The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova & Powers of Darkness – The Icelandic Dracula

Despite being 676 pages of dense text accompanied by glowing reviews from major newspapers and magazines, this biographical novel about historians looking for Vlad Ţepeş, (Vlad the Impaler), is underwhelming.

This Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
This Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

Despite being 676 pages of dense text accompanied by glowing reviews from major newspapers and magazines, this biographical novel about historians looking for Vlad Ţepeş, (Vlad the Impaler), is underwhelming. Part of the problem is that Kostova cannot quite sustain the suspense or the tone throughout the complicated plot and numerous characters and settings. The novel is told from many different perspectives. Kostova occasionally dispenses with any indications of who’s talking, and simply goes into the third person as the reportage of past events gets too complicated. The subject is the historical figure on whom the fictional character of Count Dracula is based; Vlad (Wladislaus) III, Prince (Woywode) of Wallachia (1431–1476), a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known by his patronymic name: Dracula (Dragwlya),  meaning Son of the Dragon, since his father was Vlad II Dracul.  (Continue reading…)


Powers of Darkness – The Lost Version of Dracula, byVladimar Ásmundsson and H.C de Roos (Publisher: Overlook Books; Feb. 7 2017; hardcover; 352 pp.)

Powers of Darkness (Makt Myrkranna) by Valdimar Ásmundsson

This is the Icelandic version of Bram Stoker’s famous Victorian Gothic novel, Dracula. Powers of Darkness, called Makt Myrkranna, “the power of darkness” in Icelandic, was first published on Jan. 13, 1900, by Valdimar Ásmundsson, and translated and republished in English in 2017 by Hans C. de Roos after years of research. In case you are wondering – is it real?, bear in mind that Ásmundsson was real. He was the editor of the newspaper, Fjallkonan (“Mountain King”) in which his novel was first published. So what I am pondering, which you might also be pondering, as “Brain” asked “Pinky”, is whether or not this novel is built around a nice piece of artificial backstory, convincing in every way, but not in the least bit true. (Keep reading…)

 

 

 

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