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The Romanovs

The Romanovs

Author: Simon Sebag Montefiore

Pages: 784

Edition: Hardcover

List Price: $35

Published: May, 2016

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 9780307266521

Highest rank: #12 on 21st, May 2016

First entered: 7th, May 2016

Number of weeks: 7

Book Summary

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface for three centuries. 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. Simon Sebag 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, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin, to Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Lenin.

To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. 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 afterward), enjoyed affairs with a series of young male favorites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul I was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who in turn 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 composed by a ruler. The Romanovs climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution—and the harrowing massacre of the entire family.

Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs—male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts—blazingly to life. Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, encompassing the seminal years 1812, 1914 and 1917, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.

Authors


Simon Sebag Montefiore

Name: Simon Sebag Montefiore

Hometown: London

About the author:

Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the prize winning books Jerusalem: the Biography' and Young Stalin and the novels Sashenka and now One Night in Winter. His books are published in over 40 languages and are worldwide bestsellers. He read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD).

The novel One Night in Winter is out now in the UK (5 September 2013) and in the USA in May 2014.

Buy in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Winter-...

"A thrilling work of fiction. Montefiore weaves a tight, satisfying plot, delivering surprises to the last page. Stalin's chilling charisma is brilliantly realised. The novel's theme is Love: family love, youthful romance, adulterous passion. One Night in Winter is full of redemptive love and inner freedom." Evening Standard

"Gripping and cleverly plotted. Doomed love at the heart of a violent society is the heart of Montefiore's One Night in Winter... depicting the Kafkaesque labyrinth into which the victims stumble." The Sunday Times

"Compulsively involving. Our fear for the children keeps up turning the pages... We follow the passions with sympathy... The knot of events tugs at a wide range of emotions rarely experienced outside an intimate tyranny." The Times

"The novel is hugely romantic. His ease with the setting and historical characters is masterly. The book maintains a tense pace. Uniquely terrifying. Heartrending. Engrossing. " The Scotsman

“Delicately plotted and buried within a layered, elliptical narrative, One Night in Winter is also a fidgety page-turner which adroitly weaves a huge cast of characters into an arcane world.” Time Out

“A novel full of passion, conspiracy, hope, despair, suffering and redemption, it transcends boundaries of genre, being at once thriller and political drama, horror and romance. His ability to paint Stalin in such a way to make the reader quake with fire is matched by talent for creating truly heartbreaking characters: the children who find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy, the parents…. A gripping read and must surely be one of the best novels of 2013. NY Journal of Books

"Not just a thumpingly good read, but also essentially a story of human fragility and passions, albeit taking place under the intimidating shadow of a massive Stalinist portico." The National

"Seriously good fun... the Soviet march on Berlin, nightmarish drinking games at Stalin's countryhouse, the magnificence of the Bolshoi, interrogations, snow, sex and exile... lust adultery and romance. Eminently readable and strangely affecting." Sunday Telegraph

" "Hopelessly romantic and hopelessly moving. A mix of lovestory thriller and historical fiction. Engrossing." The Observer

“Gripping. Montefiore’s characters snare our sympathy and we follow them avidly. This intricate at times disturbing, always absorbing novel entertains and disturbs and seethes with moral complexity. Characters real+fictitious ring strikingly true.It is to a large extent Tolstoyan …..” The Australian

Enthralling. Montefiore writes brilliantly about Love - from teenage romance to the grand passion of adultery. Readers of Sebastian Faulks and Hilary Mantel will lap this up. A historical novel that builds into a nail-biting drama … a world that resembles… Edith Wharton with the death penalty.” Novel of the Week. Mail on Sunday

"A gripping thriller about private life and poetic dreams in Stalin's Soviet state...a darkly enjoyable read" The Guardian

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