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Elizabeth Kostova - The Historian

Old 06-12-05, 06:51 PM
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Elizabeth Kostova - The Historian

Anyone else heard of this? My local newspaper recently had an article about it. It was apparently auctioned off for over $1 million, and is described as The DaVinci Code meets the Dracula mythology. It comes out this tuesday, btw. Sounds like it could potentially be pretty good.
Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

Publisher's Weekly review:
Considering the recent rush of door-stopping historical novels, first-timer Kostova is getting a big launch—fortunately, a lot here lives up to the hype. In 1972, a 16-year-old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father's library. The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word "Drakulya," but it's the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," that really pique her curiosity. Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantly provides pieces of a chilling story; it seems this ominous little book has a way of forcing itself on its owners, with terrifying results. Paul's former adviser at Oxford, Professor Rossi, became obsessed with researching Dracula and was convinced that he remained alive. When Rossi disappeared, Paul continued his quest with the help of another scholar, Helen, who had her own reasons for seeking the truth. As Paul relates these stories to his daughter, she secretly begins her own research. Kostova builds suspense by revealing the threads of her story as the narrator discovers them: what she's told, what she reads in old letters and, of course, what she discovers directly when the legendary threat of Dracula looms. Along with all the fascinating historical information, there's also a mounting casualty count, and the big showdown amps up the drama by pulling at the heartstrings at the same time it revels in the gruesome. Exotic locales, tantalizing history, a family legacy and a love of the bloodthirsty: it's hard to imagine that readers won't be bitten, too.
Booklist review:
Readers who think the legend of Dracula has become a trite staple of schlock fiction will find this atmospheric page-turner by first-time author Kostova a bloodthirsty delight. A teenage American girl, living in1972 Amsterdam, comes across an ancient book in the library of her widower father, a former historian and now a diplomat. The book, blank save for an illustration of a dragon and the word Drakulya, contains a cache of faded letters all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate reader." Thus begins a search for the truth behind the myth of Dracula, a search that crosses continents as well as generations. Told through narratives, flashbacks, and letters, the plot unfolds at a rapid pace but never gives away too many clues at once. The cast of colorful characters even includes a creepy librarian who takes on the Renfield role of crazed vampire groupie. Both literary and scary, this one is guaranteed to keep one reading into the wee hours--preferably sitting in a brightly lit room and wearing a garlic necklace. Highly recommended for all collections and just in time to enthrall the summer-vacation crowd.
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Old 06-12-05, 10:10 PM
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It's getting a lot of press, I ordered it from amazon for the mrs. and may read it, also ordered her the caleb carr book on sherlock holmes.
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Old 06-14-05, 09:22 AM
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EW had an article about the author a few issues back and it intrigued me. It's a long book at around 700 pages, but I too ordered it from Amazon and am waiting on its delivery.
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Old 06-15-05, 06:42 PM
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For those with Costco memberships, this is $14.29 there.
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Old 06-16-05, 10:12 AM
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Still waiting for Amazon to ship mine out. I've read nothing but things about it so I'm eagerly anticipating reading it.

But it's gonna have to wait until I'm done with Crime & Punishment.
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Old 06-17-05, 12:23 PM
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mine shipped yesterday.
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Old 06-17-05, 04:10 PM
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I'm gonna go pick this up at BAM later. I'm still undecided on whether to read it now or read a Koontz book (Velocity) that's been sitting in my pile for a few weeks.
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Old 07-05-05, 12:42 PM
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mrs bdb started reading this and says its excellent so far.
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Old 07-05-05, 01:22 PM
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I saw this book at Borders and it's HUGE. But the premise did intrigue me. I want to read it, but with two jobs, I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish it before the 16th because I'm definitely going to be reading Something Else Coming Out That Day.
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Old 07-05-05, 06:14 PM
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I read it over the weekend & enjoyed it quite a bit. It's not perfect, but I had fun with it. If you're looking for a horror book this isn't it at all. This is good for me as I'm not much into horror although it does have me thinking about reading Stoker's Dracula which I read a very long time ago.

I've seen a few people are dissapointed in it thinking it'd either be a full out action based horror book or some new form of Da Vinci Code. It's definately neither of these.
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Old 07-05-05, 06:41 PM
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I'm currently reading this and am only 100 or so pages in. It's not as good as I hoped it'd be, but I'll stick with it until the end...all 650 pages of it.
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Old 07-06-05, 11:03 AM
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I'm 250 deep and it's definitely starting to pick up. I don't want to put it down now. But I agree the first 100 or so pages are a little slow going.
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Old 07-06-05, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Geofferson
I'm currently reading this and am only 100 or so pages in. It's not as good as I hoped it'd be, but I'll stick with it until the end...all 650 pages of it.
Yup, me too, started it last night & I am not too thrilled so far, if anything it is just pretty typical & bland. I guess I read too much, b/c a lot of people here posted how huge the book is but I don't consider a 700 page book to be that long.
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Old 07-06-05, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Sessa17
... a lot of people here posted how huge the book is but I don't consider a 700 page book to be that long.
I was thinking the same thing. Looking at what I've read so far this year quite a bit was that long or longer.


I've been thinking about it some & I have a feeling a lot of people are going to feel this book is quite boring. It reminds me of reading a history book more than a novel.
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Old 07-07-05, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jdpatri
I'm 250 deep and it's definitely starting to pick up. I don't want to put it down now. But I agree the first 100 or so pages are a little slow going.
Yup, I'm starting to notice that. I breezed through 100 or so pages today and it is starting to pick up, as you said.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:04 AM
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This book has been a big disappointment. It was hailed as the DaVinci code meets Dracula. It's a very slow read with very little pay-off at the end. I don't look forward to her next effort.
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Old 07-07-05, 01:33 PM
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Even if I'm ultimately underwhelmed by the book upon conclusion, I'll still look forward to her next novel. I find her writing to be engaging enough, even during the slow parts, that I'd expect her storytelling to improve with subsequent novels.

Every good writer has to have a first novel.
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Old 07-07-05, 04:00 PM
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I'm looking forward to reading this soon..and have no problem if it's slow and historical..I like history and don't see why a book has to be fast paced, and I also don't like vampire(or any other monster) books/movies..but a story about the original historical dracula sounds awesome.
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Old 08-22-05, 04:37 PM
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I liked the book overall, but I would like to describe a few problems that I ran into. The author gets the historical aspects of the story right. Where she stumbles, in my opinion, is the payoffs and action. Don't get me wrong, the ending is good. It's just a little fast and a little too convenient. Besides that, the action sequences happen very fast and without the same descriptive nature as the rest of the book. The way the mystery unravels is very interesting to me since I enjoy history and the maticulous nature of analyzing old books and documents. It's a unique book. I'm like most of the posters here in looking forward to Elizabeth Kostova's next book.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:30 PM
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This is what I'm currently reading. While it's not compelled me to read into the wee hours of the night, I've been liking what I've read so far.
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Old 08-23-05, 09:36 PM
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I'm reading it now as well. Just over 200 pages in and I'm enjoying. I like her style and the story is interesting and creepy in place so far.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:31 AM
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I finally finished this one last week. I thought the book would never end. I couldn't really get myself into it. I'd say it starts to pick up somewhere between pages 500-600.
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Old 08-24-05, 09:16 AM
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I was very disappointed in the book as well. I wasn't impressed with The Da Vinci Code either, but I enjoyed it more than The Historian (I thought that the bad guy in the Da Vinci Code was obvious to figure out though).

The Historian was a slow plodding novel in many places, and it was a real challenge to keep going through it at some places. The ending was underwhelming, although at various points in the book it definitely intrigued me.

My favorite plotline was probably the first one chronologically, but I felt that it didn't get the attention that it deserved. The middle storyline took up most of the book and had its strengths and weaknesses, but it was far superior to the most recent storyline, which I found to be severely lacking.
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Old 08-30-05, 02:58 PM
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My local library has a few copies of this book. But the waiting list is long.
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Old 08-30-05, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mookiemeister
My local library has a few copies of this book. But the waiting list is long.
Probably becuase, like me, they are having to force themselves to finish it. I really wanted to give up after the first few hundered pages, but I stuck with it and eventually finished it.
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