by Elizabeth Kostova
ABOUT THE BOOK:
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out.
Audio and Video
Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written, The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe - in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world.
"Never was a ghost story so casually erudite, nor a historical travelogue such gripping entertainment." ---New York Magazine
"Impossible to resist. . . . Kostova blends fact and fantasy to remind us that the original Dracula legend is rooted in monstrous acts of unblinking evil." ---Miami Herald
"A richly told story about family and the dark side of human nature. . . . This cry of the heart will appeal to readers beyond those who are drawn by a fascination with the legend of Dracula." ---Chicago Tribune
"Genuinely terrifying." ---Boston Globe
"Nearly impossible to put down once you crack the spine. . . . It won't take you long to get to the end." ---Houston Chronicle
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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. Her second novel, The Swan Thieves, will be published in October 2009.
READING GROUP GUIDE:
1. In the “Note to the Reader,” the narrator tells us, “There is a final resource to which I’ve resorted when necessary — the imagination.” How does she use this resource in telling her story? Is it a resource to which the other historians in the book resort as well?
2. The theme of mentors and disciples is an important one in The Historian. Who are the story’s mentors, and in what sense is each a mentor? Who are the book’s disciples?
3. Near the end of chapter 4, Rossi says, “Human history is full of evil deeds, and maybe we ought to think of them with tears, not fascination.” Does he follow his own advice? How does his attitude toward history evolve in the course of his own story?
4. In chapter 5, Paul’s friend Massimo asserts that in history there are no small questions. What does he mean by this and how does this idea inform the book? Do you agree with his statement?
5. Helen and Paul come from very different worlds, although they share a passion for history. How have their upbringings differed? What factors have shaped each of them?
6. Throughout the book, anyone who finds an antique book with a dragon in the middle is exposed to some kind of danger. What does this danger consist of ? Is it an external power or do the characters bring it upon themselves?
7. Each of the characters is aware of some of the history being made in his or her own time. What are some of these real historical events, and why are they important to the story?
8. At the beginning of chapter 1, Paul’s daughter notes, “I had been raised in a world so sheltered that it makes my adult life in academia look positively adventurous.”How does she change as a person in the course of her quest?
9. Helen’s history is deeply intertwined with that of Dracula. In what ways are the two characters connected? Does she triumph over his legacy, or not?10. In chapter 73, Dracula states his credo: “History has taught us that the nature of man is evil, sublimely so.” Do the characters and events of the novel prove or disprove this belief ?
THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE
5 COPIES OF THIS AMAZING BOOK
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