This is a review of “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova.
A young woman going through her father’s library, finds a book and a cache of letters addressed to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. This plunges her into a world and an adventure that she never dreamed of, learning about her father’s past and how her mother’s fate is connected to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
We never learn the name of the daughter, and that is perhaps not the important thing in the story. The main focus – and, admittedly, the bulk of the novel – lies with her father Paul and how he became involved in the business, how he met her mother, what they did together and finally the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. The father-daughter living in the 1970s team follow in the footsteps of the father-mother team from the 1950s, searching for answers and the truth about Vlad Tepes – Dracula.
This is a story rich in history. Almost like a travelogue and a treasure hunt, the story takes you from place to place and through three different people’s views one learns the story of the hunt for the vampire. It is a historical thriller, an adventure and a detective theme (quite like an Agatha Christie story) with beautiful language, excellent descriptions and a good grasp on the historical mixed with a little bit of the fantastical.
It is a bit slow and perhaps a bit annoying for someone who isn’t fond of history or doesn’t know – or care to know – about the various historical places mentioned throughout the book. However, that is up to each person to decide, and not actually a bad thing with the book.
All in all, if you are ever to read a vampire-novel in your life, forget “Twilight” and go with this one instead. You will not be disappointed in the slightest. I definitely recommend it.