The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Persistent rumors abound of Dracula’s grave being located at the monastery island of Snagov. Mysteriously enough when the grave in front of the alter was unearthed all they could find were animal bones, which begs the question, what happened to Dracula’s body? The facts speak for themselves, Bram Stokers novel which depicts him as a vampire is nothing but fiction. The real Dracula was much like a blood thirsty warlord defending his land from the blood thirsty Ottoman Empire. Dracula had foes everywhere.
This book too, is work of fiction, albeit more elaborate than Bram Stokers work. Telling a different story and forgoing Bram Stoker’s predecessor, the book does not devampirise this historical character. It has some element in common in that not only is Dracula a vampire, but it is also told from several points of view, mostly in letter and journal form. Dracula has a love of books and he admires other historians.
The book is a mystery about a three generational search for Dracula or at least his resting place. Chronologically speaking it starts off with Prof. Rossi receiving a woodcut book the image of a dragon. This mysterious book is kind of casually left at his side while doing research. This propels him to search out Dracula leading him ultimately to Istanbul here he find that Dracula is not really buried at Snagov but rather somewhere else. Sometime after discovering this a Turkish looking official confiscates the documents. Rossi goes back to his university and pursues other things. But life does not remain quiet forever.
Paul, a student of his, finds a similar book. O it is exactly the same. What is going on here? Paul consults his professor and does some research in the local library. Some unseen hand is messing things up, Rossie is kidnapped and his assistant is killed. This propels Paul to search not only for Dracula’s grave but also for his mentor. His search takes him though Istanbul, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. He meets Helen Rossi’s illegitimate daughter and they search together. Helen is connected by blood to Dracula but I will let you read this book to find out more.
The book really starts off later in the future when Paul’s daughter happens upon some letters. Paul explains them to her little bit by little bit. As they penetrate the mysteries of Dracula new things emerge. People disappear including Paul so now the daughter must search out her father using clues. The girl is also motherless as her mother supposedly died by falling off a cliff. The happy ending will leave you with a warm feeling. A mystery solved and there is so much to learn. Dracula is a librarian, warrior and vampire.
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