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Summary

Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to 'My dear and unfortunate successor'. Her discovery plunges 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 evil hidden in the depths of history. 

In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright - a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the Dracula myth. Deciphering obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions, and evading terrifying adversaries, 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 captivating tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful - and utterly unforgettable.

©2005 Elizabeth Kostova (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Quite extraordinary...Kostova is a natural storyteller.... She has refashioned the vampire myth into a compelling contemporary novel, a late-night page-turner." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Filled with fascinating details of archaic vampire lore, the splendours of the Ottoman Empire and the beauty of the Romanian countryside." (Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about The Historian

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Captivating

I loved this from beginning to end. Superb narration and it works well having two narrators. I’m just sorry I’ve finished it. It’s one I’ll listen to again in a couple of years.

2 people found this helpful

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A mystery with history

I read this book in hardback back in 2006 and absolutely loved it, I decided to purchase this version on audible as it is unabridged and it renewed my love of this book, the narrators are outstanding and I was completely enraptured

2 people found this helpful

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Superb writing, story, narration. A great listen.

So very enjoyable, thought provoking, well written and well researched. A great travelogue. And powerful homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula.

1 person found this helpful

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Long, clever, but ultimately rather disappointing

I liked a lot of this book but the ending was not as good as the plot build-up lead me to expect it would be - and the epilogue 'twist' was so predicable. It wasn't helped by Justine Eyre's deadpan delivery of the final 'action' scenes. I felt both she and the author were both tired of the whole thing and just wanted it to be over. That said, it is generally well written and has some intriguing ideas - and Paul Michael is excellent as the male narrator.

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Brilliant, but...

This is one of my favourite audio books. I read the physical book years ago and have reread it several times since. When it popped up in Audible it was a no brained to give it a listen.
I don't usually go for horror stories but this is so much more. Part historical fiction, part travel and part thriller, it is a wonderful yarn.
My one reservation is the reading. To be more exact half of the reading. The gentleman reader is engaging, sympathetic to the nuances of the story, and generally enjoyable to listen to. unfortunately I find the lady reader to be lacking in emotional involvement with the story. There are many mispronunciations which I found grating
Once you get in to the meat of the story the male reader has the lion's share of the reading and it becomes much more enjoyable.
I still recommend it totally as it is a great, epic and unpredictable gothic tale which I have thoroughly enjoyed yet again.

1 person found this helpful

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Read it!

An astonashing book, with a language and story that capture you so you don’t want to put it down or to end. Hope for a sequel. Just loved it.

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hmmmm, not really sure..

do'nt know why, but I expected a lot more exitement.. lot of dialog that do'nt really matter, veeeeery long story without any rythm, get completly out of breath just listnening to it.. 😣.. could have byen a good story then.. 😏

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Beautifully wired- but sometimes less is more

Well written and I did enjoy it, although sometimes tediously king. I listened until the end, and in key at it. But, I found the end disappointing , confusing and I rather wished It hadn’t been so long. But that is just my view, make your own mind up.

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A masterpiece

A pure masterpiece! this is one of the best books I have read/listened to. I would recommend it to everybody!

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Great cast of narrators

Read this when it was first published and enjoyed it. A friend at book club recommended the audible version and it did not disappoint. The cast narrated it brilliantly, very atmospheric. Highly recommended

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Profile Image for Kareem Belgharbi
  • Kareem Belgharbi
  • 04-04-21

Best novel ever written

The unabridged version is definetely worth the listen, all of the chapters added a lot to the story and none felt unnecessary. The narration was excellent and I found myself checking a few tunes to see if it was only narrated by two people.

1 person found this helpful