BACKED BY AN UNMISSABLE CONSUMER ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN * Also available as an audiobook * www.thehistoriannovel.co.uk
Elizabeth Kostova graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress.
It would take a lot to kill a runaway bestseller like Kostova's debut. Though the audiobook doesn't quite drive a stake through its heart, neither does it do it any favors. With six actors (including Martin Jarvis, Jim Ward, Rosalyn Landor and Robin Atkin Downe) playing twice as many roles, the audio would benefit from a listing of the cast and characters rather than the unhelpful "in order of appearance" credit on the box. Listeners learn about a centuries-long vampire hunt from a historian, Paul (Boutsikaris), as he slowly tells the saga of his covert research to his teenage daughter (Whalley, whose lush whispery voice and conspiratorial attitude is most convincing). Paul's tale is supposed to be a secret, painfully pried from him by his daughter for whose safety he fears, but Boutsikaris recites it in a nonchalant and impersonal way. Most disappointing, though, is the voice of Dracula himself. His accent and delivery is exactly the stereotypical vampire voice used by everyone from Bela Lugosi to Sesame Street's the Count. The eerie swelling string music is a nice touch. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 11). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
'A spirited update of Bram Stoker's classic, with a vastly ingenious plot in which Dracula has developed a mysterious penchant for librarians ... Kostova is a whiz at storytelling and narrative pace' Observer 'Told with a compelling intensity which will keep the reader hooked until the last Undead tomb door swings shut' Sunday Telegraph 'Filled with fascinating details of archaic vampire lore, the splendours of the Ottoman Empire and the beauty of Romania' TLS 'This literary thriller is a page-turner with brains' Daily Mail 'The Historian amounts to something profound... and wondrously mathematical at times, a genre novel by Bach ... We encounter obsession, possession, and the struggle against the brevity of life. It is an exploration of the eternal desire for intimacy...Kostova captures, beautifully, the turn on a dime from light to dark' The Times 'The Historian is great fun... told with a compelling intensity which will keep the reader hooked until the last Undead tomb door swings shut' Sunday Telegraph 'A gasp-inducing, breathtakingly dark mystery set in the present but wrapped around the folklore and history of Dracula...written in an exquisitely delicate and reserved style' Good Housekeeping 'Filled with fascinating details of archaic vampire lore, the splendours of the Ottoman Empire and the beauty of the Romanian countryside' TLS 'Dracula's back - and alive and well (or at least undead) in Elizabeth Kostova's compelling novel' InStyle 'Hotly anticipated... This exploration of Dracula from a historical perspective is more cerebral cortex than punctured jugulars and reads all the better for it' Eve 'A cross between Dracula and The Da Vinci Code' Observer 'Kostova's research is exemplary... if you're drawn to the gothic in fiction, reading this on hot nights will induce a few shivers' Herald "Elizabeth Kostova is an accomplished debutante who has produced an intriguing and carefully crafted novel". THE HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW "She weaves myth, fact and adventure in this well-written, creepy time-slip novel that left me wanting to go back to Bram Stoker" NewBOOKS magazine 'It's the impeccably researched and subtly chilling story of a young woman's search for the truth about her historian father, and his quest to find Vlad himself. It's so refreshing to read genuinely sinister and suspenseful literary horror which does not need to rely on shock tactics' Bookseller 'Terrific reworking of the Dracula tale... It's gripping stuff and a lovely big read for summer' Bookseller 'Captivating, cleverly written' New Books Magazine 'The perfect summer read... Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel has the perfect mix of mystery and adventure and, based as it is around the legend of Dracula, a healthy dose of horror as well. If you take one book on holiday this year, make it the Historian' Waterstone's Books Quarterly The Historian is a marvelous book that draws the reader into an infectious vortex of mystery and discovery. It is beautifully written and full of real and believable characters, but what most impresses me is the way Elizabeth Kostova has taken an old and worn genre and made it entirely fresh and undeniably her own. This is great fiction. - David Liss
Did Bram Stoker base his character Count Dracula on the historical Vlad Dracul, the cruel 15th-century prince of Wallachia? Some believe this despite scanty evidence, but in Kostova's first novel there is no doubt. In the early 20th century, Paul, a young graduate student, learns from his advisor, Professor Rossi, that Prince Dracula is still alive as one of the undead. When the professor disappears one terrifying night, Paul goes in search of his mentor, whom he knows to be in Dracula's clutches. His search takes him to secret archives and libraries of ancient monasteries throughout Eastern Europe; he is joined by his daughter, his wife, and friends, all historians and scholars themselves. (There's even an evil, undead librarian!) The writing is excellent, and the pace is brisk, although it sags a bit in the middle. There is plenty of suspense so that readers will want to find out what happens next. Ten years in the writing, this debut is recommended for readers who enjoy arcane literary puzzles ? la Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Ian Caldwell's The Rule of Four. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/05.]-Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Columbia, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-A motherless 16-year-old girl stumbles upon a mysterious book and papers dating back to her father's student days at Oxford. She asks him to explain her find but he disappears before she can learn everything. Reading the salutation of the letters, "My dear and unfortunate successor," the unnamed heroine uncovers an academic quest that begins with her father's mentor's first research into the history of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and reaches a kind of conclusion many years later. Kostova's debut book unfolds across Europe, through three main narrators, and back and forth in time, as the story of two families' connections to and search for the true Vlad the Impaler is unveiled. The historian of the title could refer to any of the novel's central characters or even to Vlad Tepes himself. While teens may gain a feeling for Cold War Europe and some respect for the Internet-less scholars of 40 years ago, Historian is an eerie thriller, an atmospheric mystery, and an appealing romance. Teen fascination with vampires has been keen since Bram Stoker popularized the legend of Dracula, right up through Buffy. This complex, convoluted, and well-written novel will appeal to teens who love a story on a grand scale that is as engrossing as it is entertaining.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.