Friday, March 27, 2009

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Three journeys, one destination. All begun with the finding of a mysterious book.

When a young girl finds an ancient book, blank except for a woodcut of a dragon set in the middle, and some old letters addressed to: “ My dear and unfortunate successor,” in her father’s study her curiosity is aroused. Reluctant to explain, but feeling he has no choice, her father, Paul, begins to unfold the mysterious and terrifying events of some 20 years earlier.

The old book had inexplicably appeared on his study carrel, when Paul was a student. Taking the volume to his friend and mentor Professor Bartolomew Rossi, he learned Professor Rossi had received a book with the same woodcut some years early. In an attempt to stop Paul from researching what he perceives as a dangerous volume, Rossi tells his own tale of the long search for the meaning of the dragon and his discovery of its link to Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, the cruel ruler of Wallachia and his burial site. Rossi disappears that same night and despite his fear Paul begins a search for Dracula’s tomb aided by Helen Rossi, the professor’s daughter.

But when Paul himself disappears before finishing the tale, his daughter begins her own research in Vlad Tepes, determined to follow him.

Skillful woven together to illuminate history and the political tensions of Europe, as our characters are led in and out of Eastern Europe on the tail of an evil far greater than any of them had ever imagined.