The Historian is a historical fiction novel written by author Elizabeth Kostova. She writes a fictional story based on and inspired by the life of Vlad Tepes, a ruler born in Romania whose fictional equivalent is known as Count Dracula. We covered this book in our selection of the best vampire books. Do not hesitate to check it out!
The author mentions that she has worked on this book for 10 years because she was also inspired by the stories that her father told her as a child about Count Dracula. Those ten years of hard work managed to lead her to sell this book for 2 million dollars to Little, Brown and Company.
The Three Parts of the Story
The story is divided into three separate parts that are a few years apart but ultimately lead to a better understanding of the story as a whole. The author manages to write this brilliant piece of content through research about Vlad, the 15th-century prince of Wallachia.
The three parts of the series combine the lives of a few characters. You read about a professor known as Paul, his 16-year-old daughter, Paul’s mentor Rossi, and their quest to locate Vlad’s tomb. The whole story is told by Paul’s daughter but the author never actually mentions her name anywhere in the book. Anyway, check out this book review of The Historian if this type of story intrigues you.
So, we mentioned that the story is divided into three parts, one part talks about Paul’s mentor and it takes place in the 1930s, another part talks about Paul himself in the 1950s, and the other part is about the narrator herself and that story takes place 20 years later in the 1970s.
Part I starts in the year 1972 in Amsterdam as Paul’s daughter finds the book that started it all. A book that Paul had found in the 1950s, an old vellum-bound book, and he took it to his mentor, Bartholomew Rossi to see if he knows what it could be.
Rossi mentions that he had found a very similar book to this one way back in the 1930s which resulted in him researching a lot about Tepes and his life. The interesting part was that there was a Dracula myth surrounding Vlad Tepes’ life and that myth was somehow connected with the book that he had found.
A series of certain events and a bunch of strange characters that Rossi meets along his way to find Dracula lead him as far as Istanbul, which made him drop the whole investigation and return to his graduate work. However, the hunt was not over as Rossi gives his research to Paul and says that he believes that Dracula is still alive.
The rest of this part of the book focuses on the 1950s and Paul’s life. Paul’s mentor is never seen before after he last meets with Paul as he disappears without a trace, the only thing that remains of him are smears of blood on his desk and the ceiling of his office, Paul was sure that something horrible had happened to Rossi after he came back from his trip to find Dracula.
After he sees all of that, although scared, Paul’s curiosity manages to win and he starts his own research about Dracula and sets off on the adventure to find him. He meets Rossi’s daughter, Helen Rossi, who has become an expert in Dracula. Soon after, Paul’s daughter also finds interest in Dracula and begins researching her own stories while her father is traveling around Europe looking for clues.
That’s enough spoilers about Part I from our The Historian book review. Part II starts with Paul’s daughter, the narrator, reading letters that were sent from Helen and Paul during their travels in Europe. They mention that Rossi might have been taken by Dracula to his tomb while he was getting very close to discovering him.
The strangest of things are mentioned in their letters that include them seeing the librarian that bit Helen when Paul first saw her because she was researching Dracula and this librarian was definitely weird. The strange thing is that he was killed that day by a car, but they still saw him again in Istanbul, it turns out that he has been following Helen and Paul all that time.
While in Istanbul, they discover that this librarian is in a fact a vampire which explains how he survived the car accident, and they also managed to discover a few very important documents that will lead them closer to finding Dracula.
They then go to Budapest to meet with Helen’s mother who they believe knows something about what happened to Rossi. They learn a scary truth from Helen’s mother, that Helen herself and the narrator, Paul’s daughter, are descendants of Vlad Tepes himself. This is where this book review of The Historian ends the description of part II.
In part III, the long and hard search for Dracula leads Helen and Paul to a monastery where they find Rossi’s body. He is not dead yet and he is very close to transforming into a blood-thirsty vampire which is why they are forced to drive a silver dagger through his chest, to stop his full transformation. Just before Rossi dies, he reveals that Dracula is a scholar and that he has a secret library where they might find him.
The story that follows from there simply too good to spoil in a book review of The Historian. If you have enjoyed this mystery so far, then you can find out how this long and hard search for the mysterious Dracula finally ends. The book definitely manages to open up your imagination as the search is definitely an exciting thing to read about, it almost makes you feel that you were a part of the main characters’ adventures.