Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
I picked this one up at the suggestion of Chris from Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. He reviewed it last week, and really how could I not look for it at the next trip to the library? Anyway, this rather long novel is quite good. I won't say it's the best thing I've read for the R.I.P. II Challenge, it would be hard to match The Thirteenth Tale or Dracula. But it was good. Like most novels over six-hundred pages, it has a complicated and twisted plot. The story is told through many narrators, and the "action" occurs across several decades. Primarily, the story is of a Professor Rossi in the thirties, of Helen and Paul in the fifties, and of the primary narrator (I can't recall if she's ever named), the daughter of Paul and Helen, in the seventies. Of course these characters' lives intersect at many, many points. And other characters play significant roles in the unfolding drama. The premise of the novel is simple: vampires are real; Dracula is an active threat to humanity. A series of men (and women) "discover" a book with a dragon in the centerpiece. A mysteriously "old" and unusual book. The bravest of these follow sets of clues to discover the vampire threat. Who is leaving this book where it can be found? Who is leaving the clues? Who is manipulating the drama? Well, I'll leave that for you to figure out. It is a mystery, a puzzle, a race. Can "good" finally overcome "evil" for good? Can this dangerous threat finally be wiped off the face of the earth? The "heroes" in this book are ordinary men and women. Librarians. Scholars. Graduate students. Professors. Not your typical sort to go on quests around the globe. The action happens in libraries, rare book vaults, and monasteries. Overall, I enjoyed it a great deal. I liked some parts better than others. Some times the pacing was great, other times I wished it would go faster or slower. Some details I thought were a bit much, others I thought weren't detailed enough. But generally, I liked it. I read it in two days.