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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 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. 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.
accident, and Éva raised their sons and carried on his political career. She is an amazing woman. I have never known exactly what her personal convictions are—sometimes I have the feeling that she keeps an emotional distance from all politics, as if they are simply her profession. I think my uncle was a passionate man, a convinced follower of Leninist doctrine and an admirer of Stalin before his atrocities were known here. I cannot say if my aunt was the same, but she has built a remarkable
material about him in this library, actually. I did find a few documents about vampires, because Mátyás Corvinus, our bibliophile king, was curious about them.’ “‘Hugh said as much,’ I muttered. “‘What?’ “‘I’ll explain later. Go on.’ “‘Well, I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned here, so I read through a huge mass of material on the history of Wallachia and Transylvania. It took me several months. I made myself read even what was in Romanian. Of course, a lot of documents and histories
letters, they are traveling through Wallachia toward the Danube—that is clear from the place-names. Then comes your letter, which Brother Kiril wrote in Constantinople, perhaps hoping to send it and the previous letters from there. But he was unable or afraid to send them—unless these are just copies—we have no way to know. And the last letter is dated June. They took a land route like the one that is described by the Zacharias “Chronicle.” In fact, it must have been the same route, from
taken this mission upon himself, not wanting the headless body of his possibly heretical—or dangerous—sponsor to remain at Snagov? Surely, a vampire without a head couldn’t pose much of a threat—the picture was almost comical—but the disturbances among his monks might have been enough to persuade the abbot to give Dracula a proper Christian burial elsewhere. Probably the abbot couldn’t have taken upon himself the destruction of his prince’s body. And who knew what promises the abbot had made
brought up to me at six o’clock, and then cleared the last of my papers. Dark was coming in early already, and with it arrived a gloomy, slanting rain. I find this the most appealing kind of autumn evening, not the most dismal, so I felt only a faint shiver of premonition when my hand, searching for ten minutes’ reading, fell casually on the antique volume I had been avoiding. I’d left it tucked among less disturbing items on a shelf above my desk. Now I sat down there, feeling with lurking