Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I had resisted reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova for the past two years, mostly because I wasn't interested in what I thought would be a vampire story. It's a weird situation, in that I've checked it out of the library several times, but never opened it once I got it home. Recently, Hachette sent me Kostova's second novel,The Swan Thieves, which I will be reviewing in January, and I LOVED it. That made me re-think The Historian, and I'm glad I went back and got it from my library. It was incredibly interesting, adventurous, and even had a little romance.
The story spans two generations researching the truths behind Vlad Tepes, known through history as Dracula, son of the dragon. Throughout the research process the characters travel from Oxford University, to Boston, and all over the Balkans, as well as Amsterdam and France. Throughout their travels, Helen, Paul, and his daughter, who is never named, meet many librarians, historians, and archivists who help them in their quest. Holding them back is the bureaucracy of Communist governments during the Cold War, and the disappearance and murders of people who have given them assistance.

They also are being watched by a mysterious man dressed all in black, with extremely pale skin. The book is narrated from several points of view, through letters and journals, and a little straight narration from the daughter, who opens and closes the tale.The Historian definitely was not a vampire story, more of a research and adventure story, although there are a few possible vampire sitings. It would be a good one for spending your Christmas book store gift certificates!
Did you know that Vlad Tepes is considered the original Evil Overlord? Don't worry, I don't put the bodies of my enemies on stakes around my castle!


Threeundertwo said...

I really enjoyed this book, and it was a relatively quick read, despite its size. I didn't know she'd written another! Thanks for the info.

Happy New Year!

mannequin said...

How could you NOT be interested in your namesake?
Far too many times have I judged a book by it's cover or misconceptions, only to realize that it's a wonderful book.
Bookstore gift cards; it's the best!

Yolanda said...

I sort of thought the same thing but maybe I will have to go back and try and read it in 2010.I hope you have a wonderful 2010.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Fantastic! I bought this a couple of months ago and have been debating when/if to read it. You've convinced me!

Buttercup said...

I really liked "The Historian" and still think of it, though I read it three years ago. Would definitely want to read her new book. Thanks for the recommendation and a very happy and healthy new year to you.

Medianewstime said...

I really enjoyed reading this book, thanks

Happy New Year!