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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.
I'm sure that there are many people who are librarians, historians and others who are just very interested in the intricate details of foreign history and monuments.
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I stumbled across this when looking for good vampire horror novels. Read more
This book is much fun to read, interweaving somewhat obscure but fact-filled history with a fanciful story. Its length stretched out the pleasure. Highly recommeneded.Published 2 days ago by Rox R
Wonderful blend of history and storyline. The characters make you feel their emotions.Published 2 days ago by John Pointer
The Historian Great read after the first half of the book. Slow to get into but finishes with a bang!Published 6 days ago by Nancy F.
Elizabeth Kostova is a very fine writer as well as entrancing storyteller: "that gleam of emotion" (tears in the eyes but not brimming) hooked me in at page 37. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Brenda Teese