Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Historian

I have just finished a book called The Historian. Quite an interesting book. I usually don't go for books on vampire, Anne Rice's books are probably interesting, but I don't like them, (I mean how many else you can write of a certain topic) then why the Historian? It's actually my dad's ( I always go to my parents for books as my dad and I have similar taste in books.).except Robert Ludlum or Forsthe.. too technical for me.. I don't want to know how the submarine works for goodness sake. Books by David Badacci we both like ( usually when a new Badacci comes out I will tell him, so that he'd buy the book..then I can borrow hehe). Recently I've gotten the historical bug and I thot The historian sounds interesting.

My favourite books are always mysteries.. since my first Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven, to Agatha Christie ( I always go back to her books), Ruth Rendall, PD James, then to Elizabeth George and finally my favourite author, Anne Perry, who combines mystery and and the 1800's Victorian England. My preference would be British authors or like Elizabeth George, an american writing on British mysteries.

Now I've moved to historical books, my last two books before were about Henry the Eight's wives ( divorced, beheaded, died, beheaded and outlived him), and an interesting book by Iain Pears, An instant of a finger post- England 1600,A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. The story was about the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth. The master Cryptographer and the Oxford antiquarian existed in real life. Quite a good book I must find his other titles.

The Historian is about Vlad Tepes or better known as Dracula( son of dragon..his father's name was Dracul), who in real life does not show any vampiric tendencies but he was the cruelest king ever ( Impaled everyone his heart desire.young, old,.infants and mothers together- killed around 50 to 100 thousand people). The Historian did portray Vlad Tepes as Vampire like Bram Stoker's book, and in the former, he was alive in 1960s. In the beginning, it was hard to put down but towards the end it got quite heavy and the ending was a bit of a disappointment. But what I got out of it is, the History of Vlad Tepes..of the 15 century and I browsed on vampires and found out these interesting facts ( medically proven).

In 1727 a young soldier, by the name of Arnod Paole, returned home to a village near Belgrade, after completing his service. He had enough money to but some land and a house, and though he was a wonderful neighbor, his social skills were a little less than desireable, as he always had an air of sorrow about him. He finally fell in love with a neighbor girl and they married, though his malencholia still persisted. His wife finally managed to get the reason for his sadness out of him. Arnod admitted to her that while on duty one night, in a far town, he was attacked by a creature who bit him and tried to drain his blood. He managed to fight the thing off until dawn, when the body fell lifeless and he was able to stake and burn the body to ashes. Before doing so he drank a small amount of the vampire's blood, but being unfamiliar with the local territory, he was unable to find the vampire's grave to extract and consume the dirt from it. Arnod told his wife that he was fearful, since he had not competed the ritual, that he would become a vampire upon his death.
Not long after his confession, a loaded wagon of hay fell on Arnod one day in the field and crushed him to death. About a month after his burial, townspeople reported seeing Arnod wandering around the village, and those whom he came in direct contact with died within a few days. After ceaseless nightly attacks, the villagers decided to raise Arnod's body. His case was made unique in that government officials were called out to inspect the body and an official report was made of it. In attendance at the public exhumation were two military surgeons. When the sexton finally raised the coffin and pried open the lid, they found Arnod's body, in the ground some 40 days, fresh and in a vampiric state. The sexton exclaimed over the fresh blood at his mouth, "Ah, you didn't wipe your mouth after last night's work." A young attendant of the surgeons fainted at the sight. Arnod's body, however, was staked and burned to ash, the ashes being replaced in the grave. Several others who were have believed to have died from Arnod's attack were also exhumed and similarly reduced to ash.
However, the nightly attacks resumed some five years later, and another official investigation was conducted and many more graves were open, some being in a vampire state and others being in a normal state of decomposition. Burning the suspected vampires, and returning the others to their graves, the vamprie plague finally ceased once and for all. The report given by witnesses-- military surgeons, ang various officals-- was sent to the highest authorities and still remains intact to this day.

Peter Plogojowitz
Ten years after the death of one Peter Plogojowitz, his village in Hungary reported seeing Peter wandering the streets by night. In some instances, he came into people's houses and choked them, causing them to die in less than 24 hours. Even the widow Plogojowitz reported that her deceased husband had appeared to her, demanding his shoes. The villagers asked the local military officials for permission to disinter the body. Though reluctant, they ageed. One officer and a minister were present at the exhumation, upon which they found Peter's body intact, despite his being dead for a decade. His body was staked-- a great amount of fresh blood flowing from it-- and burnt to ash, wherein the deaths in the village ceased.

Taken from http://www.angelfire.com/tn/vampires/

A veritable epidemic of vampirism swept through Eastern Europe beginning in the late seventeenth century and continuing through the eighteenth century. The number of reported cases rose dramatically in Hungary and the Balkans. From the Balkans the plague spread westward into Germany, Italy, France, England and Spain. Travelers returning from the Balkans brought with them tales of the undead, igniting an interest in the vampire that has continued to this day.
Philosophers in the West began to study the phenomenon. It was during this period that Dom Augustin Calmet wrote his famous treatise on vampirism in Hungary. It was also during this period that authors and playwrights first began to explore the vampire myth. Stoker’s novel was merely the culminating work of a long series of works that were inspired by the reports coming from the region.

History never fails to fascinate me..