THE HISTORIAN BY ELIZABETH KOSTOVA
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is a book that I highly recommend to readers of all ages who are in search of a good read. I was first introduced to this novel through my brilliant sister (who also loves to read) a year before I read it. What a terrible decision that turned out to be! Despite knowing about the book for a full year, upon cracking it open I was still unsure about how great it was going to be. Well, let me just say that this book is on the list of the best novels I have ever read. I consider it to be a modern classic and I recommend it to anyone in search of an excellent read. Don’t be daunted by the length - it will grab you hook, line and sinker.
Here is the synopsis:
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.
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.
This book is wonderful for so many reasons. Firstly, it is a joy to read because it is filled with rich descriptions and narration and written with clarity and an excellent command of the language. Despite the fact that it was thrilling at times, dark at others and down right scary most of the time, there are moments of tenderness tucked into the book that are a sweet surprise. It is very easy to put yourself in the shoes of the heroine who is on this amazing journey to find her father and, at the same time, uncover the true story of Vlad the Impaler. In addition to writing a great story, which is a tough feat as it is, Elizabeth Kostova also manages to weave in countless historical facts that inform and enrich the story. This book was an absolute delight to read - it was just amazing, period.