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.
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: May 2016
From the cover
THE LAST OF THE RURIKID TSARS
IVAN THE TERRIBLE 1547–84
Anastasia Romanovna Zakharina-Yurieva, his first tsarina
Ivan Ivanovich, their eldest son and heir, murdered by his father
FYODOR I, their second son, tsar 1584–98
Dmitri Ivanovich, Ivan the Terrible's last son, mysteriously killed. Identity assumed by three impostors, the False Dmitris
THE TIME OF TROUBLES: tsars and pretenders
BORIS GODUNOV, tsar 1598–1605
THE FALSE DMITRI, tsar 1605–6
VASILY SHUISKY, tsar 1606–10
Second False Dmitri, known as the "Brigand of Tushino"
Ivan Dmitrievich, the "Baby Brigand"
Marina Mniszech, daughter of a Polish nobleman, wife of the First False Dmitri, Second False Dmitri and Ivan Zarutsky, mother of the Baby Brigand, known as "Marinka the Witch"
Prince Dmitri Pozharsky, hero of the resistance
Kuzma Minin, merchant of Nizhny Novgorod, leader of the resistance
Prince Dmitri Trubetskoi, aristocrat and leader of Cossacks
King Sigismund III of Poland
Prince Władysław of Poland, later king
Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden
THE FIRST OF THE ROMANOVS
Nikita Romanovich Zakharin-Yuriev, brother of Anastasia, first wife of Ivan the Terrible
His son Fyodor Nikitich Romanov, later the priest Filaret
Ksenia Shestova, later the Nun Martha, Fyodor's wife
Their son, MICHAEL, the first Romanov tsar, 1613–45
Ivan Romanov, Fyodor's brother, Michael's uncle, boyar
Anna Khlopova, Michael's first fiancée
Maria Dolgorukaya, his first wife
Eudoxia Streshneva, his second wife
Irina, tsarevna, daughter of Michael and Eudoxia
ALEXEI, son and heir of Michael and Eudoxia, tsar 1645–76
COURTIERS: ministers etc.
Fyodor Sheremetev, Romanov cousin, boyar and chief minister
Mikhail Saltykov, Romanov cousin, royal cupbearer and armsbearer
Prince Ivan Cherkassky, Romanov cousin of Circassian descent, boyar
Prince Dmitri Cherkassky, Romanov cousin of Circassian descent, boyar
Prince Dmitri Pozharsky, patriotic warlord, later boyar and chief commander
Prince Dmitri Trubetskoi, aristocrat and Cossack warlord, candidate for tsar
Michael was in no rush to proceed to Moscow, but Moscow was desperate for him to arrive. In the civil war, the contestants for supremacy—aristocratic magnates, foreign kings, Cossack chieftains, impostors and adventurers—had fought their way towards Moscow, hungry to seize the crown. But Michael Romanov and the Nun Martha were unenthusiastic. There has never been a more miserable, whining and melancholic procession to a throne. But the plight of Russia early in 1613 was dire, its trauma dystopian. The territory between Kostroma and Moscow was dangerous; Michael would pass through villages where dead bodies lay strewn in the streets. Russia was far smaller than the Russian Federation today; its border with Sweden in the north was close to Novgorod, that with Poland–Lithuania close to Smolensk, much of Siberia in the east was unconquered, and most of the south was still the territory of the khanate of the Tatars. But it was still a vast territory with around 14 million people, compared to about 4 million in England at the time. Yet Russia had almost disintegrated; famine and war had culled its population; the Poles were still hunting the boy-tsar; Swedish and Polish–Lithuanian armies were massing to advance into Russia; Cossack warlords ruled swathes of...