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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.

About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore's bestselling, prize-winning books are now published in 48 languages. He has won prizes for both fiction and non-fiction.

Dr Montefiore's latest history book is 'The Romanovs 1613-1918', out in paperback. 'The Romanovs' has been a bestseller in many countries across the world including UK, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and the USA, where it was on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 8 weeks...

His new novel 'Red Sky at Noon' comes out in the USA in January. This completes the Moscow Trilogy of novels, the story of a family set in 20th Century Russia from WW1 to the Nineties, from the age of Revolution through Stalin's terror and WW2. The trilogy is made up of 'Sashenka' and 'One Night in Winter' which won the Best Political Novel of the Year Prize in Britain and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize. Each of the novels, published in 27 languages, stands alone and can be read in any order.

'Catherine the Great Potemkin' was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper, and Marsh Biography Prizes. 'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar' won the History Book of the Year Prize, British Book Awards. 'Young Stalin' won LA Times Book Prize for Biography (USA) , the Costa Biography Award (UK) , the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria) and Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) . Both Stalin biographies were bestsellers internationally. 'Jerusalem: the Biography' won the Book of the Year Prize in the USA from Jewish Book Council and was a Sunday Times number one non-fiction bestseller in the UK. 'The Romanovs' won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Literature Prize (Italy) .

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor at Buckingham University, he is the presenter of several BBC tv series, Jerusalem(2011) ; Rome (2012) and Istanbul/Constantinople -'Byzantium: a tale of 3 cities'(2013) ; "Blood and Gold" Spain (2015) ; "Vienna: empire dynasty dream" (2016) . He was educated at Harrow School and Caius College, Cambridge University where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy.
Twitter: @simonmontefiore
For more information: www. simonsebagmontefiore.com

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