The Historian is the 2005 debut novel of American author Elizabeth Kostova. The plot blends the history and folklore of Vlad Tepes and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. Kostova's father told her stories about Dracula when she was a child, and later in life she was inspired to turn the experience into a novel.
The Historian has been described as a combination of genres, including Gothic novel, adventure novel, detective fiction, travelogue, postmodern historical novel, epistolary epic, and historical thriller. Kostova was intent on writing a serious work of literature and saw herself as an inheritor of the Victorian style. Although based in part on Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Historian is not a horror novel, but rather an eerie tale. It is concerned with history's role in society and representation in books, as well as the nature of good and evil. As Kostova explains, "Dracula is a metaphor for the evil that is so hard to undo in history." The evils brought about by religious conflict are a particular theme, and the novel explores the relationship between the Christian West and the Islamic East.