Simon Sebag Montefiore - The Romanovs - Orion Publishing Group

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The Romanovs

1613-1918

By Simon Sebag Montefiore

  • Paperback
  • £12.99

The internationally bestselling epic history 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. Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, THE ROMANOVS is at once an enthralling chronicle 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: 9781474600873
  • Publication date: 01 Feb 2017
  • Page count: 736
  • 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.

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Black City

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

The latest book in the internationally bestselling Erast Fandorin Mysteries series Crimea, 1914. When the Tzar's head of security is assassinated, 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 capital of oil. But as soon as they arrive, they are attacked and Fandorin almost drowns in an oil well. Saved by a stranger who hides him in the labyrinth of Baku's Old City, Fandorin begins to suspect the plot might be part of something larger - and much more dangerous. With war brewing in the Balkans, and Europe's empires struggling to contain the threat of revolution, Fandorin must try and solve his difficult case yet before time runs out.An explosive, edge-of-your-seat finale, filled with intrigue, wit and Boris Akunin's unforgettable characters.What readers are saying about the Erast Fandorin Mysteries:'Think Tolstoy writing James Bond with the logical rigour of Sherlock Holmes' Guardian'There's a dark twist at the end that has me anxious to continue in this series' Neil on Goodreads (five stars)'Erast Petrovich Fandorin is a man with lightning-fast reactions, a probing analytical mind and a great arsenal of concealed weaponry' Daily Telegraph'These books are a fun, riotous read that you don't want to put down' Jill on Goodreads (five stars)'Gloriously tounge-in-cheek but seriously edge-of-your-seat at the same time' Daily Express

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Written in History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

WRITTEN IN HISTORY: LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD celebrates the letter in world history and personal life. Acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects letters that have changed the course of global events or touched a timeless emotion - whether passion, rage, humour - from ancient times to the twentieth century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling, some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal and coarse. From love letters to declarations of war, ranging from Elizabeth I to Stalin, Seneca to Machiavelli, Oscar Wilde to Balzac, Rameses the Great to Gandhi, Montefiore explores the significance of each piece of correspondence and shows how letters can reveal the personalities of some of history's most fascinating figures, and in turn offer a unique perspective on the past and a relevance for today.

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All The World's A Stage

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin
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Titans of History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

NEW EDITION - FEATURING UPDATED INTRODUCTION AND NEW CHAPTERS The giant characters of history - from Mozart to Michelangelo, Shakespeare to Einstein, Henry VIII to Hitler, Catherine the Great to Margaret Thatcher, Jesus Christ to Genghis Khan ­- lived lives of astonishing drama and adventure, debauchery and slaughter, but they also formed our world and will shape our future. In this eclectic and surprising collection of short and entertaining life stories, Simon Sebag Montefiore introduces his choice of kings, empresses, sultans and conquerors, as well as prophets, explorers, artists, actresses, courtesans and psychopaths. From the ancient times, via crusades and world wars, up to the 21st century, this accessible history introduces readers to the titans who changed the world: the characters we should all know, and the stories we should never forget.

Orion

Jerusalem

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

The epic story of Jerusalem told through the lives of the men and women who created, ruled and inhabited it.Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem's biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women - kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores - who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem.Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime's study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that many believe will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice - in heaven and on earth.Read by John LeeMP3 ON CD - THIS MP3-CD CANNOT BE PLAYED ON ALL DISC PLAYERS. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ACCESS TO AN MP3 COMPATIBLE DEVICE.

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Boom

Russell Miller
Authors:
Russell Miller

Hugh 'Boom' Trenchard was embarrassed by being described as 'The Father of the Royal Air Force' - he thought others were more deserving. But the reality was that no man did more to establish the world's first independent air force and ensure its survival in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admiralty and the War Office. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school, not helped by the shame of his solicitor father's bankruptcy when he was sixteen. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, eventually obtaining a commission through the 'back door' of the militia. After service in India, South Africa - where he was seriously wounded - and Nigeria, he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912, where he was soon known as 'Boom' thanks to his stentorian voice. Quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflicts, he rose rapidly to command the RFC in France during the First World War despite handicaps that would have blighted conventional military careers: he was obstinate, tactless, inarticulate and chronically unable to remember names - yet he was able to inspire unflagging loyalty among all ranks. Despite his conspicuous distrust of politicians, he served as a successful Chief of the Air Staff for a decade after the war and then, at the personal request of the King, took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which he reorganised and reformed. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by relentless offensive action, or in his determined advocacy of strategic bombing. His most enduring legacy was the creation of the finest air force in the world, engendered with the spirit that won the Battle of Britain.

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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.

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Augustus

Adrian Goldsworthy
Authors:
Adrian Goldsworthy

'Masterly' Robert Harris, author of ImperiumCaesar Augustus schemed and fought his way to absolute power. He became Rome's first emperor and ruled for forty-four years before dying peacefully in his bed. The system he created would endure for centuries. Yet, despite his exceptional success, he is a difficult man to pin down, and far less well-known than his great-uncle, Julius Caesar. His story is not always edifying: he murdered his opponents, exiled his daughter when she failed to conform and freely made and broke alliances as he climbed ever higher. However, the peace and stability he fostered were real, and under his rule the empire prospered. Adrian Goldsworthy examines the ancient sources to understand the man and his times.

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Uncle Bill

Russell Miller
Authors:
Russell Miller
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Bolivar

Marie Arana
Authors:
Marie Arana

The dramatic life of the revolutionary hero Bolivar, who liberated South America - a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic.Simón Bolivar's life makes for one of history's most dramatic canvases, a colossal narrative filled with adventure and disaster, victory and defeat. This is the story not just of an extraordinary man but of the liberation of a continent.A larger-than-life figure from a tumultuous age, Bolívar ignited a revolution, liberated six countries from Spanish rule and is revered as the great hero of South American history. In a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic, BOLIVAR colourfully portrays this extraordinarily dramatic life. From his glorious battlefield victories to his legendary love affairs, Bolívar emerges as a man of many facets: fearless and inspiring general, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist and gifted writer.

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The Diamond Chariot

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin
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Night Soldiers

Alan Furst
Authors:
Alan Furst

'Hugely intriguing; Furst is in a class of his own' William Boyd'Competitors despair. Alan Furst's mastery of the espionage novel puts him beyond any would-be rival' Literary Review'A spy novel, a war story, an adventure, a survivor's tale, Night Soldiers is all this and more' Seattle TimesThe legendary Alan Furst, master of the historical spy novel, takes us back to the early days of the Second World War for a dramatic novel of intrigue and suspense.Bulgaria, 1934. Khristo Stoianev is recruited into an elite unit of the Soviet espionage network, after seeing his brother murdered by local fascist thugs. Bloodied and betrayed in the Spanish Civil War, he then narrowly escapes Stalin's purges. Khristo seeks oblivion in Paris, a small player on the wrong end of a social scene that is simultaneously decadent and doomed.One of the 20th century's greatest spy novels, Night Soldiers is a thrilling portrait of one man's extraordinary adventures and of Europe teetering on the brink of World War Two. A spy noir novel that will appeal to readers of John Le Carre, Charles McCarry, Henry Porter and John Lawon.Praise for the Book:'Night Soldiers has everything the best thrillers offer: excitement, intrigue, romance plus grown-up writing, characters that matter, and a crisp, carefully researched portrait of the period in which our own postwar world was shaped' USA Today'Intelligent, ambitious, absorbing' New York Times'Furst's tales are infused with the melancholy romanticism of Casablanca, and also a touch of Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon' Scotsman'America's preeminent spy novelist' New York Times'Pure pleasure to read' Kirkus

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She Lover Of Death

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

Can Fandorin infiltrate a secret society to save Moscow's youth? A dark and decadent detective story from the master of Russian crime fiction.There's been rising concern in Moscow over a wave of suicides among the city's young bohemians. An intrepid newspaper reporter, Zhemailo, begins to uncover the truth behind the phenomenon - that the victims are linked by a secret society, the Lovers of Death. But Zhemailo is not the only investigator hot on the heels of these disciples of the occult. Little do they realise that the latest 'convert' to their secret society, assuming the alias of a Japanese prince, is none other than Erast Fandorin.But when a young and naïve provincial woman, Masha Mironova, becomes embroiled in the society, and Zhemalio dies a mysterious death, Fandorin must do more than merely infiltrate and observe. Especially when the spin of the Russian roulette wheel decrees that our dashing hero be the next to die by his own hand. Can Fandorin fake his own demise, all while outwitting the cult's dastardly leader?

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He Lover of Death

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

Akunin goes noir as Fandorin meets bandits!Senka Skorikov, orphan and urchin, has been abandoned to the murky world of Moscow's gangster district. While picking a pocket or two, he glimpses the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and joins the gang of her overlord lover, The Prince, so desperate he is to meet her. Senka climbs the criminal ranks, uncovering a stash of precious metal, and gradually capturing the heart of his beloved Death - so named for the life expectancy of her lovers. But as the bandit community balks at his success on both fronts, threats on his life begin to pour in . A dandy and his 'Chinese' sidekick seem to be taking an inordinate interest in Senka's welfare, and it becomes clear that those threatening Senka are linked to a spate of murders, grizzly even by underworld standards. Fandorin must unweave a tangled web of narcotics, false identities and organised crime - but can he survive an encounter with the ever-alluring Death unscathed? Find out in the darkest Fandorin to date!

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Alan Clark: A Life in his Own Words

Alan Clark
Authors:
Alan Clark

Some of the most talked about books of recent years, Alan Clark's diaries provide a witty and irreverant insider's account of political life in Britain. Now in one volume.'From the moment the first scabrous and brilliant volume was published, people wanted more. Now they have it and they will not be disappointed... These diaries are not wonderful simply because they show a politician unafraid to say what he thinks, and refusing to suck up to those whom he represents. They are great because they show all sides of a man who was, within his complex personality, arrogant, sensitive, loyal, unfaithful, patriotic, selfish, selfless, and - at all times - completely Technicolour' Simon Heffner, DAILY MAIL

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The Death of Achilles

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin
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Hitler and Churchill

Andrew Roberts
Authors:
Andrew Roberts

'His book is timely and a triumph. Roberts manages to convey all the reader needs to know about two men to whom battalions of biographies have been devoted' EVENING STANDARDAdolf Hitler and Winston Churchill were two totally opposite leaders - both in what they stood for and in the way in which they seemed to lead. Award-winning historian Andrew Roberts examines their different styles of leadership and draws parallels with rulers from other eras. He also looks at the way Hitler and Churchill estimated each other as leaders, and how it affected the outcome of the war. In a world that is as dependent on leadership as any earlier age, HITLER AND CHURCHILL asks searching questions about our need to be led. In doing so, Andrew Roberts forces us to re-examine the way that we look at those who take decisions for us.

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The Winter Queen

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE MULTI-MILLION COPY, INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING ERAST FANDORIN MYSTERIES SERIES'A sparkling romp of a story' TLS'In Russia Boris Akunin is roughly the counterpart of John Grisham' TIME'Think Tolstoy writing James Bond with the logical rigour of Sherlock Holmes' GUARDIANMoscow 1876. A young law student commits suicide in broad daylight in Moscow's Alexander Gardens. But this is no ordinary death, for the young man was the son of an influential industrialist and has left a considerable fortune.Erast Fandorin, a hotheaded new recruit to the Criminal Investigation Department, is assigned to the case. Brilliant, young, and sophisticated, Fandorin embarks on an investigation that will take him from the palatial mansions of Moscow to the seedy backstreets of London in his hunt for the conspirators behind this mysterious death.What readers are saying about the Erast Fandorin Mysteries:'I loved it... I just couldn't put it down!' My book Obsession'A delightful mystery/adventure! There's a dark twist at the end that has me anxious to continue in this series' Neil on Goodreads (five stars)'Ultimately, the overall success of The Winter Queen is due to the vibrancy of its setting, the cleanness of its prose and the magnetism of its protagonist... Odds seem good that Akunin will be the next detective to capture readers' fancy en masse' Sarah Weinman, January Magazine 'These books are a fun, riotous read that you don't want to put down until you've completed each and every one of them' Jill on Goodreads (five stars)'The conclusion is shocking and this reader can't wait to delve into the next in the series' A Writer's Jumble'Nail-biter all the way through!' Corin on Goodreads (five stars)A page-turning delight perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and the Russian literary greats.

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The Coronation

Boris Akunin
Authors:
Boris Akunin

Fandorin returns in a swashbuckling tale of abduction and intrigue, set during the build-up to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich arrives in Moscow for the coronation, with three of his children. During an afternoon stroll, daughter Xenia is dragged away by bandits, only to be rescued by an elegant gentleman and his oriental sidekick. The passing heroes introduce themselves as Fandorin and Masa, but panic ensues when they realise that four-year old Mikhail has been snatched in the confusion.A ransom letter arrives from an international criminal demanding the handover of the Count Orlov, an enormous diamond on the royal sceptre which is due to play a part in the coronation. Can the gentleman detective find Mikhail in time?