The longest single book I ever read. Totaling 816 pages.
This book was about the legend of Dracula (Vlad Tepes - the Impaler or the vampire). It also unfolded the history of a family.
Bartolomeo Rossi + Helen's mother ---> Helen + Paul ---> Narrator
There were three narrative lines: Rossi's start and halt of his special research, Paul's searching for his missing mentor, and Narrator's following her suddenly disappeared father.
It involved the history of Eastern Europe back in the fourteenth centuries. Something like the wars between the Turkish and Ottoman Empire which I was not familiar with. The geographic coverage of adventures based around Eastern Europe, including Hungary Budapest Turkey Istanbul Romania Wallachia Transylvania Constantinople Bulgaria Sofia.
The story was first told backward by Paul to his daughter by mouth of words during duty trips. Upon his disappearance, it relied on the letters left behind by him to the Narrator, which on one hand unfolded the remaining story and on the other hinted on the search of the Narrator's father. It was a difficult job because it told story with twisted lines that converged.
The special interest of Professor Rossi was to find out the actual location of the final tomb of Dracula, instead of the long-said resting place Snagov. Paul learnt of his secret research on the same day Rossi was gone. He gathered clues and set out the hunt for Rossi, whose disappearance Paul believed to be related to the location of the tomb, or rather the current resting place of Dracula. In the college library, Paul met Helen who later turned out to be the daughter of Rossi. They acted together in search of the mystery of Dracula's relics. They went to various monasteries, museums, libraries, crypts, and during their breathtaking adventures they encountered friends (professors who were also in the interest of vampire legends) and enemies (undead librarian and secret police). Sadly, Helen was bitten twice on the neck by the librarian and got polluted. They also talked to Helen's mother, revealing the past between her and Rossi. From the various archives, Paul and Helen gradually completed the puzzle and discovered the pilgrim route through which the ancient monks transported the body of Dracula to reunite with his head, which had been taken off by Sultan Mehmed. They arrived Sveti Georgi eventually and found Rossi in a sarcophagus in the crypt. They however were not able to save him as he was already an undead and had to impale him using the dagger. They failed to catch Dracula in the secret library underneath.
After that, Paul and Helen married and gave birth to the Narrator. Helen was gone suddenly during a trip in Saint-Matthieu in Les Bains. Many years lapsed until the present time of the story. One day on receipt of some postcards, it came to light that Helen was still alive and Paul went back to Les Bains in search of Helen. The Narrator, Paul and Helen reunited in the crypt and they managed to kill Dracula there. All happened in a startle. The epilogue was a striking ending because the Narrator received the dragon book in Philadelphia some years later, and that meant Dracula was still undead.
This is an exciting and interesting book. The English is a bit difficult but good. It can be more precise at the beginning where the father and daughter hanged around in different countries, and more elaborations on the encounter with Dracula and his mysterious living in these five hundred years.
"One has time for only a handful of the great languages unless one gives up everything else in favor of linguistics."
"I must have been gazing around with naked emotion on my face, because I suddenly caught my guide smiling at me, amused."
"In the midst of everything was that expanse of the river, gray-green, its surface finely scaled by wind and glinting with sunlight."
"she was one of the best-educated women of her time in our country - one of the only splendidly educated ones, actually - and my grandfather spared nothing to pour into her all his knowledge and ambition."
"I do not simply feel weak but ill, and today I had a sensation that sent fresh misery through what remains of my heart."
I really liked this books. The author writes in a pleasant, easy style and the story is filled with geographical and historical details. I would definitely recommend it to people passionate about history and sort of detective stories. It's slow at times, but otherwise a very good read....Continua
Maybe I read a few too many favorable reviews before actually reading the book, so *maybe* I had too high an expectation to begin with, but it was drawn way too long, did not feel that the story needed 642 pages to be told.
and ... huh? (*BIG spoiler alert!*) Vlad the Impaler, Dracula, ferocious warrior, was killed, just like that, completely wiped off the face of earth, after existing for over 5 centuries, in just half a page, by mere scholars, because his superhuman senses had been "distracted" for half a second? Are you kidding me?? THAT was really disappointing ......Continua
This is along book, very complex. It tells the story of a narrator telling about her journey to find her father who is trying to find her mother. The narrator is reading from her father's letters of a journey to find his missing advisor. Add in the idea that the undead could still be undead after 500 years and you have a very intriguing tale....Continua