Alexei Romanov, heir to the Russian throne, is in deadly danger.
It�s 1916, the struggling Russian people are tired of war and are blaming their Romanov rulers for it, and some are secretly plotting to murder the young heir and his family. But nobody outside the palace knows that Alexei suffers from a terrible bleeding disease, hemophilia, which threatens to finish him off even before the family�s enemies can. The only person able to help Alexei is the evil and powerful religious mystic Rasputin -- and now Rasputin is trying to kill him too! Desperate, Alexei flees through time to New York City in 2010, using a method taught to him by the mad monk himself.
In New York, Alexei meets smart and sassy Varda Rosenberg, and discovers she is a distant cousin. Varda is working on a gene therapy cure for hemophilia, as the disease still runs in the family. When Alexei learns that history shows that his entire family will be assassinated in 1918, he and Varda travel back in time to the Russian Revolution, with Rasputin hot on their heels. Will they be able to rescue Alexei�s family before it�s too late?
Staton Rabin lets Alexei tell his own riveting story in a rousing adventure with stunning surprises -- a movingly authentic look at royalty and revolution in the days of the tsars.
Rabin's story takes a while to hit its stride, but once it does it becomes a fine historical time-travel adventure. The year is 1916 and 12-year-old Alexei Romanov is the last heir to the Russian throne; he is also a hemophiliac, kept under lock and key by his reigning parents and given unconventional medical treatments by the "Mad Monk" Rasputin. The monk's dark side emerges, and he is killed for his treachery. But he doesn't stay dead, returning to attack Alexei; when the young heir awakens, he finds himself in New York in the year 2010, where he meets 15-year-old Varda, a young scientist working on a cure for hemophilia. While attending school with Varda, Alexei learns that his whole family will be killed in 1918; the increasingly frightening Rasputin turns up in New York, too, and Alexei and Varda jump back to 1918, just days prior to the execution of the royal family. There are only a few moments of fish-out-of-water humor, but they are priceless, if perhaps dated for the year 2010. ("Captain Underpants? Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Lots of pants. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That one must be about revolution," Alexei quips.) The book ends with a clever twist explaining why Alexei's bones were never found and features a lengthy set of endnotes about Russian history, the Romanov family and hemophilia. This is a great trip for lovers of historical fiction. Ages 12-up. (July)
Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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1 . A good read for juveniles
Posted August 13, 2010 by Judy , OhioThis book started off interestingly enough. But when the two main characters meet in the future the style suddenly changes from adult to juvenile. The female lead has science equipment and knowledge that a fifteen year would not have. The author should have included scientific facts to support where the plot line was going. It makes me think he was too lazy to use anything but his imagination. Character development is greatly lacking in the character Varga. It simply lost any believability. When the story jumps to the future the style of writing changes as if someone else is now writing the story.
Margaret K. McElderry Books
July 08, 2007
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Excerpt from The Curse of the Romanovs by Staton Rabin
CHAPTER ONE Spala, Poland, 1912(Four years ago) "Mama! mama! -- it hurts! Please, God! Mama, come kill me!" Three hundred years of my dead Romanov relatives crowded around my bedside, staring into my bloodless pale face, wagging their ghostly heads with concern. Great-grandpa Alexander -- missing a leg from the assassin's bomb -- held out his bloody arms to me in welcome. Peter the Great beckoned slowly, slowly, inviting me into the land of death. There was Ivan the Terrible, a pointy-toothed skull, grinning as if he'd love my company -- in hell. "Yes, Alyosha," he hissed into my ear. "Wouldn't it be better for all to just let go? Your poor mother's hair is turning gray. Your father worries, your sisters, too. Just let go. It's so easy. So easy..." My eyes grew heavy. The icon lamps around my bed flickered and faded. The light within my heart was flickering, fading, too. Why, why didn't they call Our Friend in time to save me? Why? Where are you, Father Grigory! So tired, so tired... Just let go, let go.Yes, Uncle Ivan, wouldn't it be better for all?I rolled to one side and let out a last sigh. A sudden lightning bolt of pain shot through my leg. Like marbles forced through my small veins. Yanking me, jolting me rudely back to the world of the living. And then I screamed. A milkman's horse all the way in Tobolsk pricked up his ears at the sound. Anxious clicking of shoes came down the hall. My mother burst through the door. The whites of her eyes red like borscht. Eyes staring at me in horror, ringed by the black of a thousand sleepness nights. "God forgive me, baby!" she said, stuffing rags the color of snow into my mouth, muffling my screams. You may think my mother cruel. But she was only protecting me. I shall explain. This will take time. I am not the author Chekhov, paid fifteen kopecks per line! You will have patience because I command it. I was born in 1904, and on mynynokthe fate of Mother Russia was written. At six weeks of age I bled at the spot where I had once been joined to my mother. I bled, and I didn't stop bleeding. Dr. Botkin was called. He peered at mynynokover his pince-nez, as though examining a strange new purple fruit. "It's the same thing that killed my dear Frittie, isn't it?" my mama must have said, her skin turning gray like ashes from the fireplace. "The bleeding disease." Frittie was her brother, who got hemophilia from my Grandma Alice. Who got it from her mother, Queen Victoria of England. "I have not seen this myself before. But...yes, I'm afraid so. It can only be hemophilia," the doctor said. And it was at that moment that I became my family's biggest secret. What a difference from the day I was born! Not every boy is greeted into this world by the firing of 301 guns and a whole country's rejoicing. And not every boy is given his own army regiment to command the moment he pops out of the womb. But not every boy is Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, the future tsar of all the Russias, my family's precious Fabergé jewel, born after my sisters: four useless lumps of coal we call Olga, Tatiana, Mashka, and Anastasia. How my mama tried to have a boy! First they visited Mitka the Fool -- babbling, in rags, naked. Mama's belly was already round. Mitka gave her a potion, made from special mushrooms that make the eyes see angels' halos. Mumble, mumble. "What did he say?" Mama whispered to Papa. "I think he said, 'You'll have a boy.'" "Lovey -- Lovey, you really think so?" She often calls him "Lovey." "It's hard to say...." But Mama had another girl. Next there was the witch, Daria Osipova. She writhed on the floor as if she had ants in her drawers. She gave Mama another potion: ramson, thorn apple, witch's grass. Mama drank, holding her nose. The room spun round in bright colors. "Now swim in the river during a storm," Osipova advi