Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Club Review: The Historian

Our latest book club selection was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  We had a daunting task ahead of us with this book because it was almost 700 pages and we had only about 3 weeks to read it.  I got it about 2 weeks before the meeting and had to read constantly to finish!  As usual we talked about the book for 15-20 minutes and spent the rest of the 4 hours eating, drinking and gossiping.  Great night!

Plot: 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. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself--to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. 

What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed--and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe.

In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign--and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.

Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions--and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers--one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. {via}

Review: I won't say this has been my favorite, but I definitely enjoyed!  There were times the story spent pages describing a meal or the scenery.  Zzzzzz...  But when the action was happening, it was happening!  So I would say this is worth reading, but you have to keep at it.  

Anyone else read it?