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.
When a teenage girl asks about a medieval book hidden in her father's library, he reluctantly recounts how it changed his life. The book of blank pages, graced with only a single dragon illustration and the word "Drakulya," appeared as he pursued his doctorate, luring him into a historical search for the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. Similar works appeared to his mentor and to his future wife, enticing each to follow a trail of manuscripts and maps in search of Dracula's grave. Equal parts mystery, romance, travelog, and political primer, Kostova's debut novel won the Hopwoods Award for Novel-in-Progress. The tome took a decade to write and is occasionally as tedious as a long journey, but actors Justine Eyre and Paul Michael propel listeners through the byzantine plot. A library with a lively, enduring circulation of the print version could confidently invest in its audio counterpart.-Judith Robinson, Univ. at Buffalo, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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. 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'
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.
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.