Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Kitchen Boy
I don't know particularly why, but the story of the fall of the Romanov family in 1918 during the Bolshevik revolution has fascinated me for years. The life and death of the last Russian Tsar, Nikolas II, is one of the most compelling period in history in at least the last thousand years. Hollywood could not come up with a more memorable and terrifying script.
Numerous legends and conspiracies surround the deaths of the Tsar and his family. All that is known is how brutal and horrendous the events occurred at the hands of the Bolsheviks. However, when the bodies were finally uncovered close to seventy-five years later, two of the children's' bodies were missing. So the questions and conspiracy theories arose: did the children survive, were there witnesses besides the executioners themselves?
Questions about the where-abouts of the Romanov children led to the writing of this historical-fiction about the last days of the Romanov family. In Tsaritsa Alexandra's diary, she notes that the day before the family was executed, their trusted kitchen boy was sent away for good for unknown reasons. And it is the account of this kitchen boy's last days with the Romanovs that author Robert Alexander bases his novel on.
Through the eyes of the kitchen boy, Leonka, we learn of the factual bonds between the members of the Romanov family. One can't help but develop a strong sympathy for their plight, no matter how self-inflicted it was. You especially feel for the children, especially because of their faith and innocence.
I cannot divulge to much about the book besides what is already known in reference books. What I can say is that Robert Alexander masterfully brings the reader into the lives of the Romanovs, allowing us to (in a fictional way) get to know a family that was secluded and helps us to develop a relationship with them.
This is a book I recommend for anyone.