A really spellbinding read. You won't be disappointed. It also gives you insight as to what might have happened to Ana and how the family must have felt, and those guarding them. If you've ever had any interest in the Tsars, I suggest you read this.
This was a very suspenseful and sympathetic tale that focused on the last months of the Romanovs' lives. The kitchen boy reflects on his role in the assassination of the Romanovs, on how he failed them, and what really happened to the two youngest Romanov children. While largely a tale of fiction, the author has made the book as accurate as possible, including actual notes and events from the House of Special Purpose. The book is further enhanced by visiting the author's website, where he has many photos and a reader's guide to the book.
This book really surprised me. At first, I couldn't get into it. I kept forcing myself to open it and read more. But then, the twist that the story took towards the end was completelly unexpected. One thing that irritated me was the use of Russian words (and I say that as a person who speaks and reads Russian). I thought that there were way too many of them. Much more than the story called for.
I liked this book very much especially how it is told through the eyes of the kitchen boy. The murder scene was horrific and very sad, I kept secretely hoping the family would be saved even though I knew they would'nt be. The surprise at the end was very nice, I did not see that coming. This is the kind of book that makes me wish I was in a book club so I that I would have lots of people to talk about it with.
The Russian imperial family under house arrest, hidden jewels, tangled conspiracies, hidden witnesses. A fairly short novel, and a fast read, but the story was engrossing, and I did not figure out the twists and turns until the end.
This is an educational read but it's about as interesting as a book written about the tsar in exile can be. The main chunk of it is monotonous...as I am sure exile is. The ending is appalling and has quite the turn that yanks the rug from under your feet. If you read it be sure to read the epilogue or you'll miss something very important.
A nice look at Russian culture, to be sure.
Very interesting book. You know what is going to happen from the beginning, so you read with anticipation. Much like watching a car accident. You don't want to see it but can't look away. Well done. It has made me want to read actual accounts of Russia during that time. Can't wait for my bookclub discussion.
Fascinating work of historical fiction about the last days of the Romanov family seen through the eyes of their kitchen boy, who was imprisoned with them. Involving, sympathetic characters. Very well written, a quick read that I think anyone with an interest in history would enjoy. Actual existing documents woven skillfully into the story. I highly recommend this book!
The novel is hard to take because you know the outcome of the Romanov family...but do you? This is the story of an innocent boy swept up in the need to help the imprisoned Romanovs who have been toppled from power and are being held by the Reds. He has an overwhelming need to serve them while at the same time attempt to help them...but all is not what it seems. You don't see the end coming.
This is a great read for anyone interested in the Romanovs' final days and life during the Bolshevik Revolution. It details their days through the eyes of their young kitchen boy. Even though we know what happened to the Tsar and his family, I wanted to keep reading to see what happened next. The last two chapters of the book, especially, will keep you on the edge your seat!
This is a fictional interpretation/rendition of the mysterious last days of Tsar Nicholas and his tragic end. This is a fast read that will entertain you before you get too bored. There's a twist at the end that doesn't *quite* fit in with the entire story (who exactly is The Voice of the kitchen boy?) so if you dislike loose ends in stories, you won't like this book. Personally, I was more distracted (and annoyed) by the author's attempt to sound like Dostoyevsky.
I have always been fascinated by the story of the Czar and his family, and I had high hopes for this book. I've tried reading it twice now and just can't get into it at all. I'm posting it for someone else to try.
This story is told from the perspective of the Romanov family's young kitchen boy. Actually that's not quite right. It's told as a audio-recording of a man in his 90s who knows he will soon die and wants his granddaughter to know what really happened to the Romanov family. He reflects on his time with the Romanov family and how he feels that he was ultimately the one to blame for their deaths. The author paints a detailed picture about what those final days may have been like using historical sources as reference points (letters, diary entries, etc). You get a sense of the Romanov family as real people experiencing fear in their situation and love of their family, not as aloof royals. I just wish the daughters were fleshed out a bit more; they seemed more or less interchangeable throughout the story.
One thing that I really liked about this book is that it wasn't totally predicable. The author would lead you to believe one thing, and just when you think you have it figured out, BOOM...you are led in a totally different direction. All you are really certain of is that nothing is probably as it seems and that there is a lie or two somewhere in there. In fact, I thought I had it all figured out and in the last few pages, I was in for a surprise! As this was written before the 2008 discovery of the remaining two Romanov bodies (which by the way, how did I miss that in the news!), it does give an interesting account as to what may have happened to the missing two Romanovs that weren't found in the family grave. All in all, this was a quick and compelling read! I highly recommend it! :-)
A great "alternative" ending story about the demise of the Romanov family as told thru the eyes of the only servant purported to survive the basement slaughter in that troubled year of 1918. Using actual surviving letters to and from the Romanovs, author Robert Alexander paints a picture of a possible conspiracy to free the family before the fatal night of their horrifying murders and disrespectful "burials".
In the end all is revealed as the"story within a story" unravels and Kate discovers the true part her grandparents played in that fateful night.
This is a wonderful addition to all the Romanov biographies and conspiracy theory books out there and sits in opposition to the popular Princess Anastasia as possible survivor theory.
I expected and wanted to like this novel. I had been looking forward to reading it for some time. Ultimately, though, it failed for me.
Essentially, the majority of the story is contrived to support a surprise ending. As a result, the narrative voice is neither consistent nor credible: it comes off as romanticized and overly sentimental much of the time; on other occasions, we get forced explanations like this: Even though I had been removed from the House of Special Purpose, I have read so many eyewitness accounts and studied so many documents, that in my minds eye I can picture it all as if it were a movie. (This, of course, is followed by a description of events that the narrator at the time didn't actually see.) Some readers may be willing to forgive 200 pages of maudlin perspective punctuated by the aforementioned lapses because the ending justifies all of this. To my mind, however, the storytelling simply lacks finesse. I doubt I will ever read another book by this writer.
The Kitchen Boy tells the story of the last living witness to the events of July 16, 1918, at the "House of Special Purpose," when the Bolsheviks murdered the last Russian tsar and his family. Now an old man, Misha reveals his secrets in a tape recording meant for his granddaughter, describing the relationships he forged with the royal family and what he saw during the terrible night they were massacred.
I enjoyed reading this book, but I'm still struggling with the ending. Alexander's big twist caught me completely by surprise, but I thought he pushed its believabily a bit too far. I'm not sure he played fair with the reader. However, I liked this book enough to read his other novels.
Great read - if you love historical novels, you will eat this up! All the drama and tragedy of the last days of the Romanovs as they lived in exile before their murders.
This is indeed a very humanizing look at the life of the Tsar and Tsarina and their children as told through the voice of one of their servants. It is quick read but you will find yourself going to the internet to look up more and more on this tragedy.
This is a wonderful story and I did enjoy it. However, I did not think the plot was believable. I try to see if I can see how the author is developing the story and in this one, I was right on. Liked Alexander's Rasputin's Daughter better.
Creatively told story of the last several weeks of the Romanovs as a "what if" story as seen through the eyes of their kitchen servant, Leonka. Equally touching and horrific throughout, I would definitely read more books by Mr. Alexander.
I think that this book may have been written for young adults, but I did enjoy reading it. It is another explanation of the deaths of the entire royal Russian family at the hands of the Bolsheviks. It paints a very clear picture of the royals and their time under capture. I would recommend it to anyone with a little background in the subject.
I really liked this book. Of course it was written as a novel, but was so true to the facts we know. It was well written and the story was very good. It also had a surprise ending which I thought was great. If you like Russian history its well worth the read.
This was a good read although a bit slow at times. The author does a good job of making a historical event suspenseful. Even though you know what happened in history, he is still able to give the story a surprising twist at the end.
This was a good book about the last days of the Romanovs. I've always been interested in Nicholas and Alexandra and their fall partially secondary to their hemophiliac son. There is a bit of a mystery thrown into the book to keep one guessing on the outcome. Worth a read
Pretty much everyone knows the story of the Romanov dynasty and how it ended tragically, or has at least some idea of the mystery surrounding Anastasia for most of the last century.
Having not read anything from this period before it was quite interesting and Im glad I took the chance on it. This book was well researched and took some great risks as it explored a survival theory.
While the pacing of the novel was a little slow at times, the ending was amazing and it will BLOW YOUR MIND!! I thought I knew how things were going to end, but I was so far off it was ridiculous.
I learned a lot of things about this era and am going to have to do more research to find out if things in the novel were really true. I find it hard to believe that a family who were basically being held prisoner by rebels would have been so accommodating and good natured. I may have a new favorite genre.
There are some very gruesome scenes near the end of the book, which should be expected considering the circumstances. However, if are disinclined to very descriptive, graphic scenes, you would probably want to skip those scenes. I was a little shocked by the descriptions, and I was expecting the outcome. However, I would read more about the Romanovs as well as more from this author.
Everyone thinks they know this story-and though this is fiction, it still raises more questions. Well written, easy to read (except for some of those Russian names!)-I read this quickly. History majors may not enjoy the poetic license the author has used, but I found it fascinating.
This is an amazingly quick and fascinating read. Though it is a novel, the author has drawn upon a great deal of historical documents and other facts to make the story as realistic as possible. The author does sprinkle in some basic Russian words in the dialogue -- greetings, "thank you", etc, and I did not find this as distracting as some reviewers did; rather, I felt they added to the atmosphere of the story. The ending is quite intriguing -- just as you're smugly thinking to yourself, "I know where this is going and how it ends", everything changes in a plot twist literally in the last 2 pages of the book. There are some necessary yet gruesome details on the deaths of the Romanovs, which may be upsetting to some readers, but this is otherwise a highly recommended read for fans of historical fiction, Russian history or the Tsars.
No one really knows what happened to the Last Czar of Russia, although there is lots of speculation and legendizing surrounding their mysterious abdication and disappearances. This novel -- written from the perspective of one of the servants of the family, is the story of the family's last days in exile and a plausible explanation of how they met their end. It is an interesting book, sprinkled with enough true facts to make it quite believable.
Really?!? Millions of Russians died of starvation and war due to the negligence and stupidity of their ruler, yet we're supposed to be "horrified" that the "entire" royal family was wiped out? Granted, all those peasants weren't as cute as the Tsarivich, but I think obsessing on this is misplacing your energy.
This fictional account of the last days of the Romanov family of Russia gives a glimpse of what the royal family members were really like set in the background of the Bolshevik revolution. The story is told by an aging man in Chicago who is re-living his days as the kitchen boy for the Tsars family who was kept with the family in their exile.
Although the horrific ending of the book and what occurs on July 16, 1918 is already known, the author creates an interest in the characters and creates some suspense of what happens to two of the family members on that fateful night and how he got to America and became a wealthy man.
Even though the fictional twist at the end of the story is improbable, the author stuck close to most of the historical facts and I highly recommend this book. It piqued my interest in this facet of Russian history and caused me to look up all kinds of facts. To me, that is a sign of a good historical fiction book.
Ever since high school World History class I have been fascinated with the tragic story of the Romanovs, the last tsar of Russia and his family. In the last several years, I have become quite a fan of historical fiction and have devoured book after book about Tudor Eng...land. Enter The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander. This book was practically written for me. I loved every minute of reading this book. It's rich in actual history and I learned several new things that I'd not known before. The fictional part of the story was incredible as well. Highly recommended; two enthusiastic thumbs up!
The kitchen boy in question works in the house of the Romanov family during the days before their murder. The writing is fine and the story well-told. I like historical fiction if it's really great, but this one wasn't very interesting to me. It seemed a little over romanticized or maybe I'm just tired of hearing speculation about what happened to the daughter who supposedly escaped. It wasn't bad.
I love Russian history and this slim but content heavy novel fit right in. Reading along, thinking I knew where it was going, surprised by the turns and outcome, I have to say this was as entertaining and enlightening as I could ever hope on the events that lead up to fate of the last Russian czar and family. I'd recommend to anyone who has ever wondered... what really happened?
Just try to remember: It's a NOVEL.