Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- In the
"Note to the Reader," the narrator tells us, "There is a final resource to
which I have resorted when necessary--the imagination." How does she use
this resource in telling her story? Is it a resource to which the other
historians in the book resort, as well?
- The theme
of mentors and disciples is an important one in the book. Who are the
story's mentors, and in what sense is each a mentor? Who are the book's
- Near the
end of Chapter 4, Rossi says, "Human history's full of evil deeds, and
maybe we ought to think of them with tears, not fascination." Does he
follow his own advice? How does his attitude toward history evolve in the
course of his own story?
- In Chapter
5, Paul's friend Massimo asserts that in history, there are no small
questions. What does he mean by this and how does this idea inform the
book? Do you agree with his statement?
- Helen and
Paul come from very different worlds, although they share a passion for
history. How have their upbringings differed? What factors have shaped
the book, anyone who finds an antique book with a dragon in the middle is
exposed to some kind of danger. What does this danger consist of? Is it an
external power, or do the characters bring it upon themselves?
- Each of the
characters is aware of some of the history being made in his or her own
times. What are some of these real historical events, and why are they
important to the story?
- At the
beginning of Chapter 1, Paul's daughter notes, "I had been raised in a
world so sheltered that it makes my adult life in academia look positively
adventurous." How does she change as a person in the course of her quest?
history is deeply intertwined with that of Dracula. In what ways are the
two characters connected? Does she triumph over his legacy, or not?
- In Chapter
73, Dracula states his credo: "History has taught us that the nature of
man is evil, sublimely so." Do the characters and events of the novel
prove or disprove this belief?
Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Little, Brown & Co. Page numbers refer to the hardcover USA edition and may vary in other editions.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.