The Historian

What’s white, and re(a)d all over? Elizabeth Kostova’s international bestseller, The Historian.*
I bought it on Saturday and just finished reading it. Considering that I have not had patience to read a complete work of fiction in a very long time, it is am amazing feat. The book is gripping, chilling, a little unbelievable at times (the coincidences, where characters with the same clues all meet each other, and everyone just happens to meet at the right sarcophagus at the same time, to meet Dracula). But it has the right balance of drama, suspense, and a dash of romance now and then, to keep you reading way into the night – as I have done. It will certainly make a great movie.
Today I completed the last quarter of the book and was glad to read the conclusion. I confess I cheated earlier on, and peeped to find out what the ending was. I was pleased to read about my church’s patron Saint, the one who killed the Dragon. But overall, it is disturbing how original, holy intentions can be so easily perverted with time into heresy. What takes place as fire rituals and crossless graves in the book, parallels this world’s misuse of religion to start wars and bomb innocent people.
The Dragon’s prevalence in the novel reminded me of another book by our very own Hwee Hwee Tan, called Mammon Inc. It’s much less sinister and more obvious in its main theme of God versus Mammon (a fictitious corporation symbolised by the dragon), which the narrator has to choose between.
Other touches I liked were the travel observations. Especially in Turkey, where I had visited some of the places mentioned in the book. So much detail and research must have gone into it. The author deserves every single buck of her book rights 🙂
And yes, I know I suck at writing book reviews because I haven’t read enough to make comparisions with, and I probably haven’t written a literary critique since Junior College.
*There are 2 publishers selling this book in Singapore, and I chose the one with the white cover (by Little, Brown, published in the UK) as it was sturdier than the American (?) version. The covers of the latter version had all curled out in the bookshop, and I really don’t like that happening to my books.


  1. monoceros

    Just one publisher – one is the American cover and the other, the international cover. You’ve got the international edition.
    That was a fast read. =)

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