Entertainment Weekly gave it a middling “C” grade, but Elizabeth Kostova’s second book The Swan Thieves (after her 2005 blockbuster vampire-themed The Historian) gets more love from the Associated Press. The author was also interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

But the review that blows away the nay-sayers is from Laura Miller in the Barnes and Noble Review. Miller, a respected critic who writes for Salon, opens the review by marveling that The Historian was such a success; it’s “a vampire story without gore or brooding passions, a historical thriller without much in the way of action” but Kostova “…placed her faith in the conviction that readers are pleased to sink slowly into a novel, until the world it conjures has closed over their heads, submerging them entirely.” Miller feels she does the same with this book, even though the subject matter (Impressionist painting, rather than vampires) is quite different.

You can read an excerpt here. The book’s Web site offers information on the historical background of the novel.

The Swan Thieves
Elizabeth Kostova
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-01-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0316065781 / 9780316065788

Audio from Hachette:

  • CD: $39.98; ISBN 9781600247453

Large Print:

  • Little Brown: $28.99; ISBN 9780316043663


  • $104.99; ISBN 9781607884828

One Response to “A Second Look at THE SWAN THIEVES”

  1. Ron Charles Says:

    Our review in the Washington Post this week had a very mixed reaction, too: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/11/AR2010011103336.html