Some other reviews of this book include references to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and there are in fact similarities – both are historical mysteries with a young couple dashing here and there being chased by mysterious, and possibly evil, ‘pursuers’. The difference is that The Historian is well written.
The setting is Europe and the time spans the present day back to the 15th century and earlier. A young woman, Elena, comes across a series of letters and a very old book in her father, Paul’s, library. She asks him about the odd woodcut of a dragon in the center pages of the book, and he reluctantly begins the tale of how he acquired the mysterious book and his subsequent research into its meaning. The father’s story begins with his mentor and advisor, Rossi, who also owned a book like it. The story takes Paul and Elena through the centuries and back up to the father’s time at school when he was writing his dissertation as a young scholar. It circles around the various people the father came into contact with and the mysterious disappearance of his mentor and advisor, Rossi, and the search for him. In Paul’s quest he meets Helena, a woman who has her own enigmatic reasons for researching the book. It does not take long before they discover the strange book has very sinister connections to a historical figure who has never quite been forgotten due to the evil nature of his deeds in the 15th century. Helena and Paul travel across Europe, visit monasteries and meet secretively with revered scholars in their attempt to explain the unfathomable events that slowly unfold around them.