Historian, The

Rating: 
3
Review by Tim Miller.It usually can't be said that an author is trying to do too much with a book. These days, writers manufacture manuscripts at super-phonic speeds. Reading books by big name authors like James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Dean Koontz, and Patricia Cornwell can be like springtime: It's beautiful while it lasts, but then you have to wait through the whole year again for decent weather. And popular books are always fast reads. An anomaly titled The Historian appeared on fiction best-seller lists in 2006. Written by Elizabeth Kostova, this historical horror novel holds a heavy 600 pages. It isn't a fast read at all.

And with all the time, trees, and ink that went into producing The Historian, an optimistic reader might hope it at least contained compelling characters or an intriguing plot. Unfortunately, those wishes would be wasted. Kostova just tried to do too much with one book.

The Historian is about three historians, who seek to prove Vlad Dracula is undead and well in the 20 th century. Several European scholars aid the historians' quest to uncover Dracula's true legacy.

But sinister forces (represented most accurately by bloodsucking librarians) also threaten the heroes throughout their quest across time and the far reaches of Eastern Europe. By seeking Dracula's origins, the historians hope to find the secret to ending his unholy reign.

Kostova should get credit for trying to make a palatable genre stew with The Historian. She includes thrills, mysteries, histories, romances, adventures, and horrors all in one plot.

That combination might've worked if she'd cooked up a trilogy from her three protagonists' narratives. As is, The Historian reads like a boiled over genre medley, spiced with too much information. And, even though Kostova's vampire tale is steeped in cultural knowledge, it lacks an inventive storyline too.

Scholars, Librarians, and...hmmm...Historians might like The Historian. It's an educative exploration of research methodology carried forward by a fictional plotline. Anyone else might find this novel lofty and tedious.If you like vampire fiction, you might want to try Anne Rice's early novels, Christopher Moore's You Suck, P.N. Elrod's I, Strahd, or Bram Stoker's Dracula instead of The Historian.

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

Vol. 1 No. 22
Fright Night V.1 N.22 August 1990
Vol. 1 No. 4
The Vampires