Using different points of view and different time periods, Kostova uses the premise of lost and forbidden research and the mystery of the main character’s father’s disappearance, to take the reader on a wild and thrilling search for Vlad the Impaler – also, in this book, Dracula. Place, whether it be Paris, Amsterdam, Venice or other fantastic European cities and far-flung villages steeped in superstition, are as important as the richly described cathedrals, libraries and densely wooded forests and pristine lakes that pop up in the story. They too are characters in this exciting and at times quite frightening tale of Dracula and one woman’s search for the truth. That I was lucky enough to visit, concomitant with reading about them, many of the sites Kostova describes in the novel, no doubt added a frisson to my enjoyment as did the fact that I am a huge fan of vampire narratives with bite.
This one has bite and more. It is original, dark, intriguing, genuinely scary and beautifully written. I will read it again before too much time has passed and relive my own travels as well as the search for the most famous of the Undead.