The Historian: A Novel

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The Historian: A Novel

Format:  Hardcover,

642 pages

Publisher: Little Brown & Co

Publish Date: Jun 2005

ISBN-13: 9780316011778

ISBN-10: 0316011770

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To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....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 of-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 unforgettable.

Specifications

Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Publish Date: Jun 2005
ISBN-13: 9780316011778
ISBN-10: 0316011770
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 642
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 2.05
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.25 x 9.25 x 2.0
Walmart No.: 316011770

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2005-06-15)

Did Bram Stoker base his character Count Dracula on the historical Vlad Dracul, the cruel 15th-century prince of Wallachia? Some believe this despite scanty evidence, but in Kostova's first novel there is no doubt. In the early 20th century, Paul, a young graduate student, learns from his advisor, Professor Rossi, that Prince Dracula is still alive as one of the undead. When the professor disappears one terrifying night, Paul goes in search of his mentor, whom he knows to be in Dracula's clutches.

His search takes him to secret archives and libraries of ancient monasteries throughout Eastern Europe; he is joined by his daughter, his wife, and friends, all historians and scholars themselves. (There's even an evil, undead librarian!) The writing is excellent, and the pace is brisk, although it sags a bit in the middle. There is plenty of suspense so that readers will want to find out what happens next. Ten years in the writing, this debut is recommended for readers who enjoy arcane literary puzzles? la Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Ian Caldwell's The Rule of Four.

[See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/05.] - Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Columbia, MD

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (2005-02-15)

Is Dracula alive (so to speak) and well in modern-day Europe? That question, sparked by a strange medieval text and some letters, sets an American girl on the quest that wrecked her father. There's a big, big push here; the publisher is aiming for the Da Vinci Code and even the adult Harry Potter crowd. With a ten-city tour.

Review by Library Journal (2006-06-01)

When a teenage girl asks about a medieval book hidden in her father's library, he reluctantly recounts how it changed his life. The book of blank pages, graced with only a single dragon illustration and the word "Drakulya", appeared as he pursued his doctorate, luring him into a historical search for the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. Similar works appeared to his mentor and to his future wife, enticing each to follow a trail of manuscripts and maps in search of Dracula's grave.

Equal parts mystery, romance, travelog, and political primer, Kostova's debut novel won the Hopwoods Award for Novel-in-Progress. The tome took a decade to write and is occasionally as tedious as a long journey, but actors Justine Eyre and Paul Michael propel listeners through the byzantine plot. A library with a lively, enduring circulation of the print version could confidently invest in its audio counterpart.

-Judith Robinson, Univ. at Buffalo, NY

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • International Horror Guild Awards, 2006 (United States)
  • Book Sense Book of the Year, 2006 (United States)
  • Quill Awards, 2005 (United States)
  • Galaxy British Book Awards, 2006 (United Kingdom)

Book description

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history.... 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 of-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 unforgettable.

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