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Extended Audio Sample The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (120,375 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Kostova Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris, Rosalyn Landor, Martin Jarvis, Joanne Whalley, Jim Ward, Robin Atkin Downes Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“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 and wipe out the source of that darkness.

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 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.

Elizabeth Kostova’s debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions, a relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful—and utterly unforgettable.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kostova’s vampire is no campy Lugosi knockoff…Blending history and myth, Kostova has fashioned a version so fresh that when a stake is finally driven through a heart, it inspires the tragic shock of something happening for the very first time.”  


  • “Quite extraordinary…Kostova is a natural storyteller…She has refashioned the vampire myth into a compelling contemporary novel, a late-night page-turner.” 

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Part thriller, part history, part romance…Kostova has a keen sense of storytelling and she has a marvelous tale to tell.” 

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Readers who think the legend of Dracula has become a trite staple of schlock fiction will find this atmospheric page-turner by first-time author Kostova a bloodthirsty delight.” 


  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Grace | 2/4/2014

    " This book probably deserves the fifth star, but I think I'm going to keep it 4-star. This is brilliantly written with so many interesting characters and amazing settings. I would call it a slow read, but worth the long haul. It was not entirely what I was expecting - the whole book is basically the unfolding of past events. The story is about slowly discovering piece after piece of a puzzle; it is slow going and then something exciting happens and then you are back to slow again. I think the need to know what is going to happen and to know the 'true' history of Dracula is what drives the book. I liked the different places that the book takes you - university libraries, small Romanian villages, monasteries throughout Europe and more. The direct interaction with Dracula and vampires is quite limited, but I guess the book is about the mystery of it all instead of throwing you directly into the supernatural. It skips around a bit with time and chronology, but Kostova did it beautifully and I did not feel confused at any point. If you are looking for a quick read, this is not for you, but if you are willing to take the time, I believe this book is worth it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sara | 2/2/2014

    " a bit too rambling for me. took me forever to read and to be honest it probably wasn't worth the time. bit of a let down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kim Yoder | 2/1/2014

    " Not a very dynamic narrative. Too many voices telling the story - easy to forget who is telling which story. Tiny bit cheesey. LOTS of history, though "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Holly | 1/25/2014

    " I really liked this, and I'm shocked at so many negative reviews. Part of the problem, I think, is that readers were expecting Dan Brown instead they got Umberto Eco. "

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