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The Historian-A review

It was at a diner in a mall where I first heard of The Historian. I had gone out with my friends and was having dessert when i asked one of my friends to suggest a book. He's as fanatical about books as I am, albeit in a different way. He was a big fan of sci-fi books and he'd told me many other books that i loved reading. Anyway, he told me to read a book called The Historian. Typical, i thought. He was fond of books that blended history with mystery. I didnt think too badly of such books either. Besides, it had been sometime since i last read a book. So, the next day i went to the local library armed with a list of books, with The Historian topping the list. I wasn't too impressed by the cover when i saw the book. But then, i've always followed the adage 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' and i decided to get it. When i first started reading the book, i thought it was definitely going to be be something. It's the story of a young girl who found a mystery book with a dragon picture in the middle, and asks her father about it. The father then proceeds to tell her the extraordinary circumstances in which he himself once found the book and the story of how he met her mother who is until then a mystery figure. I read more and, i have to admit, was a bit bored. It didnt look like i was going to finish anytime soon and as i've always finished any book the same day i started it, i was slightly disappointed. But i read on the next day and i was relieved by the fact that the story was at last moving on. It was a tale that carries the reader from a famous Boston University to the wild mountains of post Cold War Eastern Europe while briefly exploring the spiritual as well as mystical excesses of Istanbul. The travels are richly detailed, especially the East European countryside, which might be boring for people who like to read fast books.
The most fascinating part of the story is that it is told in two timelines simultaneously. Our young girl finds her father's memoirs and reads through them. These memoirs comprise of the main part of the book. Then there's the girl herself, who tells her own story as it unravels.
While the book's theme primarily revolved around vampire lore, specifically the most famous(and supposedly the most dangerous) of them, Dracula, much of the story contains specific historical details, based on fact, of course.
However, the book, while focusing on the lives and horror stories of vampires, doesn't discuss their actual existence. By that i mean it doesn't talk about how any living being can actually stay alive after death. But it was clear that the author believed in vampires herself. This can be seen from the actions of the narrator, whom i presume to be the author herself. The fact that the book is supposed to be based on a true story makes it all the more interesting to read. The historical aspects are fascinating and adds a touch of authenticity to the otherwise pure fantasy novel of Elizabeth Kostova's.
All in all, the book justifies the ten years the author spent on research and I would definitely recommend it as a must read for all fantasy as well as history buffs.


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