by Elizabeth Kostova
Little, Brown and Company
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Genre: Fiction - Vampires
Hardback, 642 pages, $25.95
Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel couldn't be about a more thrilling, yet popular, topic: Dracula. The author expands on Bram Stoker's named Dracula: Vlad the Impaler, a brutal ruler with an enormous hunger for bloody deeds.
The book begins when a teenage girl finds a book in her father's library empty save for a woodcut of a dragon in the middle. Along with the book is a packet of letters which begin, "My dear and unfortunate successor." Shortly after she asks her father about the book, he disappears. His daughter begins to fit the pieces together and realizes with horror that her father may be stalking Dracula.
The Historian follows three basic plots: one from 1930 involving Professor Bartholomew Rossi, who embarks on a search for Dracula after receiving one of the mysterious empty books with the woodcut of a dragon. The second takes place during the '50's, with Professor Rossi's student, Paul, who seeks counsel from Rossi after receiving a similar mysterious book. Shortly after this, Rossi disappears and Paul frantically goes after him in hopes of saving him from Dracula. Follows the third plot, some twenty years later, involving Paul's daughter and her somewhat naοve, rambling search for her father.
A mixture of fact and fiction, this lengthy novel is an absorbing read. Dracula or not, Vlad the Impaler is a horrific historical figure, and his bloody actions at times are beyond comprehension. The author's reason for the creation of Dracula is somewhat vague but fits well into the storyline. The book is well worth the read, if only for the historical and geographical descriptions.