By Elizabeth Kostova
Little, Brown June 2005
I purchased my copy of this book a year ago for my last birthday. I'm sad to say that this book sat on my shelves and I never read it. Last week was my birthday so I decided that I really better read it. At over 600 pages, it took me 4 days. And I ended up actually enjoying it - very much. Which is not too surprising really, considering that I have always loved history.
It starts off with Paul telling his young daughter, the story of his search for his missing thesis professor in 1953-54. Paul follows the trail of the Professor's research and eventually ends up in Turkey where he meets Helen. Together Paul and Helen both visit Hungary and Bulgaria (both communist countries at the time).
As well as searching for the Missing Professor, Paul is also searching for someone else. A well know historical Eastern European Ruler who died in 1576. His grave has never been found.
The story is told following two timelines. The 1954 timeline as mentioned above takes up most of the story. The second timeline is in 1973 where Paul tells his daughter his story of his search. We know nothing about the daughter as she is never named. We do know that she was named after her maternal grandmother. In 1973 Paul himself goes missing, so the daughter sets out to find him. Her trail leads her to Southern France, where she finds both her father and mother and together they all find the grave of the medieval ruler.