bestseller capitalizing on the success of The Da Vinci Code with which is shares than a few similarities I purchased The Historian back in 2005 and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since A lot of time has passed since then I was young and single and childless and I hadn’t even heard of Game of Thrones Now I’m not so young single or childless and at times I wish I’d never heard of Game of Thrones All that time sitting has been rough on The Historian It now looks as old and worn as one of the ancient documents fondled so lovingly by the characters who populate the novel I’m not sure what persuaded me to finally read it other than a gnawing guilt that I paid cover price for it twelve years ago While The Historian’s premise is simple the plot is hopelessly convoluted Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula this is an epistolary novel with large chunks of it coming in the form of “letters” written by various characters The story unfolds in three different time periods The central thread is set in the 1970s and is narrated by the unnamed daughter of a historian turned diplomat named Paul The daughter stumbles upon an old book that like the VHS tape in The Ring brings nothing but trouble to the reader Paul eventually leaves his daughter to embark on some unfinished business; the daughter needless to say pursues him The second timeline is set in the 1950s These portions are comprised of letters written by Paul to his daughter They detail his pursuit – along with a companion named Helen – of both Dracula and his mentor Professor Bartholomew Rossi who has gone missing Finally there is a briefer arc set in the 1930s made up by letters written by Rossi himself The plot contrivances and temporal leaps are not inherently difficult to follow However the aesthetics of The Historian lead to confusion I didn't have any problem with the Rossi letters set in the 1930s Kostova makes clear that we’re reading a letter by providing a dateline and setting the letter in italics The Paul letters on the other hand are given only uotation marks In other words huge chunks of the novel the Paul Helen 1950s thread is the book’s lengthiest consist of a nested narrative ala Joseph Conrad This means uotation marks A lot of uotation marks You have to pay close attention to shifts between the unnamed daughter’s story and Paul’s story Both are told in first person with little use of proper nouns The only indicator – as I’ve indicated – are uotation marks This not only causes uncertainty but annoyance I had to keep rereading sentences to separate narration from dialogue At one point the Paul letters decide to get a little meta so that there is a letter within a letter You know what that means right? uotation marks on top of uotation marks Just uotation marks all the way downIt’s a taste thing but I hate nested narrative For this reason I don’t have a great relationship with Joseph Conrad One of the interesting things about The Historian is its languorous pacing Things don’t really snap into gear and start moving until around 200 pages in Those first couple hundred pages were like a European travel guide than a historical thriller Paul and his daughter travel around seeing cool sights eating various biscuits and having long conversations Despite the lack of inertia these pages were my favorite Kostova’s great gift is in description She is excellent at breathing life into a place whether that’s a sunny afternoon on the Piazza San Marco in Venice a glimpse at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or a foreboding monastery in Communist run Bulgaria My wife and I had our third child not too long ago so the only traveling we’re doing is the midnight journey into madness It’s nice then to visit exotic locales if only in the mind Kostova also has a Tolkien esue thing for food and drink The reader is treated to many vicarious meals as the characters hopscotch around the globe Even when Kostova’s creations are in gravest danger they are never too near death to have a pleasant cup of tea Even as the plot gradually tightens there is never much action Sure there are bursts of movement Mostly though The Historian takes on a predictable pattern Paul and Helen go to various countries find an old monasterychurchlibrary and speak with someone who is either totally helpful or totally against them one of their nemeses is the “evil librarian”; not kidding that’s what he’s called They learn a clue make their plans and then head to the next destination One is tempted to say that The Historian attempts to do for historians what Indiana Jones did for archaeologists Except that isn’t entirely true The historians in this novel really act a lot like real historians except on meth Paul and Helen visit archives peruse old timey documents and attempt to decipher the past This is rather typical for a researcher save for the part about being stalked by the undeadNeat tourist locales and sumptuous repasts cannot entirely hide the fact that everything else is thin gruel The characters are props not people Nobody has any personality or depth or even a uirk Well – that’s not entirely true Paul’s uirk is that he keeps “groaning” Seriously His only reaction is to groan or to stifle a groan Jeez Paul grow up You aren’t six any The putative main character – the daughteroverall narrator – doesn’t even have a name There isn’t a believable interaction in 642 pages Paul sets out to find Rossi his mentor becauseWhy? To drive the story We are told that Paul “loves” Rossi but the key word is told The book tells us how to feel instead of convinces us with rich characterizations There are in fact enormous spans of time in which Paul doesn’t think about Rossi at all though he remembers to describe every meal he eats in his “letters” A brief rant about epistolary novels In short they are such a silly conceit It just takes me out of the novel’s world Am I really supposed to believe that a character would write a letter hundreds of pages long? Or that this letter would be structured as a novel replete with withheld information reams of dialogue internal monologues telling details and cliffhangers? It’s actually dumb There’s a reason Paul can’t catch Dracula He’s too damn busy writing his War and Peace length letter to his daughterThe characters are not helped by the leaden dialogue Just about everything spoken is exposition I don’t necessarily expect Aaron Sorkin like exchanges but still it’d be nice to have one evocative conversation This is a summertime read so I grade it on that curve It’s not bad by any means Certainly it wasn’t a chore to finish But I’m also not going to give it an entirely free pass just because it’s a literary “guilty pleasure” or whatever the term is to describe a book you’re reading when you should be finishing Dickens The Historian isn’t nearly as fun as its ridiculous foundation implicitly promises This should be over the top goofy There should be grand guignol violence There should be sex or at least half a million double entendres Alas there is no sex at all which happens when you structure a novel as a father’s letter to his daughter There should be a realization that this material is fundamentally lowbrow then go even lower but with class Instead Kostova handles this with portentous seriousness This doesn’t contain any of the gonzo amusement that a globetrotting trip around Europe on Dracula’s heels should rightfully entail

  7. Josh Josh says:

    Tentatively my hand crept towards the mouse What dark and unholy specter could be contained in other people's reviews of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian? I was filled with passive voiced dread as the link was clicked by me I was horrified to readxdragonlady's review My main problem with the book being that the author told the tale from so many different points of view but that they were each told in first person without giving the reader any notice as to who was telling the tale I don't understand why this book is on the bestseller's listI was aghast Could the novel I had just read really have been a confounding multi tiered multiple first person narrative with lack luster voices which the author clearly mistook for a clever attempt at recreating a sense of research?With much hesitation I read on I find myself thinking of my mother's comment after she read the Da Vinci Code that it was ok but she knew many other books that were written much better that should be best sellers I wish Brien had read the book at the same time as I did I would liked to have talked to him about itBlast I too wondered what xdragonladyx's mother and friend Brien would have thought If only she could have included a detailed transcription of their own reviews I may now never know if either of them viewed The Historian as an attempt to capitalize on the fad of Dan Brown style mysteries and the vampire genre Suddenly a wayward link caught my eye and I clickedSilver's review I think I read some review here on GoodReads that called this a book to be conuered You know one where after a time you feel so invested that you MUST finish it you must defeat the book you will NOT give up no matter how much you are suffering Whoever said that about Kostova's The Historian I salute youAs I read this thing about someone reading something else somewhere I was reminded of my own refusal to allow the dry 600 page tome to defeat me and that by the time I had completed the flatulent ending not only had I conuered it but impaled it still screaming onto a ten foot stake It was dead and without the risk of ever returning to life so that no one would ever have to read it againYou're welcome

  8. Ella Ella says:

    Am I destined for some kind of literary hell if I say I wish Dan Brown would rewrite this story with the spark and intensity of the Da Vinci Code?I think I read some review here on GoodReads that called this a book to be conuered You know one where after a time you feel so invested that you MUST finish it you must defeat the book you will NOT give up no matter how much you are suffering Whoever said that about Kostova's The Historian I salute youI kept telling my friends I was reading a book about hunting for Dracula through libraries across Europe and that it was about as exciting as it sounds I also needed to conuer this book because I wanted to figure out why so many people good friends of mine included loved this book Maybe the long hard snoozy slog occasionally punctuated by some good old fashioned undead suspense every hundred pages or so would have a really terrific ending that made it all worth it Clearly Kostova is very influenced by Gothic and Victorian writers like Stoker so maybe this book would have a grand payoff of an ending to merit the praise and best sellernessInstead Dracula is a librarian Sigh Just as boring as it soundsIt wasn't completely terrible many charicterizations are off the charts for their specificity and originality The thing about the books with the Drakulya print was really intriguing Except that's not enough The Drakulya books which could be counted as a premise with the intrinsic map that is hammered on as a significant discovery amount to nothing The map doesn't even figure into the conclusion Not even with a character saying we were totally wrong about that map So while I enjoyed parts of this book and had many moments when I couldn't put it down the alternate to finding it incredibly tedious with no in between I think its merits don't outweigh its shortcomings I wish I'd read an Actual Gothic novel maybe even by Bram Stoker instead of wasting way too long on this frustrating book

  9. Kim Friant Kim Friant says:

    5 Stars—Favorite Book EverI read this for the first time back in college I found it in Bargain Books at Barnes and Noble and once I opened it I was hooked What was most intriguing was the “Note to the Reader” section I sat there literally arguing with myself about whether or not this was fiction or an actual history book Does the author not understand that she’s writing fiction? Wait does she think this story is real?? I needed to find out so I kept reading 600 pages later I am absolutely convinced that this story is real This book became the gift that I gave to everyone for whatever event called for a gift I gave a copy to my mother in law and she loved it We’re talking about the lady who had never read a single book that even mentioned a vampire in her life It became a sign of rebellion for her that she reveled in Whenever her uptight friends came over she made sure to display The Historian to prove how cool she was And I haven’t even started talking about the story yetI try to read this book once every year And in between readings I crave the story like no other Adventure intrigue horror culture history everything is in this book I learn something new every time I read it This year I read it while we were on our cruise I finished it in 3 days I recommend this to everyone I don’t care what kind of book you enjoy reading everyone will love this bookI wrote a review for The Historian a while ago and when I went back to read it over again I realized just how incomplete it was Nothing has changed since I wrote the review it’s still my favorite book I still start longing to read it again before my year is over it still holds me enthralled while I read it yet again In fact this year’s reading meant a little because I was reading it while on a train traveling through Italy and I saw some of the places mentioned in the book I sat in Saint Marco’s Suare at Florian’s drinking a rich thick hot chocolateIt still amazes me that a work of fiction can sound so much like history and that I want to believe it all really happened Kostova has such a wonderful way of telling stories and then intertwining history and fact making everything feel so realistic and authentic like you’re living all the action I’ve added traveling through the Balkans by train in the autumn and Budapest and Romania to my list of places that I want to see The characters are so real that you feel like you’ve made new friends when you finish; when I say to Ivan that I want to visit Istanbul part of the reason is because I expect to meet Turgut and have him invite us to his house for lunch You root for them on their search for the Count and the anticipation of “what’s gonna happen next??” glides you through page after pageMy historian soul has so much fun year after year discovering details and reveling in the search and research And this book even satisfies my scare addiction There are times that it’s just creepy enough to give a shudder but not enough to make you put the book down in fright Are y’all impressed with how professional I sound in this review? Ha And a huge shout out to Elizabeth Kostova for being such a kind and gracious person I went to her book signing in the spring and she acted genuinely happy to see me I geeked out all over her and her response was to buy me a copy of her newest book The Shadow Land I’ve met authors who act like they couldn’t care less about their fans; she is not one of them This book sparked my imagination in such a way that has me coming back to it over and over again year after year

  10. Arah-Lynda Arah-Lynda says:

    This book is impossible to resist It has fairly leapt to the top shelf where it's nestled down deep with my all time favourites I confess to being initially reluctant to delve into this story I mean who really needs another campy vampire tale? Lucky for me I put these feelings aside long enough to read the first chapter after which there was no looking back Step into the pages and begin an eerie haunted hypnotic adventure thoroughly saturated in ancient history and wondrous exotic old European churches monasteries and libraries that are positively brimming with ancient parchment and long forgotten maps and books Kostova's historical tracking of the real Vlad Drakulya is flawless and she is able to describe with a chilling atmospheric eye for detail the many settings as well as the political climate in which this story unfolds A full speed ahead rich historical thriller with enough gothic images cultural folklore ancient crypts and creaking stairs that it is sure to raise the hair on the back of your neck and no doubt a compulsive insatiable interest in this age old tale This truly is GREAT fiction

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