The Search for Truth About Dracula

September 17, 2007 at 7:46 PM | Posted in Book Reviews, Books | Leave a comment

For many years, young and old people alike are captivated by the legendary story of Dracula. The story of this frightening vampire became so widespread throughout the world that is it has become a source of inspiration for horror movies, TV, and even books. From many of those Dracula-inspired books comes another chilling tale of this infamous vampire. A certified bestseller among horror fiction, The Historian written by Elizabeth Kostova offers a fresh and different take on the legend of Dracula.


Set in the near future of 2008, the book is a narrative story of a female historian who tells about her extraordinary experiences when she was a young woman. She particularly narrates about her quest for truth about Vlad the Impaler, or infamously known as Dracula. Her quest starts when she, a girl of sixteen in the early 1970s, accidentally discovers an old letter and book that belong to her historian father.

Her curiosity piqued, she asks her father to tell her about the strange book and intriguing letter. She soon finds out that the two items are linked to the one who holds the darkest power in the world. By her father’s revelation, she comes to know that other historians before her father have tried digging into this dark creature’s terrifying reign risking their reputation, their sanity, and even their lives just to know the truth. More mystery unravels as her father reveals his own dangerous search for the truth about what really happened to Dracula.

As she grows older, she finds herself continuing her father’s work digging for clues and learning more about what happened in the past. Danger follows her in every corner as she tries to discover more, searching in archives, monasteries, and other exotic places. As the truth slowly emerges, she realizes that this horrific creature may still be in existence and others who serve him are killing innocent people to protect his secret.

The story is alternately narrated by its two main characters — the female historian and her father. As the female historian learns more from her father’s accounts, she forms her own story and conducts her own research. The result is a smooth blending of an old story with a new one.

Not for the faint of heart, The Historian presents a scary story replete with curiously simple but disturbing images. Kostova successfully weaves a tale of horror that leaves you with a sense of dark foreboding. Readers who are not used to horror or suspense fiction may find this off-putting. However, the story is not really filled with blood and gore. The story itself is more of suspense rather than horror. Suspenseful scenes are presented amidst descriptions of historical places and impressive architecture. History and architecture buffs can find great delight in these descriptions.

The author is incredibly talented in presenting vivid images of far off places that it makes you want to travel to those places yourself and explore a different world. The book captures the readers’ attention and keeps them captivated as the story unfolds. As a first-time author, Kostova’s work of fiction is impressive. And it’s not surprising that she won the Novel-in-Progress award for this book.

Though the story is not purely of a horror tale, it still manages to inject enough scariness in it that would make some readers toss and turn in their bed at night. A fusion of horror and history, The Historian is a great, satisfying read for those who have a thing for history and scary stories.

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