Reviews & Overviews by Rod Cameron

        
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova

This appears to be Elizabeth Kostova’s first novel. There is very little biographical detail in the book other than to tell us that she graduated from Yale. But she has produced a very impressive story which according to the cover has become an international bestseller. At the start, a young woman is browsing through her father’s library and comes across an old book and a bundle of letters. She reads the beginning of the first which says “My dear and unfortunate successor, it is with regret that I imagine, whoever you are, reading the account I must put down here.” And she becomes obsessed with learning about the subject of the letters – Vlad the Impaler otherwise known as Dracula.

She is willingly dragged into a mysterious quest which she discovers is her birthright. And as it says on the back of the book, “her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.” This is an excellent, gripping, mystery horror story. Just why is Dracula so concerned with historians and librarians? And what happened to her mother? Her story is told interlaced with her father’s story through letters and narrative. The mixture makes for a fast-paced, very readable novel.

She has pumped fresh blood (sorry!) into a genre which has looked a bit tired for some time. No longer. The end result is a book that is far more readable than Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and a great deal more subtle than Anne Rice’s Lestat series of Vampire chronicles. It is a seamless blend of fantasy and history. And which definitely merits the description of International bestseller. Hopefully it will not be too long before she submits another offering for us. Just two questions spring to mind. Why is the introduction to The Historian dated January 2008? And what happened to the books at the end? Perhaps a sequel is possible / planned?

Publisher: Time Warner Books
Date: 2005
Pages: 704 Pages
Price: £6.99
ISBN: 0-7515-3728-4
Format: Trade paperback
Reviewed by: Rod Cameron
Date Reviewed: March 2006

Copyright : Roderick Alasdair Cameron 2001 - 2012                   rod@rodcameron.co.uk