Wednesday, November 01, 2006

#16 - The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

After all the vampire stories, movies and documentaries that I've read or seen in my life, I didn't think anyone could come up with a new approach. I was wrong.

"The Historian'' by Elizabeth Kostova is an interesting new look at the story of Vlad Tepes, known as Dracula by the horror enthusiast and as Vlad the Impaler by the history buff. Kostova's story involves generations of historians all searching for the real tomb of Dracula, and touches on the possibility that Vlad Tepes may have never actually died.

I really enjoyed this book. Kostova's writing style melded together historical information and the vampire legend. The story reminded me of the old horror style that relied less on gore and violence and more on the fact that sometimes the unseen world is more frightening than more tactile frights.

The downside to the book is the length -- 600+ pages. Now, I'm not saying the book was too long, or boring. It was interesting. But the actual peak of the story was over so quick, I was left wondering "Gee, I read 600 pages only to have the exciting part over in less than 10 pages?'' It was kinda like paying PT Barnum 10 cents to see the mermaid. Big build up....quick let down.

After reading 600 pages, I expected a more exciting denoument. But....from experience, my history professors probably would have sat down to tea with Dracula (a living historical icon!) to pick his brain about history and what it was like to be undead. There wouldn't have been a fight at all. Intellectuals don't really go about brandishing stakes and garlic.

The history lover in me had a wonderful time reading about all the historical documents and places in "olde'' Europe. The horror lover in me enjoyed the story twists about the fact that Vlad Tepes' tomb was factually found to be empty when it was opened in modern times, and that perhaps he could be lurking somewhere with his lackies still doing his bidding after several centuries.

But, I do have to say that he was a disappointment for me when he finally did appear. Big big buildup......then *poof* was over before I knew what was happening. Premature termination. Definitely.


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