The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

20061121-historianThere is the Dracula legend, thanks to the classic by Bram Stoker and then there is Vlad Tepes – the prince of Wallachia, Romania in the 15th century.  This book is blending facts and fiction quite successfully and therefore producing a rather  interesting read.  The Historian is the second lengthiest book I have ever read, the first being The Count of Monte Cristo.  After having read it on and off for months, I can say that it does take some time getting into the book, but once you do you might enjoy it, as I have.

The book is packed with mystery, however I think it could’ve contained a little bit more suspense as I felt the prose was dragging along, making me become bored halfway into the book and wishing it over. The story is loosely based on the history of Vlad Tepes and hunting down his burial tomb.  The story deals with a professor who tells the story to his daughter who, along with him and many others starts hunting down the tomb of Vlad Tepes by moving from Instanbul, Romania, Bulgaria in search for documents, research, history and maps to find the real tomb of Vlad Tepes.  On her journey she discovers the secrets of her father’s past and what happened to her mother, who left/died when she was a very small child.

Vlad Tepes
Vlad Tepes

I have never read Dracula by Bram Stoker, and I must admit that I know very little about this classic as well. However, what I’ve learned by reading The Historian is that Dracula is based on Vlad Tepes, which makes me think I should read the Bram Stoker novel too.  The Historian contains a lot of history about Vlad and also have some elements of his fictional persona, Dracula, in the book (i.e the believe in vampirism)

Regardless of the fact that I found the prose to be dragging in the first part of this lengthy book, I found it really interesting.  If I had read it without interruption and more interest (like say for instance I had read Dracula before) I would have enjoyed it more, of that I am positive.  This book also feels like a travelogue.  If you enjoy stories about travel, history, libraries, archives and especially Dracula, then you will surely enjoy this

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

Image sources here  and here