My dear and unfortunate successor:
It is with regret that I imagine you, whoever you are, reading the account I must put down here. The regret is partly for myself – because I will surely be at least in trouble, maybe dead, or perhaps worse, if this is in your hands. But my regret is also for you, my yet-unknown friend, because only by someone who needs such vile information will this letter someday be read. If you are not my successor in some other sense, you will soon be my heir – and I feel sorrow at bequeathing to another human being my own, perhaps unbelievable, experience of evil. Why I myself inherited it I don’t know, but I hope to discover that fact, eventually – perhaps in the course of writing to you or perhaps in the course of further events…
In cities after cities, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible thruth emerges about Vald 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 tradition – and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad’s ancient powers- one women 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 taht blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspensful – an utterly unforgettable.
This first novel has been sold in 35 countries.