Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova

Okay, I am a major vampire fan. I love books, movies or anything about vampires. So, when I heard that a new book was out called The Historian, I, of course went out and bought it. With all my schoolwork, it took me about four days to read it, and that was reading it every spare minute that I had. I love it, what a great new take on an old story.

The Historian was written for us book lovers, for those of us who love literature of all kinds. The book takes us on a tour of the greatest libraries in the world and some very remote ones as well. I would be heartbroken to learn that all of them were made up, and I think that some of them must be real.

The story follows several historians as they hunt for the tomb of Vlad the Impaler, the man behind the Dracula legend. Its elaborate time-scheme involves three generations of academics. In 1930, Rossi, an Oxford don, becomes obsessed with Vlad Tepes (the medieval warlord who was Stoker’s model) and his role in resisting Turkish rule. Twenty-five years later, Rossi vanishes, revealing in a letter that Dracula is still at large, and his protégé Paul sets off for eastern Europe in search of him, hooking up en route with Rossi’ s daughter Helen, an anthropologist, who turns out to be a descendent of Dracula. Their quest and Rossi’s are related in the 1970s by Paul to their teenage daughter, the novel’s overall narrator and (as we learn from a prologue dated “2008”) a future professor. The restless Helen has resurfaced after years of traveling and minimal communication, and her husband and child hunt for her separately, converging at a French monastery.

This is not a book for the normal reader. You have to really love literature and reading about literature to enjoy this book. There are few action packed sequences, very little blood, and next to no fighting. So if you are looking for action packed, Dracula hunting novel, keep looking. This is a novel for historians themselves, interested in the legend of Dracula.


Libraryhill said...

Thanks for the review! I keep seeing this book on reserve at the library and thought it looked good. Now I MUST go get one of my own!


Dorothy Cady said...

Your review makes this book, one I'd never have considered reading, look interesting enought to take the time for. I'm a library fan, and think it must contain great information about various libraries. For the most part, I read and write young adult fantasy, so I'm not too sure this fits in with that. But still, I'm considering reading it after having read your review.