Author(s): Simon Sebag Montefiore
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.
A gripping narrative history of Russia's imperial dynasty.
'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 '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 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 '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 '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 '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 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 A glorious history of the Romanov dynasty bursting with blood, sex and tears -- Peter Frankopan DAILY TELEGRAPH 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 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 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
Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prizewinning historian whose bestselling books have been published in over forty 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 Prize, LA Times Biography Prize and Le Grand Prix de Biographie; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY was a number one bestseller. Montefiore is the also author of the acclaimed novels SASHENKA and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER. 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