The Historian (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

A young woman exploring
her father’s library finds a sinister book with a dragon a the center.  When she mentions the book to her father a
chain of events begin that will alter her sheltered life.  Imagine that Vlad Dracula still walks the
earth.  Although the subject matter does
include the ever popular vampire, this book is so much more!  History of the real Vlad Dracula is blended
with the story of a family and the political and societal conditions in Eastern
Europe. Kostova takes us all over Eastern Europe, Istanbul, France, Amsterdam
and Britain.  The spectacular settings
are beautifully described.  The Historian is a moody,
dark, suspenseful wonderful book that kept me enthralled. 

— Deon Stonehouse


An "innovative" (The New Yorker) retelling of the story of Dracula. Told with the flourish and poise of a talented storyteller, Kostova turns the age-old tale into a compelling "late night page-turner" (San Francisco Chronicle)

When a young woman discovers a cache of ancient letters, she is thrown into the turbulent history of her parents' dark pasts. Uncovering a labyrinthine trail of clues, she begins to reconstruct a staggering history of deceit and violence.

Debut novelist Elizabeth Kostova creates 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.

About the Author

Elizabeth Kostova graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. Her second novel, The Swan Thieves, will be published in October 2009.

Praise For…

"In this smart retelling of the Dracula story, a young girl's discovery of a mysterious book, blank save for a sinister woodcut of a dragon, impels her father to divulge, reluctantly, details of his vampire-hunting days back in grad school. Halfway through his tale, which is told over several sessions in various atmospheric European locations, he vanishes. His daughter's quest to find him is interwoven with letters that reveal the past in full. Kostova's knowledge of occult arcana is impressive, and she packages her erudition in a graceful narrative that only occasionally lapses into melodrama. The structure-a story within a letter within a flashback-is an innovative complication, but it is soon shaken off by the swift-moving plot. Kostova never strays far from the conventions of the genre, and her historical thriller feels somewhat indebted to best-sellers of the recent past; there are Christian heresies, scholarly sleuths, and a malaprop-prone Eastern European guide. "—The New Yorker

"Quite extraordinary...Kostova is a natural storyteller...She has refashioned the vampire myth into a compelling contemporary novel, a late-night page-turner."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Part thriller, part history, part romance....Kostova has a keen sense of storytelling and she has a marvelous tale to tell."—Baltimore Sun

"Kostova's vampire is no campy Lugosi knockoff....Blending history and myth, Kostova has fashioned a version so fresh that when a stake is finally driven through a heart, it inspires the tragic shock of something happening for the very first time."—Newsweek
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316070638
ISBN-10: 0316070637
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: September 1st, 2009
Pages: 720
Language: English