Author(s): Simon Montefiore
Winter, 1916. In St Petersburg, snow is falling in a country on the brink of revolution. Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her role in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction. Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband and two children. Around her people are disappearing but her own family is safe. But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences. Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heart-breaking story of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism - and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice ...
In the bestselling tradition of Dr Zhivago and Sophie's Choice an epic story of revolution, passion and betrayal - and one woman whose extraordinary secret lies uncovered for half a century.
"Gripping from start to finish. The perfect mixture of sweeping history and page-turning storytelling" -- Kate Mosse, Author Of Labyrinth "Intensely moving, with an unforgettable climax that will touch the hardest heart" -- Jung Chang, Author Of Wild Swans "Furiously readable - it's hard to put Sashenka down. The glory and tragedy of her story remains long after the last page is turned" -- Thomas Keneally, Author Of Schindler's List "Intricate, fast moving... by the time I put the book down, long after midnight, I was in tears" THE TIMES 20080614 "To write a good historical novel you have to recreate that world, both physically and intellectually - and there must be a sense that history is driving the plot forwards. Montefiore succeeds on all counts... The real achievement of this novel is that it describes the profound levels of self-deception required if you wanted to stay alive and be a loyal communist in Stalin's Russia" EVENING STANDARD 20080609
Simon Montefiore's ancestors escaped from the Tsarist Empire at the turn of the century, and sparked his lifelong interest in Russia. As a correspondent in the early 1990s, he covered the wars and turbulence surrounding the fall of the Soviet Union. As a historian, he has spent the last ten years researching the Russian archives. The personal stories he found there helped inspire this novel. Born in 1965, Simon Montefiore lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.