Simon Sebag Montefiore - The Romanovs - Orion Publishing Group

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    • Publication date:28 Jan 2016
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The Romanovs

1613-1918

By Simon Sebag Montefiore

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

The epic new history from the bestselling author of JERUSALEM - the intimate story of Russia's imperial dynasty

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.

To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six tsars were murdered and all the Romanovs lived under constant threat to their lives. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband - who was murdered soon afterwards - loved her young male favourites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who faced Napoleon's invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts, and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever written by a ruler. THE ROMANOVS climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution - and the harrowing massacre of the entire family.

Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, THE ROMANOVS is at once an enthralling story of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power, and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.

Biographical Notes

Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prizewinning historian whose bestselling books have been published in over forty-five languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT AND POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards; YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award, LA Times Biography Prize and Le Grand Prix de Biographie; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY was a number one bestseller and won the Jewish Book Council's Book of the Year prize; THE ROMANOVS: 1613-1918 was an international bestseller and won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. Montefiore is also the author of the acclaimed novels SASHENKA, RED SKY AT NOON and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER, which won the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year Award. He read history at Cambridge University where he received his PhD, and now lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.
www.simonsebagmontefiore.com
@simonmontefiore
www.facebook.com/pages/Simon-Sebag-Montefiore

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780297852667
  • Publication date: 28 Jan 2016
  • Page count: 784
  • Imprint: W&N
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Romanovs is epic history on the grandest scale . . . A story of conspiracy, drunken coups, assassination, torture, impaling, breaking on the wheel, lethal floggings with the knout, sexual and alcoholic excess, charlatans and pretenders, flamboyant wealth based on a grinding serfdom, and, not surprisingly, a vicious cycle of repression and revolt. Game of Thrones seems like the proverbial vicar's tea party in comparison . . . Reading Montefiore's excellent account, it is hard to imagine how the monarchy could ever have survived under their catastrophic leadership' — Antony Beevor, FINANCIAL TIMES
'Captivating . . . The story of the Romanovs has been told countless times but never with such a compelling combination of literary flair, narrative drive, solid research and psychological insight. The Romanovs covers it all, from war and diplomacy to institution building and court intrigue, but it is chiefly an intimate portrait that brings to life the twenty sovereigns of Russia in vivid fashion . . . Montefiore writes with subtlety and sophistication about the nature of court life, the dynamics of power and the shifting configurations of the various players' — Douglas Smith, LITERARY REVIEW
'Don't let its size fool you:There's never been a more inviting 700-plus-page historical tome. That's because the author, who matches rigorous scholarship with a novelist's eye for delicious details, is clearly having so much fun. And why not? In three centuries, the Romanovs produced titans and weaklings, war and peace, and enough salacious behavior to make us say, "Turn off thy Kardashians! Pick up thy Montefiore!"' — Oprah Winfrey, O MAGAZINE
'Montefiore has an eye for the telling detail which lifts an unfamiliar narrative. His mammoth history of Russia's royal dynasty features many such vivid, amusing and surprising particulars. Indeed it is startlingly lubricious and gory . . . Gore and sex aside, the author's pen produces reams of fluent, sometimes sparkling prose. Many of his reflections on the Romanov era apply well to Vladimir Putin's domains now . . . The Russian court was an entrepot of power: its role as a broker allowed participants to amass wealth and bonded them in shared loyalty. But it also allowed them to compete without resorting to civil war or revolution. That sounds pretty much like the modern Kremlin' — THE ECONOMIST
'Charts the rise and fall of Russia's Romanov dynasty, which began in 1613 and ended with the whole royal family being shot dead in a basement in 1918. It has been painstakingly researched and the attention to historical detail is breathtaking. The lives of 20 tsars and tsarinas are recorded in exquisite detail through words and pictures. Although some of their escapades are not for the faint-hearted (the Russians were barbaric in their punishments) the rich and vibrant history is utterly compelling. It grabs you by the hand and thrusts you into the world of Imperial Russia with all its decadence and finery. Montefiore has become a popular presenter of BBC history programmes on subjects ranging from Jerusalem to Spain, and here his clear, concise narration and wonderful tone make this a delight to read. Ideal for students of history or for those just seduced by the BBC's version of War and Peace and wanting to brush up on their history' — Tania Findlay, THE SUN
'With its sordid power struggles, violence and brutality, its cast of magnificent monsters, tragic victims and grotesque 'holy men', this is an extraordinary and gripping tale . . . By turns horrific, hilarious and moving, but ultimately tragic, this is essential reading for anyone interested in Russia' — Adam Zamoyski, THE SPECTATOR
'Wonderfully compelling and insightful . . . Sebag Montefiore provides fabulously revealing pen-portraits of the 20 Romanov tsars, as well as their spouses, mistresses and senior advisers . . . The author has already written excellent books on Catherine the Great and Stalin. This one is even better, combining as it does his expert knowledge of Russian history with the narrative wizardry displayed in his previous bestseller, Jerusalem. The Romanovs is the gripping and scarcely credible tale of the most successful royal dynasty since the Caesars, and Sebag Montefiore tells it brilliantly' — Saul David, EVENING STANDARD
'An impressive book that combines rigorous research with exquisite prose' — Gerard de Groot, THE TIMES
'Montefiore's journey through 300 years of the Romanov dynasty is a study of brutality, sex and power . . . riveting . . . the research is meticulous and the style captivating' — John Kampfner, THE OBSERVER

'This magnificent and magisterial history . . . is a wonderfully ambitious account of 300 years of Russian history . . . an authoritative and gripping account of the Romanovs. This is a superb book and it will surely become the definitive work'

— Jane Ridley, THE OLDIE
'This splendidly colourful and energetic book . . . is structured simply, as a helter-skelter chronological narrative of 300 years. Sebag Montefiore expertly selects the best (most shocking, bizarre, sensationally theatrical) bits from that long history . . . Sebag Montefiore rises to the gaudy, gruesome subject matter, pulling all the stops out . . . Sebag Montefiore is alive to the way his story resonates across time, from Genghis Khan to Gorbachev, but he doesn't allow his erudition to hold up the narrative's gallop . . . with great gifts for encapsulating a character and storytelling con brio' — Lucy Hughes-Hallett, NEW STATESMAN
'A new book from Simon Sebag Montefiore is something of a literary event these days . . . His latest project is in some ways his most ambitious yet . . . However it's one that [he] pulls off with aplomb. As much a riveting read as a prodigious work of scholarship . . . he could not have picked a better time to publish this epic and enthralling history of a dynasty that rose up drenched in blood and died out in exactly the same manner' — Dominic Midgley, DAILY EXPRESS
'The entire Romanov dynasty is a marvellously rich bag of deshabille, despotism and occasional diplomacy, as Simon Sebag Montefiore's feisty history brilliantly displays . . . Countless illuminating details, gleaned through arduous dedication to scarcely used archives, stud the pages of The Romanovs . . . immensely enjoyable . . . full-blooded and totally enthralling' — Judith Armstrong, THE AUSTRALIAN
'An obvious work of great scholarship and research' — HERALD SUN (Australia)
'A comprehensive overview of the Romanov dynasty . . . which skilfully interweaves the personal with the political . . . Montefiore is the perfect author for a book of the ambition and scope of The Romanovs . . . The Romanovs is old-fashioned narrative history at its colourful and unpretentious best. Montefiore is a wonderful guide . . . the writing sparkles . . . The Romanovs deserves the best praise any book can get: it never bores . . . Montefiore has much to say about political machinations as he does about personal friendships and love which lifts his work far above drily academic history' — Andre van Loon, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
'Simon Sebag Montefiore has written a magisterial account of unlimited power and sexual decadence based on a remarkable correspondence' — THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
'From dramatic rise to revolutionary fall, 20 autocratic Romanov tsars and tsarinas ruled over three centuries of blood-soaked war and brutal peace, breathtaking riches and absolute power, passionate love and ruthless ambition, madness and decadence. With ease and expertise, Simon Sebag Montefiore brazenly presents the Romanov royal history as a mesmerising family saga, always spectacular and finally in 1918, tragic' — Iain Finlayson, SAGA magazine
'It's like reading 20 riveting, plot-thickening novels in the space of one volume. And the packaging looks equally scintillating' — Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER
'As Simon Sebag Montefiore demonstrates in this magnificent, sweeping history, the Russian royal family was a remarkable dynasty, turning a vast but backward country into a mighty empire capable of defeating Napoleon at the zenith of its power. Despite the extraordinary depth and range of his research, the author avoids the dryness of more academic volumes. Instead he embarks on a rollicking, racy narrative across more than three centuries of Romanov rule, weaving a tale that is packed with salacious gossip and gruesome details' — Leo McKinstry, S MAGAZINE, SUNDAY EXPRESS
'As Simon Sebag Montefiore shows in this superlative account of the last royal dynasty that attempted the task, Russia is not an easy place to rule . . . In part, the book is a vivid family chronicle of court life full of extraordinary stories . . . a sparkling narrative of 300 years of glittering opulence and majesty, as well as thoughtless waste and frivolity . . . He is a shrewd analyst of high politics - and the low cunning needed by successful leaders . . . I read much of this book grateful that the dynasty was about to fall - until I remembered the worse horrors that followed after the Revolution' — Victor Sebestyen, MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Panoramic . . . Montefiore tells it compellingly' — Roger Lewis, DAILY MAIL
'In a brilliant introductory essay, Sebag Montefiore discusses the principle of tsarist autocracy, the limits of imperial power, the challenges of succession and the operation of government . . . Sebag Montefiore's book is an immensely entertaining read . . . it features some of the most outrageous characters you are likely to find in a history book . . . The story of the last Romanovs has been told a thousand times, yet it is a tribute to Sebag Montefiore's skill as a narrator that you turn the pages with horrified fascination' — Dominic Sandbrook, SUNDAY TIMES
'A glorious history of the Romanov dynasty bursting with blood, sex and tears' — Peter Frankopan, DAILY TELEGRAPH
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's blockbuster history of the Romanov dynasty arrives with exquisite timing . . . The historian's account of the last months, days and hours of the Romanovs will not disappoint ... [and] show Sebag Montefiore's narrative bravado at its scintillating best. There is unlikely to have been a racier account of how the last Romanovs met their end . . . Masterly' — Mary Dejevsky, THE INDEPENDENT
'A very lively story. This retelling could hardly be more timely . . . To make the most of the dramatic nature of his story, Simon Sebag Montefiore has hit upon the ingenious idea of dividing the history of the Romanovs into three acts, with numerous scenes in each - more like a play than a 700-word series of biographies . . . Dr Sebag Montefiore has proved himself a chronicler worthy of their achievements and, for his readers, revealed a fascinating, if doomed, imperial cavalcade' — John Ure, COUNTRY LIFE
'This history of Russia's famous (and infamous) dynasty is compelling, accessible stuff, covering its huge timespan and vast cast of characters in typically vibrant fashion. It's insightful about the continuing legacy of the Romanovs in Russia today, too' — Matt Elton, HISTORYEXTRA.COM
'In another great work of history, Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem, tells the bloody and decadent stories of the 20 tsars and tsarinas of Russia's last imperial dynasty. The Romanovs is like 20 gripping novels in one' — SUNDAY EXPRESS
'Hugely entertaining history that takes savage delight in its tales of human pleasure and suffering' — THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Must Reads'
'Power, sex and death - you certainly can't say that the Romanovs, who ruled Russia for over three centuries, led quiet lives . . . Drawing on new evidence it paints a vivid portrait of a remarkable, and ultimately doomed, dynasty' — HISTORY REVEALED
'Russian history is as colourful and dramatic as any novel and anyone who has enjoyed the excellent recent TV adaptation of War and Peace should be directed towards Simon Sebag Montefiore's lively The Romanovs which details the madness, cruelty, excess and deceit that would prove the undoing of the dynasty that ruled Russia for more than 300 years' — CHOICE magazine
'Anecdotal, gossipy, irreverent . . . this sumptuous, old-fashioned narrative history is wonderful entertainment. From its earliest days in the seventeenth century to its brutal downfall during the First World War, Simon Sebag Montefiore is an observant, fluent and knowledgeable guide to the Romanov dynasty' — André Van Loon, THE TABLET
'Dazzlingly definitive' — AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's 700-plus page account of the gory, greedy, gut-wrenching and occasionally glorious antics of the Romanov tsars uses previously untapped archives to make Game of Thrones seem like Milly-Molly-Mandy' — Christiana Hardyment, THE TIMES
'Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore dives enticingly into the world of the Russian Romanov family, the most successful dynasty of modern times, who once ruled a sixth of the world's surface. This richly multi-layered and gripping family chronicle covers the lives of 20 tsars and tsarinas, revealing a secret world of unlimited power and ruthless ambition' — FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE
'[Montefiore] reveals in marvellous detail and meticulous documentation the 300 years of Romanov dynastic survival . . . he writes so well, sometimes with a thrilling impulsion' — Mary Leland, IRISH EXAMINER
'A sparkling narrative full of tantrums, tsars and tiaras' — Sebastian Shakespeare, TATLER
'This enthralling and gruesome book mixes sexual exploits, torture, war, betrayal and diplomacy. It partly describes how Russia morphed from miserable weakling into mighty empire. But it is mainly the story of the personalities: the cruelty of Ivan the Terrible, the unstoppable willpower of Peter the Great, and then Catherine, perhaps more deservedly "the Great" for her brains, charm, vision and sex drive. Sebag Montefiore's thesis, broadly, is that Russia's vastness leads to outsize politics: autocracy tempered by strangulation" as Madame de Stael puts it' — Edward Lucas, 1843 (The Economist)
'It takes true historical daring to tackle such an immense subject . . . Montefiore's novelistic gift of drawing vivid characters with a few choice words never fails him . . . The main portraits are invariably memorable . . . spellbinding . . . This monumental work is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in Russian history and the doomed dynasty of Romanovs' — Olga Grushin, NEW YORK TIMES (USA)
'Sebag Montefiore paints an unforgettable portrait of characters fascinating and charismatic, odd and odious. Magnificent palaces, elaborate balls, and a culture that produced Pushkin, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy existed alongside pogroms, torture and murder . . . Erudite and entertaining' — Greg King, THE WASHINGTON POST (USA)
'Wonderfully written and fascinating down to the last footnote . . . [Montefiore's] style is polished, lively, informed . . . Montefiore is an accomplished storyteller, and what might have been a plodding succession of reigns reads instead like a novel - specifically, in its interplay of themes and motifs, and especially its pairing of opposites, like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude . . . Like a novel, too, this is a hard book to put down. As historical reconstruction and as storytelling, The Romanovs is an achievement of the first rank' — David Walton, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (USA)
'A fascinating psychological study of this succession of megalomaniacs, madmen and mediocrities . . . He writes with knowledge and gusto' — Jack Carrigan, CATHOLIC HERALD
'A rollicking look at one of the most successful - and violent - regimes in history' — THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Summer Books'
'The ill-starred Romanovs are revealed in their full pomp and perversity' — Robbie Millen, THE TIMES 'Summer Books'
'[A] joyful romp through 300 years of the dynasty's epic follies' — DAILY TELEGRAPH
'A superlative history of the last royal dynasty to govern Russia, brimming with extraordinary stories of murder and torture, sex and excess, featuring madmen, monsters megalomaniacs and fanatics. This is an epic story of 300 years of high politics and low cunning - War and Peace meets Game of Thrones' — MAIL ON SUNDAY - Summer Reads
'This was a world of sibling rivalry, ruthless ambition, lurid excess and sadistic depravity; a world of impostors, false prophets, giants, freaks, wizards and nymphomaniacs. More than just a story about a dysfunctional royal family, this book is an examination of the Russian addiction to autocracy. Historians, embarrassed by Romanov excesses, often censor the truth. Not Montefiore' — Gerard de Groot, THE TIMES Books of the Year 2016
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's superb The Romanovs covers the whole extraordinary three-century saga of those often ruthless libidinous and expansionist tsars in gruesome, eye-popping detail' — Saul David, EVENING STANDARD Books of the Year 2016
[Montefiore's] vivid descriptions of the savage ways of old Russia belie an immense scholarship — Simon Heffer, DAILY TELEGRAPH History Books of the Year 2016
An absorbing history of the dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years. Along the way we meet the great, the good, the not so good and the downright appalling, who took a vast wilderness, far beyond the horizon, and turned it into a world power, until the world turned on them. Unputdownable. — Rev Richard Coles, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
A cruel history of hereditary power, by a master storyteller who lifts this unfamiliar narrative with vivid, amusing and surprising details — THE ECONOMIST Books of the Year 2016

This meticulously researched account of Russian history from the 17th to the 20th century makes
Game Of Thrones seem staid by comparison. Beneath the astonishing wealth of historical detail
runs the constant theme of the impossible challenge, even for a dynasty of autocrats, of ruling the
'ever-expanding, multi-faith, multi-ethnic empire' that was Russia

— Jane Shilling, DAILY MAIL
A bravura history of the Russian imperial dynasty that does not blanch at the tales of excess that surround this often savage imperial household — THE SUNDAY TIMES - Summer Reading 2017
It is very violent and gruesome. It made me realise that our world is a much better place than I thought — Kirstie Allsopp
Wonderfully written and fascinating down to the last footnote ...[Montefiore's] style is polished, lively, informed ... Montefiore is an accomplished storyteller, and what might have been a plodding succession of reigns reads instead like a novel ... Like a novel, too, this is a hard book to put down. As historical reconstruction and as storytelling, The Romanovs is an achievement of the first rank — David Walton, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's The Romanovs is epic history on the grandest scale . . . A story of conspiracy, drunken coups, assassination, torture, impaling, breaking on the wheel, lethal floggings with the knout, sexual and alcoholic excess, charlatans and pretenders, flamboyant wealth based on a grinding serfdom, and, not surprisingly, a vicious cycle of repression and revolt. Game of Thrones seems like the proverbial vicar's tea party in comparison . . . Reading Montefiore's excellent account, it is hard to imagine how the monarchy could ever have survived under their catastrophic leadership'
'Captivating . . . The story of the Romanovs has been told countless times but never with such a compelling combination of literary flair, narrative drive, solid research and psychological insight. The Romanovs covers it all, from war and diplomacy to institution building and court intrigue, but it is chiefly an intimate portrait that brings to life the twenty sovereigns of Russia in vivid fashion . . . Montefiore writes with subtlety and sophistication about the nature of court life, the dynamics of power and the shifting configurations of the various players'
'Don't let its size fool you:There's never been a more inviting 700-plus-page historical tome. That's because the author, who matches rigorous scholarship with a novelist's eye for delicious details, is clearly having so much fun. And why not? In three centuries, the Romanovs produced titans and weaklings, war and peace, and enough salacious behavior to make us say, "Turn off thy Kardashians! Pick up thy Montefiore!"'
'Montefiore has an eye for the telling detail which lifts an unfamiliar narrative. His mammoth history of Russia's royal dynasty features many such vivid, amusing and surprising particulars. Indeed it is startlingly lubricious and gory . . . Gore and sex aside, the author's pen produces reams of fluent, sometimes sparkling prose. Many of his reflections on the Romanov era apply well to Vladimir Putin's domains now . . . The Russian court was an entrepot of power: its role as a broker allowed participants to amass wealth and bonded them in shared loyalty. But it also allowed them to compete without resorting to civil war or revolution. That sounds pretty much like the modern Kremlin'
'Charts the rise and fall of Russia's Romanov dynasty, which began in 1613 and ended with the whole royal family being shot dead in a basement in 1918. It has been painstakingly researched and the attention to historical detail is breathtaking. The lives of 20 tsars and tsarinas are recorded in exquisite detail through words and pictures. Although some of their escapades are not for the faint-hearted (the Russians were barbaric in their punishments) the rich and vibrant history is utterly compelling. It grabs you by the hand and thrusts you into the world of Imperial Russia with all its decadence and finery. Montefiore has become a popular presenter of BBC history programmes on subjects ranging from Jerusalem to Spain, and here his clear, concise narration and wonderful tone make this a delight to read. Ideal for students of history or for those just seduced by the BBC's version of War and Peace and wanting to brush up on their history'
'With its sordid power struggles, violence and brutality, its cast of magnificent monsters, tragic victims and grotesque 'holy men', this is an extraordinary and gripping tale . . . By turns horrific, hilarious and moving, but ultimately tragic, this is essential reading for anyone interested in Russia'
'Wonderfully compelling and insightful . . . Sebag Montefiore provides fabulously revealing pen-portraits of the 20 Romanov tsars, as well as their spouses, mistresses and senior advisers . . . The author has already written excellent books on Catherine the Great and Stalin. This one is even better, combining as it does his expert knowledge of Russian history with the narrative wizardry displayed in his previous bestseller, Jerusalem. The Romanovs is the gripping and scarcely credible tale of the most successful royal dynasty since the Caesars, and Sebag Montefiore tells it brilliantly'
'An impressive book that combines rigorous research with exquisite prose'
'Montefiore's journey through 300 years of the Romanov dynasty is a study of brutality, sex and power . . . riveting . . . the research is meticulous and the style captivating'

'This magnificent and magisterial history . . . is a wonderfully ambitious account of 300 years of Russian history . . . an authoritative and gripping account of the Romanovs. This is a superb book and it will surely become the definitive work'

'This splendidly colourful and energetic book . . . is structured simply, as a helter-skelter chronological narrative of 300 years. Sebag Montefiore expertly selects the best (most shocking, bizarre, sensationally theatrical) bits from that long history . . . Sebag Montefiore rises to the gaudy, gruesome subject matter, pulling all the stops out . . . Sebag Montefiore is alive to the way his story resonates across time, from Genghis Khan to Gorbachev, but he doesn't allow his erudition to hold up the narrative's gallop . . . with great gifts for encapsulating a character and storytelling con brio'
'A new book from Simon Sebag Montefiore is something of a literary event these days . . . His latest project is in some ways his most ambitious yet . . . However it's one that [he] pulls off with aplomb. As much a riveting read as a prodigious work of scholarship . . . he could not have picked a better time to publish this epic and enthralling history of a dynasty that rose up drenched in blood and died out in exactly the same manner'
'The entire Romanov dynasty is a marvellously rich bag of deshabille, despotism and occasional diplomacy, as Simon Sebag Montefiore's feisty history brilliantly displays . . . Countless illuminating details, gleaned through arduous dedication to scarcely used archives, stud the pages of The Romanovs . . . immensely enjoyable . . . full-blooded and totally enthralling'
'An obvious work of great scholarship and research'
'A comprehensive overview of the Romanov dynasty . . . which skilfully interweaves the personal with the political . . . Montefiore is the perfect author for a book of the ambition and scope of The Romanovs . . . The Romanovs is old-fashioned narrative history at its colourful and unpretentious best. Montefiore is a wonderful guide . . . the writing sparkles . . . The Romanovs deserves the best praise any book can get: it never bores . . . Montefiore has much to say about political machinations as he does about personal friendships and love which lifts his work far above drily academic history'
'Simon Sebag Montefiore has written a magisterial account of unlimited power and sexual decadence based on a remarkable correspondence'
'From dramatic rise to revolutionary fall, 20 autocratic Romanov tsars and tsarinas ruled over three centuries of blood-soaked war and brutal peace, breathtaking riches and absolute power, passionate love and ruthless ambition, madness and decadence. With ease and expertise, Simon Sebag Montefiore brazenly presents the Romanov royal history as a mesmerising family saga, always spectacular and finally in 1918, tragic'
'It's like reading 20 riveting, plot-thickening novels in the space of one volume. And the packaging looks equally scintillating'
'As Simon Sebag Montefiore demonstrates in this magnificent, sweeping history, the Russian royal family was a remarkable dynasty, turning a vast but backward country into a mighty empire capable of defeating Napoleon at the zenith of its power. Despite the extraordinary depth and range of his research, the author avoids the dryness of more academic volumes. Instead he embarks on a rollicking, racy narrative across more than three centuries of Romanov rule, weaving a tale that is packed with salacious gossip and gruesome details'
'As Simon Sebag Montefiore shows in this superlative account of the last royal dynasty that attempted the task, Russia is not an easy place to rule . . . In part, the book is a vivid family chronicle of court life full of extraordinary stories . . . a sparkling narrative of 300 years of glittering opulence and majesty, as well as thoughtless waste and frivolity . . . He is a shrewd analyst of high politics - and the low cunning needed by successful leaders . . . I read much of this book grateful that the dynasty was about to fall - until I remembered the worse horrors that followed after the Revolution'
'Panoramic . . . Montefiore tells it compellingly'
'In a brilliant introductory essay, Sebag Montefiore discusses the principle of tsarist autocracy, the limits of imperial power, the challenges of succession and the operation of government . . . Sebag Montefiore's book is an immensely entertaining read . . . it features some of the most outrageous characters you are likely to find in a history book . . . The story of the last Romanovs has been told a thousand times, yet it is a tribute to Sebag Montefiore's skill as a narrator that you turn the pages with horrified fascination'
'A glorious history of the Romanov dynasty bursting with blood, sex and tears'
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's blockbuster history of the Romanov dynasty arrives with exquisite timing . . . The historian's account of the last months, days and hours of the Romanovs will not disappoint ... [and] show Sebag Montefiore's narrative bravado at its scintillating best. There is unlikely to have been a racier account of how the last Romanovs met their end . . . Masterly'
'A very lively story. This retelling could hardly be more timely . . . To make the most of the dramatic nature of his story, Simon Sebag Montefiore has hit upon the ingenious idea of dividing the history of the Romanovs into three acts, with numerous scenes in each - more like a play than a 700-word series of biographies . . . Dr Sebag Montefiore has proved himself a chronicler worthy of their achievements and, for his readers, revealed a fascinating, if doomed, imperial cavalcade'
'This history of Russia's famous (and infamous) dynasty is compelling, accessible stuff, covering its huge timespan and vast cast of characters in typically vibrant fashion. It's insightful about the continuing legacy of the Romanovs in Russia today, too'
'In another great work of history, Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem, tells the bloody and decadent stories of the 20 tsars and tsarinas of Russia's last imperial dynasty. The Romanovs is like 20 gripping novels in one'
'Hugely entertaining history that takes savage delight in its tales of human pleasure and suffering'
'Power, sex and death - you certainly can't say that the Romanovs, who ruled Russia for over three centuries, led quiet lives . . . Drawing on new evidence it paints a vivid portrait of a remarkable, and ultimately doomed, dynasty'
'Russian history is as colourful and dramatic as any novel and anyone who has enjoyed the excellent recent TV adaptation of War and Peace should be directed towards Simon Sebag Montefiore's lively The Romanovs which details the madness, cruelty, excess and deceit that would prove the undoing of the dynasty that ruled Russia for more than 300 years'
'Anecdotal, gossipy, irreverent . . . this sumptuous, old-fashioned narrative history is wonderful entertainment. From its earliest days in the seventeenth century to its brutal downfall during the First World War, Simon Sebag Montefiore is an observant, fluent and knowledgeable guide to the Romanov dynasty'
'Dazzlingly definitive'
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's 700-plus page account of the gory, greedy, gut-wrenching and occasionally glorious antics of the Romanov tsars uses previously untapped archives to make Game of Thrones seem like Milly-Molly-Mandy'
'Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore dives enticingly into the world of the Russian Romanov family, the most successful dynasty of modern times, who once ruled a sixth of the world's surface. This richly multi-layered and gripping family chronicle covers the lives of 20 tsars and tsarinas, revealing a secret world of unlimited power and ruthless ambition'
'[Montefiore] reveals in marvellous detail and meticulous documentation the 300 years of Romanov dynastic survival . . . he writes so well, sometimes with a thrilling impulsion'
'A sparkling narrative full of tantrums, tsars and tiaras'
'This enthralling and gruesome book mixes sexual exploits, torture, war, betrayal and diplomacy. It partly describes how Russia morphed from miserable weakling into mighty empire. But it is mainly the story of the personalities: the cruelty of Ivan the Terrible, the unstoppable willpower of Peter the Great, and then Catherine, perhaps more deservedly "the Great" for her brains, charm, vision and sex drive. Sebag Montefiore's thesis, broadly, is that Russia's vastness leads to outsize politics: autocracy tempered by strangulation" as Madame de Stael puts it'
'It takes true historical daring to tackle such an immense subject . . . Montefiore's novelistic gift of drawing vivid characters with a few choice words never fails him . . . The main portraits are invariably memorable . . . spellbinding . . . This monumental work is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in Russian history and the doomed dynasty of Romanovs'
'Sebag Montefiore paints an unforgettable portrait of characters fascinating and charismatic, odd and odious. Magnificent palaces, elaborate balls, and a culture that produced Pushkin, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy existed alongside pogroms, torture and murder . . . Erudite and entertaining'
'Wonderfully written and fascinating down to the last footnote . . . [Montefiore's] style is polished, lively, informed . . . Montefiore is an accomplished storyteller, and what might have been a plodding succession of reigns reads instead like a novel - specifically, in its interplay of themes and motifs, and especially its pairing of opposites, like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude . . . Like a novel, too, this is a hard book to put down. As historical reconstruction and as storytelling, The Romanovs is an achievement of the first rank'
'A fascinating psychological study of this succession of megalomaniacs, madmen and mediocrities . . . He writes with knowledge and gusto'
'A rollicking look at one of the most successful - and violent - regimes in history'
'The ill-starred Romanovs are revealed in their full pomp and perversity'
'[A] joyful romp through 300 years of the dynasty's epic follies'
'A superlative history of the last royal dynasty to govern Russia, brimming with extraordinary stories of murder and torture, sex and excess, featuring madmen, monsters megalomaniacs and fanatics. This is an epic story of 300 years of high politics and low cunning - War and Peace meets Game of Thrones'
'This was a world of sibling rivalry, ruthless ambition, lurid excess and sadistic depravity; a world of impostors, false prophets, giants, freaks, wizards and nymphomaniacs. More than just a story about a dysfunctional royal family, this book is an examination of the Russian addiction to autocracy. Historians, embarrassed by Romanov excesses, often censor the truth. Not Montefiore'
'Simon Sebag Montefiore's superb The Romanovs covers the whole extraordinary three-century saga of those often ruthless libidinous and expansionist tsars in gruesome, eye-popping detail'
[Montefiore's] vivid descriptions of the savage ways of old Russia belie an immense scholarship
An absorbing history of the dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years. Along the way we meet the great, the good, the not so good and the downright appalling, who took a vast wilderness, far beyond the horizon, and turned it into a world power, until the world turned on them. Unputdownable.
A cruel history of hereditary power, by a master storyteller who lifts this unfamiliar narrative with vivid, amusing and surprising details

This meticulously researched account of Russian history from the 17th to the 20th century makes
Game Of Thrones seem staid by comparison. Beneath the astonishing wealth of historical detail
runs the constant theme of the impossible challenge, even for a dynasty of autocrats, of ruling the
'ever-expanding, multi-faith, multi-ethnic empire' that was Russia

A bravura history of the Russian imperial dynasty that does not blanch at the tales of excess that surround this often savage imperial household
It is very violent and gruesome. It made me realise that our world is a much better place than I thought
W&N

The Favourite

Ophelia Field
Authors:
Ophelia Field

Sarah Churchill, 1st Duchess of Marlborough, was the glamorous and controversial subject of hundreds of satires, newspaper articles and publications both during her lifetime and after her death. Tied to Queen Anne by an intimate friendship, Sarah hoped to wield power equal to that of a government minister. When their relationship soured, she blackmailed Anne with letters revealing their intimacy and accused her of perverting the course of national affairs by keeping lesbian favourites - including Sarah's own cousin Abigail Masham.Sarah was a compulsive and compelling writer, narrating the major events of life at Blenheim Palace and at court with herself often centre-stage. Attacked for traits that might have been applauded in a man, she was also capable of inspiring intense love and loyalty, deeply committed to her principles and to living what she believed to be a virtuous life. This biography brings Sarah Churchill's own voice, passionate and intelligent, back to life, and casts a critical eye over images of the Duchess handed down through art, history and literature. Here is an unforgettable portrait of a woman who cared intensely about how we would remember her.

Orion

Black City

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

The latest book in the internationally bestselling Erast Fandorin Mysteries seriesCrimea, 1914. When the Tzar's head of security is assassinated, Erast Fandorin is called to investigate: the killer has been overheard mentioning a 'black city' so Fandorin and his trusty companion, Masa, head to Baku, the burgeoning Russian capital of oil. But from the moment they arrive in the city - a hotbed of corruption and greed by the Caspian Sea - they realise someone is watching their every move, and they will stop at nothing to derail their investigation. Having suffered a brutal attack and with Masa's life hanging by a thread, Fandorin is forced to rely on the help of an unexpected new ally, and he begins to suspect the plot might be part of something larger - and much more sinister. With war brewing in the Balkans, a Bolsheviks strike threatening the nation's oil supply, and Europe's empires struggling to contain the threat of revolution, Fandorin must try and solve his most difficult case yet - before time runs out.An explosive, edge-of-your-seat novel, filled with intrigue, wit and Boris Akunin's unforgettable characters.(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Trapeze

The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book

Orion Spring

Wicca

Harmony Nice
Authors:
Harmony Nice

To me, Wicca will always be about experiencing the earth, working with what you can find and practicing the craft for its true meaning. It promotes equality in all and has brought me many benefits: acceptance, kindness and self-love.Harmony Nice is at the heart of a growing community of modern-day wiccans who practice natural magic to improve their own lives and the world around them. In Wicca she encourages you to explore the positive impact that ritual, meditation and embracing nature can have on your creativity, confidence and sense of self-worth.Discover how to cast spells, start your own Book of Shadows, join a coven and feel empowered to follow a path that feels good and true to you.

Orion

Written in History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

History cannot be relived, but thanks to a tradition that spans millennia, we can revisit it in the letters of the people who influenced or witnessed the moments it changed for ever. In WRITTEN IN HISTORY, acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects some of the greatest letters ever written from ancient times to the twentieth century: declarations of war, petitions for peace, diplomatic entanglements, steamy love letters and beyond. In each case, he explores the significance of each piece of correspondence and shows how letters can open a unique window to the past and the personalities of some of the greatest - and most notorious - figures in history.(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Orion

Catherine de Medici

Leonie Frieda
Authors:
Leonie Frieda

The bestselling revisionist biography of one of the great women of the 16th centuryOrphaned in infancy, Catherine de Medici was the sole legitimate heiress to the Medici family fortune. Married at fourteen to the future Henri II of France, she was constantly humiliated by his influential mistress Diane de Poitiers. When her husband died as a result of a duelling accident in Paris, Catherine was made queen regent during the short reign of her eldest son (married to Mary Queen of Scots and like many of her children he died young). When her second son became king she was the power behind the throne. She nursed dynastic ambitions, but was continually drawn into political and religious intrigues between Catholics and Protestants that plagued France for much of the later part of her life. It had always been said that she was implicated in the notorious Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, together with the king and her third son who succeeded to the throne in 1574, but was murdered. Her political influence waned, but she survived long enough to ensure the succession of her son-in-law who had married her daughter Margaret.Read by Sarah Le Fevre(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Orion

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter

Robert Hutton
Authors:
Robert Hutton

June 1940. Britain is Europe's final bastion of freedom - and Hitler's next target. But not everyone fears a Nazi invasion. In factories, offices and suburban homes are men and women determined to do all they can to hasten it.Throughout the Second World War, Britain's defence against the enemy within was Eric Roberts, a former bank clerk from Epsom. Equipped with an extraordinary ability to make people trust him, he was recruited into the shadowy world of espionage by the great spymaster Maxwell Knight. Roberts penetrated first the Communist Party and then the British Union of Fascists, before playing his greatest role for MI5 - as Hitler's man in London. Codenamed Jack King, he single-handedly built a network of hundreds of British Nazi sympathisers, with many passing secrets to him in the mistaken belief that he was a Gestapo officer. Operation Fifth Column, run by a brilliant woman scientist and a Jewish aristocrat with a sideline in bomb disposal, was kept so secret it was omitted from the reports MI5 sent to Winston Churchill. In a narrative that grips like a thriller, Robert Hutton tells the fascinating story of an operation whose existence has only recently come to light. Drawing on newly declassified documents and private family archives, Agent Jack shatters the comfortable notion that Britain could never have succumbed to fascism, and celebrates - at last - the courage of individuals who protected the country they loved at great personal risk.Read by Roger Davis(P) Orion Publishing Group 2018

W&N

All The World's A Stage

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

Eliza Altairsky-Lointaine is the toast of Moscow society, a beautiful actress in an infamous theatre troupe. The estranged wife of a descendant of Genghis Khan, her love life is as colourful as the parts she plays: her ex-husband has threatened to kill anyone who courts her. He appears to be making good on his promise. Fandorin is contacted by concerned friend - the widowed wife of Chekhov - who asks him to investigate an alarming incident involving Eliza. But when he watches Eliza on stage for the first time, he falls desperately in love . . . Can he solve the case - and win over Eliza - without attracting the attentions of the murderer he is trying to find?

W&N

Daughters of the Winter Queen

Nancy Goldstone
Authors:
Nancy Goldstone
W&N

Istanbul

Bettany Hughes
Authors:
Bettany Hughes

W&N

Titans of History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Gateway

Malafrena

Ursula K. Le Guin
Authors:
Ursula K. Le Guin
W&N

Lenin the Dictator

Victor Sebestyen
Authors:
Victor Sebestyen
W&N

Les Parisiennes

Anne Sebba
Authors:
Anne Sebba
W&N

Heyday

Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson

HEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. Over the course of the 1850s, the world was reshaped by technology, trade, mass migration and war. The global economy expanded fivefold, millions of families emigrated to the ends of the earth to carve out new lives, technology revolutionised communications, while steamships and railways cut across vast continents and oceans, shrinking the world and creating the first global age.It was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The 1850s saw the laying of the first undersea cable in 1851, the rush for gold from California to Australia, while fleets of pirate vessels docked in Hong Kong harbour, eager to take advantage of booming trade. The West's insatiable hunger for land, natural resources and new markets encouraged free trade, bold exploration and colonisation as never before. In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, the acclaimed historian Ben Wilson recreates this time of explosive energy and dizzying change, a rollercoaster ride of booms and bust, focusing on the lives of the men and women reshaping its frontiers. At the centre stands Great Britain. The country was the peak of its power as it attempted to determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people.A dazzling history of a tumultuous decade, HEYDAY reclaims an often overlooked decade that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.

W&N

Catherine the Great and Potemkin

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

'One of the great love stories of history, in a league with Napoleon and Josephine, and Antony and Cleopatra ... Excellent, with dazzling mastery of detail and literary flair' EconomistIt was history's most successful political partnership - as sensual and fiery as it was creative and visionary. Catherine the Great was a woman of notorious passion and imperial ambition. Prince Potemkin - wildly flamboyant and sublimely talented - was the love of her life and her co-ruler.Together they seized Ukraine and Crimea, defining the Russian empire to this day. Their affair was so tumultuous that they negotiated an arrangement to share power, leaving Potemkin free to love his beautiful nieces, and Catherine her young male favourites. But these 'twin souls' never stopped loving each other.Drawing on their intimate letters and vast research, Simon Sebag Montefiore's enthralling, widely acclaimed biography restores these imperial partners to their rightful place as titans of their age.

Orion

Cristiano Ronaldo

Guillem Balague
Authors:
Guillem Balague

WINNER OF FOOTBALL BOOK OF THE YEAR AT THE CROSS SPORTS BOOK AWARDS 2016CRISTIANO RONALDO is one of the greatest footballers of all time, yet for all his success on the pitch he has often been a controversial and divisive figure off it.It was clear from early on that Ronaldo had a prodigious talent. More than that, though, he only ever had one goal in mind. At the age of twelve, he left his humble origins on Madeira behind to travel to the Portuguese mainland in pursuit of his dream to become the best footballer on the planet.It wasn't long before he had the biggest clubs in Europe knocking on his door, but it was Manchester United who won the race for his signature. Under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo developed into the complete footballer and athlete, winning three league titles and a Champions League, and cementing his status as a United legend, along the way.He then became the biggest galáctico of them all when he transferred to Real Madrid for a record-breaking fee. However, he has endured a difficult relationship with managers, teammates and the fans - and with only one La Liga title and one Champions League win to his name, his time at the club has often been overshadowed by his fierce rivalry with Barcelona and Lionel Messi.Guillem Balagué, respected football journalist and expert on the Spanish game, provides the definitive account of what has made Ronaldo the player and man that he is today.

W&N

The Second World War: The Grand Alliance

Winston S. Churchill
Authors:
Winston S. Churchill
W&N

I Am Malala

Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
Authors:
Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

*Winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize*When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, 9 October 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price when she was shot in the head at point-blank range.Malala Yousafzai's extraordinary journey has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations. She has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and is the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.*****'Malala is an inspiration to girls and women all over the world' JK Rowling'Moving and illuminating' Observer'Inspirational and powerful' Grazia'Her story is astonishing' Spectator

W&N

Mary Queen Of Scots

Antonia Fraser
Authors:
Antonia Fraser