Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
I didn’t have any massive hope when I picked this book up, thinking that since it was published some years ago, I figured some of the contents would be irrelevant or nothing new to me, but, boy, was I always wrong over and over again when I judged a book before I read it. This book is amazing! First off, don’t lead the title fool you, this book does not centre its stories only on Nicholas and Alexandra, though they were definitely the centre of attention, but it covers massively about the turmoil and the history that centres Russia before, during, and ultimately (a little bit of) the end of World War I. It also tells a bit about the history of the early Romanovs, the Russian Orthodox Church, some historical key figures during the captures of the Imperial family that we were familiar with the names but didn’t get to know more. What’s amazing was the fact that it also tells about what had become of these people after the execution of the Imperial family.
I like the fact that this book started of as trying to understand a family’s struggle in having a hemophiliac son (seeing that the writer also had a hemophiliac son), it expands beautifully into a weave of intricate piece of history. The story-telling was very smooth, that at some point I thought I was reading a novel instead of a history book. It also puts Empress Alexandra in a light that everyone at that time seen her, but reading about in this new century it still brought question about her true nature in the last years before the Tsar’s abdication. And true to every story about this particular Imperial family, there will always be a story about the ever mysterious figure of Rasputin. People perceive him as this evil looming figure of the downfall of the Romanov dynasty, but at the same time he was surrounded by this huge shroud of mystery that even today no one can definitely say for sure of his true nature. Not to mention his last letter to the Tsar before his murder, whatever does that mean? No one will know for sure. Luckily for me, the author took the time in telling Rasputin layer by layer while still leaving it up to the reader what to make of Rasputin’s role in Russia.
For me personally, though he may not be the Man of God that the Empress see him to be, he definitely was not that cunning in trying to actually bring the dynasty down for political reason.