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The Blood Countess

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,300 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and journalist, has written a fascinating first novel based on the life of his real-life ancestor, Elizabeth Bathory, the legendary Blood Countess. Codrescu expertly weaves together two stories in this neo-gothic work: that of the 16th-century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a beautiful and terrifying woman who bathes in the blood of ...more
Paperback, 453 pages
Published July 2nd 1996 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,414)
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A.J.
Good. God. Agnus.

This may have been the worst book I've ever read (contending even with Warcraft: Day of the Dragon). I don't know quite where to begin. How about the cover?

On the hard-backed edition I have, the front page reads, "Blood Countess: A Novel." Lie #1. This is not a novel. A novel contains a plot. One does not exist here. Nowhere in all 347 pages of Mr. Codrescue's rambling do even the faintest traces of a story appear. Instead a long-winded, overwritten blizzard of exposition crush
...more
Cecily
I was way too young to read this when I did. Until this day a part of me is scarred!
Ashlie Nelson
I really enjoyed this book. I have a morbid fascination to the famous Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory and have read lots of material about her. I would have to say this is defintly up in the top 10 fave books about the Countess. This book is incredibly violent and graphic, so the reader should be advised. But, although certainly fictionalized, it is reasonably accurate to the facts known about one of the most prolific serial murderers of all time. The second plot including Elizabeth's ances ...more
Karen
I read this book to get a better sense of some Hungarian legends before traveling to Budapest. Despite being about a purported sado-masochistic lesbian vampire whose spirit continued to live in her descendants and arose again during the fall of communism, this was an extraordinarily boring book.

I had high hopes--it was written by an NPR reporter who actually was related to the Blood Countess--an actual countess who was tried during the 15th century for bathing in the blood of virgins. Unfortuna
...more
Trina Burton
Told in parallel stories, "The Blood Countess" gives a retelling of the alleged crimes of Elizabeth Bathory, a sixteenth century Hungarian noble said to have tortured and bathed in the blood of 650 virgins and her fictional descendant, Drake Bathory-Kereshtur, a Hungarian emigre who has returned to his native land to investigate the Blood Countess and reconnect with his own past. It is told as if Drake Bathory-Kereshtur is giving testimony at a trial. He has turned himself in for the murder of a ...more
Savannah
I just finished reading this for the second (or third?) time, and it is every bit as interesting and captivating as the first time. Basically the story of a woman in the sixteenth century who is both spoiled and unable to comply with the definitions of Luther's "complacent" woman, she is thirsty for experience and knowledge, which eventually leads her down a dark and doomed path. Weaving in and out of this main tale of Countess Elizabeth Bathory is the tale of her distant descendant, a man unwit ...more
Laura
Reasonably good, although I couldn't help but think that the author was a dirty, perverted man. I've read numerous pieces of literature and research about Elizabeth and I know she had a perverse side, but I think some of the accounts were wild infatuations of this male authors mind which just overflowed into his writings.

The story was interesting, it switched between a modern day story and Elizabeth Bathory's day and it kept you on your toes a bit as at times you were quite easily reading two e
...more
Trixie Fontaine
I always want to grumble when a man does a good job writing about women (see also Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All) but this is one of those books where I have to grudgingly admit I couldn't point to a single thing and say, "A WOMAN NEVER WOULD HAVE WRITTEN THAT ABOUT ANOTHER WOMAN!"

Anyway, it was a beautiful, rich, decadent read. Kind of hard to build in any kind of climax, though, when the entire thing is so dramatic (fine with me, but other people might wish for a higher peak towards
...more
Tori
2003- You might have heard of Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary. She's quite infamous. You see, the Countess allegedly murdered over 650 young girls. She was said to bathe in their blood. This novel tells two stories, side by side. We have the tale of Elizabeth's life, filled richly with background history so maybe we can understand this woman's ways. The other story is of Drake Bathory-Kereshtur, a fictional descendant of Bathory who believes his last name will forever haunt him. The novel, ...more
S.A. Parham
Since the book was supposed to be about Elizabeth Bathory, I nabbed it as well at the flea market. Unfortunately, it was a waste even of that cheap price. Whereas the story had a lot of potential, it seemed far more that Codrescu was revelling in the gorey, sadistic scenes with Elizabeth (and later with Drake) than actually telling her story. Everything revolved around some sort of sexual perversion, and I highly doubt something as complex as Bathory's wish for youth was solely sexual. If I coul ...more
Serena
Addictive read.
Alex
This is an extremely hard book to rate.

I really enjoyed it to start off with, although the scenes with Drake were rather dull. I kept reading his parts faster so I could get back to Elizabeth. Ah, the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess. There isn't a lot of fiction out there about her, and no wonder - most people wouldn't have the stomach to write about her evil deeds.

This book was extremely gory and perverse, but it didn't take away from the story at all. Given the time period and
...more
Christine
Bloody Magical Realism in the Balkans

Andrei Codrescu has created a savory paprikash, served with Tokaji and the occasional bloody sausage. His story not only encompasses the anguish of a contemporary journalist, who bears a physical and professional resemblance to Codrescu, but the brutal history of Inquisition-era Europe, revolving around the Blood Countess, Erzebet (Elizabeth) Bathory. Both Codrescu and his protagonists are relatives of the Countess.

Journalist Drake Bathory asks a judge to co
...more
Slmcmahon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yomna hosny
The Blood Countess: Andrei Codrescu
The other day I was listening to “Cruelty brought thee orchids’ by Cradle of filth which tells the story of the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth (or Erzebeth) Bathory.


Her likeness hung in the black gallery
Commanding unease
Demanding of death to breathe
..
Midst the whirl and daylight fauna of society at court
Elizabeth bedazzled
Her presence sought applause
Though her torch lit shadow thrown on the damp cellar walls
Greeted nothing but despair from slaves her nights enthr
...more
Aubrey
Let me start by saying that I've read half of this book multiple times. As a fan of history and political intrigue, this book is very interesting. It's a little odd at times, and can be quite gruesome, but the subject is gruesome. I confess that I have repeatedly skipped the modern-day chapters of this book. In my opinion, they are completely unnecessary. I tried once to read them, but then decided it was a waste of time. So half of this book is pretty good, the story itself lacks conflict and r ...more
Serena
Incredibly, incredibly disturbing. I knew the topic, Countess Elizabeth of Bathory, despoiler of virgins, bather in blood, murderss extroidinair. But this book is graphic, both in sex and violence. Countess Bathory's ideas about the ideas about blood's ability to renew youth and soul, plus a love of inflicting pain leads to an endless list of torture and cruelty. There is a surrounding story of a modern day man, a decendent of Bathory, who returns to Hungary after escaping during Communist occup ...more
Ben
I'm read this because a good friend recommended it so enthusiastically. It reminds me of Anne Rice, except that Rice is relatively light-hearted because it's purely fiction, and I'm not sure how much of Elizabeth Bathory's story is true historical horror. Definitely not for kids, but makes mainstream emo books like Twilight look like the horrible bubblegum it is.

FYI, It has strong morbid, sexual overtones. The idea that it is the narrative told by an immigrant to a judge stinks because it meande
...more
Shelly
Given the fact that this book is very exotic, sexual, and vivid, you won't believe some of the things this woman supposedly did. Countess Elizabeth Bathory is the heiress to millions in Hungary who was a cruel, satanic, witch like being who murdered thousands of young virgins and bathed in their blood because she believed that this was the secret to keeping a youthful appearance. She was cruel and torturous to all of her servants, and just about anyone she came in contact with. She was eventuall ...more
Liam
More of a three stars and a half. I sort of worry about myself that I liked this book. It's very well-written, but well-written and detailed about extreme, deviant, and psychopathic violence and sex, and sex as violence, and violence as sex. Although Codrescu indulges in some sophomoric historical errors (ius primae noctis, witchcraft), the general historical feel is well-done. I think it was a bit weak at the end, but it was certainly a gripping read.
Holly
Jun 04, 2008 Holly marked it as to-read
Shelves: true-life
I actually own the hardcover...but that wasn't available on here. I got this book because I saw the show on the History channel about the actual desendant who went looking to right a wrong his ancestor created, he cooked a diner for everyone in the village including the Mayor and they said he was always welcome back. So I figured I would read the book behind the story.
John
Oct 19, 2007 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, smutt lovers, people with an interest in Transylvania, Codrescu fans
This is perhaps the only book I know of that has endorsements from William S. Burroughs and Tom Robbins. Codrescu is an excellent writer, and he did a good job researching the history of the blood countess. The S&M and asphyxiation scenes later in the novel weren't really to my taste, but it isn't the most disturbing book out there.
Catherine
This book wasn't my cup of tea. It started out good -- I read about half the book in just two sittings -- but, after a while, it seemed too wordy. I liked the parallel story structure, but it wasn't as interesting to me as "The 19th Wife" was.
Tabitha
This doesn't have any sort of plot. I couldn't make it through the first chapter. I think writing a thesis at the last minute on a case of redbull, someone could come up better reading material. Augh.
Kim
Not a book for everyone as it is quite sexually violent and a bit macabre- but I found it quite interesting in both story and history.
Eilidh Albrecht
I liked the story itself but the descriptions of Elizabeth Bathory's actions were too graphic and creepy to continue reading.
Leif Erik
Cheesy but entertaining. The sex bits were over the top. Think Ann Rice with an education.
Caitlin
Not great literautre but some creepy sex scenes are worth the read.
Neena
Although Andrei Codrescu undeniably writes very well, I can't help but come away from this book thinking the man has severe issues!

All of those of us who are interested in Elizabeth Bathory have a very real idea of the depravity and cruelty of this woman but I would advise you to read "Dracula Was A Woman" instead.
There are many parts of this book that are extremely graphic from the killing of animals - which although I don't like reading about, I can understand why some of them are depicted in
...more
Rebecca
For a while I have been intending to read a book about the Blood Countess. Somehow, it has taken me until now to do so. This book was interesting, although I found myself more drawn to the historical perspective rather than the modern day rendition of the story. I did not find the modern aspect convincing, even though it was based on real events. The historical aspect was horrifying and the author wrote with abandon. Do not attempt this book if you do not have a strong stomach. Another problem I ...more
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Andrei Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. He was Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009.
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