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Elizabeth Kostova is the New York Times bestselling author of The Historian, which sold over three million copies, and The Swan Thieves. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. Kostova won the 2006 Book Sense Award for Best Adult Fiction and the 2005 Quill Award for Debut Author of the Year for The Historian.
Kostova’s fascination with Bulgaria began when, traveling to the country for research just after college, the Berlin Wall fell the week she arrived. She fell in love with the man who would become her husband, but also fell in love with this “beautiful, battered, and haunted country.” After more than twenty visits, her passion for the place and its history is tangible on every page of her novel.
Author photo © Yanka Kostova
This is a beautifully crafted novel. Those familiar with Kostova’s writing will be delighted to know that her beautiful, descriptive prose has yet again created a masterful novel that will hold you entranced throughout as you immerse yourself into this gripping tale. In the spring of 2008, Alexandra Boyd, weary from travel and haunted by years of grief, arrives in the city of Sophia in Bulgaria. A chance encounter leaves her with a piece of lost property that turns out to be an urn of human ashes; the remains of some poor soul, now separated from his family in the hands of a stranger. Distressed and exhausted Alexander embarks on a quest to return the ashes to their family. Alone in a unknown city she soon finds herself accepting help from a young taxi driver who soon becomes as strange and mysterious as the quest she has suddenly found herself on. This is a deeply compelling story that moves from a seemingly simple search to return some lost property to a more profound and moving look into Bulgarian history and the effects of grief. Simply spellbinding. ~ Shelley Fallows
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | April 2017 Book of the Month. This is a beautifully crafted novel. Those familiar with Kostova’s writing will be delighted to know that her beautiful, descriptive prose has yet again created a masterful novel that will hold you entranced throughout as you immerse yourself into this gripping tale. In the spring of 2008, Alexandra Boyd, weary from travel and haunted by years of grief, arrives in the city of Sophia in Bulgaria. A chance encounter leaves her with a piece of lost property that turns out to be an urn of human ashes; the remains of some poor soul, now separated from his family in the hands of a stranger. Distressed and exhausted Alexander embarks on a quest to return the ashes to their family. Alone in a unknown city she soon finds herself accepting help from a young taxi driver who soon becomes as strange and mysterious as the quest she has suddenly found herself on. This is a deeply compelling story that moves from a seemingly simple search to return some lost property to a more profound and moving look into Bulgarian history and the effects of grief. Simply spellbinding. ~ Shelley Fallows
Another beautifully written and well researched novel. A psychiatrist tries to solve the mystery behind a successful artist , seemingly, having a moment of madness and attacking a painting in a national art gallery. An engrossing read.
February 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. From the author of the brilliantly atmospheric The Historian, comes this mesmerising psychological mystery that revolves around the conflicting powers of art. Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe is faced with the case of his life when renowned painter Robert Oliver takes a knife to a canvas in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. As Marlowe attempts to unravel the reasons for Oliver’s act, it becomes his mission to understand the workings of a painter’s mind. Applying her passion for research (The Historian took her 10 years to write), Kostova takes the story back to French Impressionist Normandy to unearth the heart of the mystery. A stylish treat.
Reviewed on Richard & Judy on 9th August 2006. This is very special, a history mystery-cum-love story that delves into the vampire myth. Ranging across continents and ages, incidents and emotions, it catches you by surprise and leaves you breathless. If you are prepared to accept one or two unusual facts, then it all becomes frighteningly feasible. Well written and sumptuous, it is a perfect gem. You’ve got to read it as it is one of the best books of the month. Comparison: Lev Grossman, Adrian Mathew. Similar this month: None but try Michael Cordy or John Connolly.
Der Psychiater Andrew Marlow behauptet, selbst die Steine zum Sprechen zu bringen. Doch sein neuer Patient, der Maler Robert Oliver erschuttert sein Selbstverstandnis. Oliver zerstorte in rasender Wut ein beruhmtes Gemalde in der National Gallery of Arts und wird so zu Marlows Patient. Oliver verweigert jegliche Kooperation und so begibt sich Marlow auf eigene Faust in eine Reise in Olivers Vergangenheit. Was folgt, ist die Spurensuche einer groen, einer unglaublichen Liebesgeschichte. "e;Elizabeth Kostova erzhlt von Irrsinn und Leidenschaft - in der Kunst wie im Leben."e; Freundin
From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes a mesmerizing novel that spans the past and the presentand unearths the troubled history of a gorgeous but haunted country.A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxiand realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppressionand she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.Elizabeth Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.Praise for The Shadow Land';A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling, and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read.'Publishers Weekly';In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar countryBulgariaand a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won't want to put down this remarkable book.'Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs ';In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country's hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and, through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova's third novel clearly establishes her as one of America's finest writers.'Ron Rash, author of The Risen
Ein Mann sturzt auf ein Gemalde zu, mit gezucktem Messer, rasend vor Wut. Erst in letzter Sekunde wird er von einem Wachmann uberwaltigt. Was ist es, das den Mann zu dieser ratselhaften Tat getrieben hat? Der Tater Robert Oliver landet auf der Couch von Psychiater Andrew Marlow, der verstehen will, was es mit Olivers Wahn auf sich hat. Was folgt, ist die Spurensuche einer groen, einer unglaublichen Liebesgeschichte.
Ein junges Madchen findet in der Bibliothek ihres Vaters ein Konvolut mit vergilbten Briefen. Das Geheimnis um den Vater und das Schicksal der Mutter verbinden sich zu einem Drama, das weit in die Vergangenheit zuruckreicht. Die Briefe fragen nach der Herkunft von Vlad dem Pfahler, dem Urbild der Dracula-Legende. Eine atemberaubende Suche in Klostern, Bibliotheken und Archiven beginnt, bei der Grausamkeiten Draculas zutage treten, die sich bis heute fortsetzen ...
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.
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 "e;My dear and unfortunate successor,"e; 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.