Published by Little Brown and Company on April 1, 2003
Genres: Gothic, Horror & Ghost Stories, Mystery
Source: Owned Audible Book, Read in 2014
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge 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 inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers-one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions, a relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettable.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I listened to The Historian for the first time several years ago during a cold and rainy October in Virginia, about a year after we moved here. I was still a bit lonely, and was reigniting my love affair with audiobooks. I remember loving it, and the version I fell in love with had a fantastic cast, and I made a point of listening to every fall for a few years.
But, alas, last year I discovered that my wonder audiobook was ABRIDGED! I was upset, naturally, but I thought maybe only a little had been left out in order to make the cast production reading go smoother. That’s realistic, right? Wrong! Over 10 hours of audio had been left out! The horror! I felt like the worst reader ever. I was about ready to hand over my library card and call it quits. Maybe take up skydiving or something outdoorsy (I’m not a fan of the outdoors, but why should I enjoy the new hobby, I’d read the abridged version of a book and hadn’t even noticed!).
Instead I just bought the unabridged audio version, even though it was not performed by my lovely all star cast. And I planned to listen to it right away… but, I know you can’t see my audiobook tbr pile, but it’s BIG. HUGE.
The unabridged version is over 26 hours long though, and that takes commitment, one I wasn’t able to enter into until this past October. Since the abridged version has long been one of my favorite books, I was unsurprised to find that I love the super long assed version just as much. I also thought the lack of a full cast would hurt the narration, but the two narrators did a wonderful job, especially with all the many Eastern European accents.
I love The Historian, love all the rich history and obscure trivia and vampire lore it combines. The danger and dread mix perfectly with the history and geography (seriously, I feel smarter when I listen to this book- like I do when I read a Deborah Harkness novel. I will take Kostova’s Dracula over Bram Stoker’s any day!
Justine Eyre and Paul Michael gave a fantastic performance. It’s not quite as atmospheric as the unabridged full cast production, but it’s still pretty damn amazing. Both Eyre and Michael had to master tons of accents and languages, and I was transported into the story just like I was the first time I listened.