I bought this book whilst on holiday this summer- and absolutely loved it!
After her father's death, young Nina Ivanovna has to flee her home to escape an unwanted marriage to the manipulative lawyer in charge of her estates. With her, she takes a mysterious dagger with a beautiful, jewel encrusted handle. She travels to St Petersburg in the hope of finding an old family friend who will help her. However, the St Petersburg she finds is a restless, dangerous place, poised on the edge of revolution.
Drawn into the royal circle, Nina meets the monk, Rasputin, who wields power over the royal family and discovers that he has a dagger to pair her own. Dragged into the political turmoil from both sides of the divide, Nina must navigate her way carefully if she is to survive.
Set against a backdrop of what is arguably one of the most fascinating periods of history, this book brings to life the events of the Russian Revolution which happened a hundred years ago this year. Invented characters mingle with figures from history brilliantly, making the novel an excellent introduction to the time.
Although set in history, 'The Rasputin Dagger' is also a love story, coloured with traditional folk tales. Nina and Stefan, the young, idealistic medical student she comes to know and care for, are characters who engage the reader from the start and enable us to understand more about the political situation of the time as we see events unfold through their eyes. Theresa Breslin allows us to feel empathy for the Romanovs in their gilded cage, trapped by history and circumstance, yet fury at their lack of willingness to bend or compromise. Their bravery at the end, however, is never in question.
'The Rasputin Dagger' is a skilfully written, compelling historical adventure, steeped in history. I loved it!
The Rasputin Dagger Theresa Breslin
Corgi Children's ISBN: 978-0552565257