From the author of the national bestseller The Kitchen Boycomes a gripping historical novel about imperial Russias most notorious figure Called brilliant by USA Today, Robert Alexanders historical novel The Kitchen Boyswept readers back to the doomed world of the Romanovs. His latest masterpiece once again conjures those turbulent days in a fictional drama of extraordinary depth and suspense. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Maria Rasputin eldest of the Rasputin children recounts her infamous fathers final days, building a breathless narrative of intrigue, excess, and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of her fathers end and the identity of those who arranged it. What emerges is a nail-biting, richly textured new take on one of historys most legendary episodes.
In an endeavor similar to his debut novel, The Kitchen Boy, Alexander couples extensive research and poetic license, this time turning his enthusiasm toward perhaps the most intriguing player in the collapse of the Russian dynasty: Rasputin. This eyebrow-raising account of the final week of the notorious mystic's life is set in Petrograd in December 1916 and narrated by Rasputin's fiery teenage daughter, Maria. The air in the newly renamed capital is thick with dangerous rumors, many concerning Maria's father, whose close relationship with the monarchy--he alone can stop the bleeding of the hemophiliac heir to the throne--invokes murderous rage among members of the royal family. Maria is determined to protect her father's life, but the further she delves into his affairs, the more she wonders: who, exactly, is Rasputin? Is he the holy man whose genuine ability to heal inspires a cult of awed penitents, or the libidinous drunkard who consumes 12 bottles of Madeira in a single night, the unrestrained animal she spies "[eagerly] holding [the] housekeeper by her soft parts"? Does this unruly behavior link him to an outlawed sect that believes sin overcomes sin? The combination of Alexander's research and his rich characterizations produces an engaging historical fiction that offers a Rasputin who is neither beast nor saint, but merely, compellingly human. (Jan.)
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . boring
Posted January 19, 2009 by mary , valencia, spainIf only I could return this book! Perhaps I was expecting too much since it was touted as a historical novel. The narrator of the story is Rasputin's daughter and she sounds like she's twelve years old. It is boring and superficial.
2 . Wonderful
Posted December 16, 2008 by Kathy , Cottonwood HieghtsAgain Robert Alexander has brought to life an enchanting story. Rasputin's daughter was very brave and endured so much. This book has wonderful detail and plot. I enjoyed it very much.
January 18, 2006
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Excerpt from Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander
One week before Rasputin's murder
It was past eleven in the evening when the telephone rang in our apartment, which wasn't that unusual because people were always in need of Papa's help, and in our city, the city of Peter, clocks had never made sense. Though we were fast approaching the lowest point in the year and the day's light had been barely more than an indifferent blink, sleep for all of us was elusive.
Still wearing my favorite blue dress, I was sitting on the bed, Pushkin's Evgeni Onegin and Bely's Peterburg by my side. But instead of reading these famous poets, I was captured by a new one, Marina Tsvetayeva, who a few years earlier had achieved my dream of publishing a book when she was just eighteen. Several of my small pieces had already been set in type, but would I ever write enough poems to fill an entire book?
As the phone rang a second and a third time, I glanced at my young sister, Varvara, who was dozing fitfully on the other half of the bed we shared, her head buried beneath a lumpy down pillow. When the telephone continued its shrill noise, I pushed aside my books and in my stocking feet hurried from our small bedroom into the hall. Where was our maid, Dunya, and why wasn't she answering? Many people assumed that because of our royal connections, we lived a grand life, rich in material goods and waited on hand and foot, but that was not so. Our third-floor apartment at 64 Goroxhovaya Street, just a block from the Fontanka River, was, to the surprise of many, a mere five rooms--our salon, the dining room, Papa's study, his bedroom, and Varvara's and my room--that was it besides the bath and the kitchen. And none of our rooms in this five-story brick building was grand. Even our neighbors were rather ordinary. Katya, who lived upstairs in Flat 31, was a seamstress. There were also a clerk and a kind masseuse, Utilia, who often complained that Papa bothered her for affection.