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The Historian

Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)
Non-member price: $17.47
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Newcomer of the Year, 2006.
A Richard and Judy Summer Read Selection.

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.

©2005 Elizabeth Kostova. All Rights Reserved. (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks. All Rights Reserved.

Critic Reviews

2005 Audie Award Nominee, Multi-Voiced Performance

"The Historian is artfully constructed and atmospheric." (Washington Post Book World)
"A bloodthirsty delight....Both literary and scary, this one is guaranteed to keep one reading into the wee hours." (Booklist)
"Exotic locales, tantalizing history, a family legacy, and a love of the bloodthirsty: it's hard to imagine that readers won't be bitten, too." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Cliche.

I tried several times to read this book. But kept getting confused in the different layers of the story. The audio book is great and much easier to follow. The story itself, I was a little disappointed with. It starts well but soon becomes very cliche.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A Genealogist
  • 15-02-2007

Superb

I chose The Historian on an impulse. It is quite the best audiobook I have downloaded from Audible. The story is largely built around a series of letters and stories from the characters and this format works really well especially given the range of narrators. It gripped me within the first 10 minutes and I have listened at every possible opportunity. The tale is quite dark but given its subject is not particulary frightening. It is however wonderfully written. If you are unsure whether to choose this as your next listen, my recommendation is 'go for it.'

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clare Dean
  • 05-09-2014

Vampire heaven

Any additional comments?

One of the most enjoyable things about vampire books is the history that comes with them. A dark and twisted vampire story at its best. Really enjoyable with suspense at every turn.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • 23-12-2012

loved it.

It is a good story and very good listing with a good twist to it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marc
  • 07-07-2010

Well read - did not like the music!

I thought the reading/dramatisation/narration was good, the musical interludes I found intrusive rather than enhancing. You knew that there was a crunch moment coming due to the music..which honestly I found more irritating as the book went on. I found that the story itself was not very strong, especially in the latter stages of the book. Whether this is due to it being an abridged version would be difficult to say. I thought it started well, but for me the second half of the book just lacked the same conviction, interest and 'credibility', bearing in mind the subject matter of the story. It has certainly put me off listening to other books by the same author and audio book publisher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • P. D. Smith
  • 25-10-2008

Very enjoyable

What can I say, I really enjoyed this book. People will obviously draw comparisons between this and the DaVinci Code, but I liked this much more. I must admit that I really liked the fact that this book was based around a myth other than the Holy Grail or similar.

Great book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mohammed
  • 21-05-2008

Good

Interestingly written, good use of history.
I thought the characters where interesting but the way the book ended did not do the book justice.

will recommend this book

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 26-04-2007

Disappointing and Dull

I really thought this would be an interesting listen, in light of the seemingly 'rave' reviews and subject matter. Unfortunately it proved to be dull and long winded and far from 'bloodthirsty'. Though read well by a cast of readers, I felt little interest in the characters who all seemed stuffy and intellectual, but solved little, and the story never seems to reach any fulfilling conclusions, it all just tails off.
Without giving anything away, the best character appears only briefly, which is a shame as I felt he conveyed a bit more emotion and presence than anyone else in the story.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-01-2010

Tension what tension?

When the audible version of a book has to resort to music to create tension you know you have bought a dud!
The plot (and I use that word with caution) was weak to the point of being in dire need of CPR. The valiant efforts of the readers were useless due to the story line having more holes than my colinder.
By the time we got the point where Dracula spoke we were rolling about with laughter. Not quite the reaction I think the author had in mind.
We always listen through to the end of a book once we have bought it but never before has it required such fortitude. Only buy it if you are mad, rich beyond caring what you buy or don't care whether a plot works or not.
This is not a harsh review as I have tempered my comments from what I really, really thought!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. B. Connor
  • 08-02-2017

gripping

Unique way of presenting this kind of story. Really loved the different actors voices. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 12-06-2009

The Historian

Without a doubt the worst audio book I've ever tried to listen to. An overwrought and horribly overlong tale. The editor should really take some of the blame for bringing this book to publication in its present state. I will run a mile before reading/listening to this author again. An old, old story which has not been improved with this attempt.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful