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As well as numerous settings, both in and out of the East Bloc, Kostova has three basic story lines to keep straight--one from 1930, when Professor Bartolomew Rossi begins his dangerous research into Dracula, one from 1950, when Professor Rossi's student Paul takes up the scent, and the main narrative from 1972. 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 conqueror like the Soviet Union.
Although 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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book was another in a long line of recommendations culled from everywhere I came in contact with books--and I'm so glad I found this one. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Maree LaRue
I picked this book up after re-reading Dracula (my all-time favorite horror read). The premise--a more historical take on the legends surrounding Dracula--sounded unique, and I... Read morePublished 4 days ago by LongLiveLibraries245
Completely random read. My wife was reading it as part of a book club and decided to read it as well. Very well written through out... (Mild spoiler) Until the end. Read morePublished 5 days ago by A. Ruester
Awesome story, great characters, all in all an excellent experience.Published 5 days ago by Jefferson Pimenta
I personally think this is a brilliant book. I've read it twice. Kostova's research is amazing.Published 15 days ago by kimberly edge
I loved the story, but the details of the history were a bit too much for me. It was not a quick read type of book. Read morePublished 23 days ago by R.Lynn
I can’t decide if The Historian is a travelogue, detective novel or an ode to old manuscripts. Kostova weaves together 3 timelines to create a fascinating narrative. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Not-So-Grande Dame
Great book in that there were many moments that I couldn't put it down. The author gives beautiful, vivid descriptions and great suspenseful dialogue. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Suzanne Karl-Brigman