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The Historian
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
A young girl discovers her father's darkest secret and embarks on a harrowing journey across Europe to complete the quest he never could -- to find history's most legendary fiend: Dracula. When a motherless American girl living in Europe finds a medieval book and a package of letters, all addressed ominously to "My dear and unfortun...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780316011778
ISBN-10: 0316011770
Publication Date: 6/14/2005
Pages: 642
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 991 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Historian on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 21
Absolutely wonderful book! I honestly could not put it down and missed sleep reading this book. Yes, the writing style is a little different than what you're used to but I think that may help with the overall mood of the book. If you like history, following clues and a touch of horrific tension you'll adore this book.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 15
I enjoyed this book very much. I notice the reviews where people felt it was a slow read. Although it is a Vampire story, it is more of a historical novel. I love both types of books.If you just want o fnd out "what happens" you may feel impatient. This book is a travelogue, a mystery and a fascinating history of Eastern Europe. This is not a fluff book. I hope you'll give it a try.
sharrona avatar reviewed The Historian on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
At times while reading the first half of this book, I felt impatient for "the story" to begin. It felt like too much detail, too much background. Looking back, I can see that each twig of detail was important, and was carefully placed to build a roaring bonfire by the story's end. This was a remarkable book, in the development of the story from the point of view of several characters, the view of the past through many layers of stories and sources, and the gradual accumulation of a subtle awareness in the reader's imagination of what might be happening that wasn't quite mentioned, wasn't exactly described, but was only hinted at. This is a book I look forward to reading again in a year or two.
mamadoodle avatar reviewed The Historian on + 1105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Interesting take on the Dracula history. A little long though - I didn't finish it. Writer needed to get to the point quicker than she did.
mimibottoms avatar reviewed The Historian on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I really enjoyed this book about one family's search through libraries, medieval documents, and beautiful historic cities for the tomb of a monster... Vlad the Impaler, the real man whose crimes and blood-thirsty life inspired the folk legends and Hollywood version of Dracula. The story is told through a woman's flashbacks to her teenager years as she listened to the stories her father told her and had her own experiences in the search. I think this book is very well written with many lively descriptions of people, places, and events. And there are several twist and turns in the story to keep you turning the pages until the very last. Will they be able to find Vlad's tomb? Will Vlad's body be in his tomb or will an empty sarcophagus reveal that the legends are true and he is undead?
Read All 237 Book Reviews of "The Historian"

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MerryHearted avatar reviewed The Historian on + 35 more book reviews
Dark historical mystery; quite tense. I wish I had read the original Dracula book first, but this was good even without that background.
mazeface avatar reviewed The Historian on + 66 more book reviews
Traipse all over Cold War Europe looking for Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula.

I enjoyed Kostova's descriptions of the various countries the characters visit. Some readers may find it slow in the middle, but I stuck it out and it was worth it.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
I don't usually read books on Dracula or vampires, but I found this very interesting and have read it twice. I lived in Turkey for a few years and found the references very interesting and relatable. Less blood and gore than some readers might like, but just enough for me.
garythefowler avatar reviewed The Historian on + 65 more book reviews
A fascinating side of, or addition to, the Dracula mythology, carried into the mid 20th and early 21st centuries. Well told, somehow both moving fast in some places and requiring a slower chewing in others. This is one of those big thick novels that is a pleasure to get into.
2manyb00ks avatar reviewed The Historian on + 203 more book reviews
Awesome read! I started watching the new Dracula series around the time I finished this book. So cool to see the similarities. I love how this author made the book so believable. I enjoyed reading the Readers Pick Guide at the back as well. Certainly not a quick read... there is a lot of content to soak up with this book. I enjoyed it though!
reviewed The Historian on + 92 more book reviews
Surprise, this was about Count Dracula. Well that will teach me to read the cover before reading. Actually it was an interesting story and easy reading and I enjoyed it although some accounts of what he did to others left me short of breathe.
author-wwiinovel avatar reviewed The Historian on + 21 more book reviews
Okay, so this is a vampire tale in that it is a search for the legendary Dracula figure by noted fictional historians, but it is no sensational and glossy tale of bloodsuckers. Told through a series of letters, a young woman searches for the truth about her historian father, her more-than-mysterious mother, their relationship, and the terrible truth about the fate of her grandfather, another historian on a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler and his final resting place. Sound circuitous? It does describe a grand circle in a most absorbing read, one that you should take your time enjoying. Don't expect to read it like a âsummer beach novel,â rather experience it as a magnificent quest of epic proportion.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
If you are into historical fiction that is detail oriented you will probably like this book I found myself skimming over all the detail, there is just so much of it, landscape, buildings, etc. It is a lengthy book that requires a serious time commitment. If I like a book I can't put it down. It took me several weeks to read this book. If I had it to do over I don't know that I would.
chix96 avatar reviewed The Historian on + 5 more book reviews
The Historian surprised me! I was pulled in by others' descriptions of it being a vampire novel that had not succumbed to high-school fantasy. And I must say, it was actually scary. At no point does Dracula ever stop being anything than completely terrifying.

I found the details in the book to be marvelously well-researched (or, I don't know enough about the tops to have detected errors). As a rehabilitated academic myself (biology), I loved the descriptions of research methods and visiting archives - all back in an era where a researcher must physically visit a library. There were other unexpectedly rich layers of details: life in Communist Hungary, the lunch and dinner spreads in Istanbul, and descriptions of medieval book-making.

My only criticism of the book is that it is only truly scary for about a 100 page swath. After that, the tension descends to a much lower level of a mystery novel. This might have been a good thing, since I read it every night. Either way, I couldn't put it down and I'm now passing it around to my friends.
jane1817 avatar reviewed The Historian on + 6 more book reviews
If you like your novels historical, detailed, lengthy, and full of vampires, then The Historian is your book. I read Kostova's subsequent book, The Swan Theives, but found it - while well-crafted - more blear than brilliant. As well, Kostova's more authentic voice is the female one in The Historian; her male protagonist in The Swan Thieves never quite rings true. For any reader who has made research forays into the Dracula tale - both factual and fantasy - The Historian is a sort of bible. Kostova did a masterful job of marrying known facts of Vlad the Impaler's life, times, and geography to the persistent and evolving mythology derived from them. There are times when the load of information is a lot for the novel form to bear, but the reader needs to slow to a Dickensian pace and let the marriage work. It's a slow-cooked stew, not a quick burger.
reviewed The Historian on
Outstanding vampire tale that I was sad to see end. Loved the narrative and the mystery.
txag80 avatar reviewed The Historian on + 257 more book reviews
If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
stargazingbookworm avatar reviewed The Historian on + 29 more book reviews
A fascinating twist on the Dracula legend.
I had tried twice to read this book and put it down both times, third try was the charm. It is a bit hard to get into but once you get used to the author's style of writing the story starts to unfold and you become hooked.
reviewed The Historian on + 100 more book reviews
I read 111 pages and called it quits. I didn't want to read about any more murder and mayhem and I didn't care if Dracula was still alive.
UALabGeek avatar reviewed The Historian on + 46 more book reviews
Well written but somewhat confusing to follow the first person narration of frequently-changing narrators. I liked the characters and I liked the plot but is was ploddingly slow for the first 500 pages. I ended up setting it aside for a month and going back to it later. Exciting ending, though. Too bad she couldn't have written the whole book with that kind of intensity.
reviewed The Historian on + 5 more book reviews
This book is a great read! The first half is really scary...I was reading it at night and had a hard time going to sleep! The middle part slows down a bit, but the ending is good, and overall I really enjoyed it.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
A little long, but if you like bram stoker's dracula, you'll probably like this too!
booksaremycrack avatar reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
It is an interesting book, and you do want to finish it in order to find out what is going on. However, every quarter of the book, a lull would hit, and I would loose interest. It took me two years to finish reading it because I would read it in spurts. When things picked up, I couldn't put it down, but when it got slow, I had a hard time pushing through. If you don't mind putting in the time and effort, it is worth reading.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
This book is excellent, except for the ending. I usually don't get into scary novels, but was intrigued enough by the description that I was caught up into the spirit of it before I realized what it was about. This book was a little predictable at times but still contains enough plot twists that it'll keep you reading up to the end.

And that's the problem; the end of the story. I won't ruin it for you, but will enjoy the first 685 pages (yes, it's a long read, but well worth it, until the end). It's almost like the author was being pushed by her publisher to finish the book; which she did, but the ending is horrible from a literary perspective.
reviewed The Historian on + 628 more book reviews
Excellent historical fictioon about Vad the Impaler, Dracula. Ver engrossing and well written.
txag80 avatar reviewed The Historian on + 257 more book reviews
If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
vamplver avatar reviewed The Historian on + 14 more book reviews
i couldnt get into this book. so hard to follow.
reviewed The Historian on
This is a real vampire tale- scary and full of good historical references.
reviewed The Historian on + 32 more book reviews
I was entertained. I love books with history, detail. You will too if that's the type of book you are interested in.
reviewed The Historian on + 7 more book reviews
Is is fiction or is it real??? Wonderfully well written, makes you really think. Could it really be, are vampires really real? Not a horror book, a great scinetific study with a family and a bit of a love story....hummmmmmmm?