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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 an alternate Hardcover edition.
Dan Brown's DaVinci Code reads like a movie script; in contrast, Kostova's writing is mesmerizing.
I couldn't put this book down for the first 150 pages, but then as the story wore on I found myself having a hard time wanting to read on.
Cons: Far too long, more interested in pretty descriptions than plot and character, too many coincidences.
I hated almost everything about this book. The first 700 pages go almost nowhere and can easily be condensed down to 100 pages to make a much better book with halfway decent... Read morePublished 18 hours ago by J. Wood
Some books are page turners; this one is a page churner. The author wastes page after page of tedious description of buildings, food, people, and everything else possible without... Read morePublished 9 days ago by BAL
Love this audio book! Great performance and everything! Good history mystery book! Love it so much! I refer it to all my history major friends! Read morePublished 16 days ago by Nina Williams
I loved this book! Beautifully written, very historical and believable. I read while in Istanbul and Germany, extra scary! Read morePublished 16 days ago by Elizabeth Mcliney
This is the most interesting Vampire tale I have ever read. I gave my hard copy to a friend for his wife who is a big fan of Vampire stories. They were thrilled also. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Grant J. Fricks
I absolutely loved this book. It is rich in plot, character and the author has clearly done her research. Beautifully written. It's in my top 10 of best loved books.Published 21 days ago by mrs w bunning
I kept seeing this book popping up, but I was getting input from readers that went from 'this is a great read' to 'I fell asleep and couldn't finish'. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Rebecca Trogner
In a lot of ways the Historian mirrors Bram Stoker's Dracula in its epistolary content, and the creation of a creepy, yet compelling Dracula who exists in the contemporary world. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Rach Dora
This is the second time I have read this book - something I rarely do. It was one of my favorite books, not because of the topic but due to the intertwining of lives and events. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Discerning