Tsarina

Tsarina : 'Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme' - Daisy Goodwin

3.93 (361 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Alpsten's colourful narrative does full justice to her extraordinary career' Sunday Times

'With its sprawling canvas and huge cast ... it's an entertaining romp through the endless intrigue, violence and debauchery of court life' Mail on Sunday

'A vivid page-turner of a debut' The Times

'The extraordinary life and career of Catherine I of Russia is brought to life in Alpsten's colourful novel' Sunday Times, Summer Reading Picks 2020

Lover. Murderer. Mother. Meet TSARINA, the most powerful woman history ever forgot.

Spring 1699: Illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of fifteen, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run.


A world away, Russia's young ruler, Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Tsardom of Russia into a modern, Western empire. Countless lives will be lost in the process.


Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia. But her rise to the top is ridden with peril; how long will she survive the machinations of Peter's court, and more importantly, Peter himself?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 39mm | 868g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526606410
  • 9781526606419
  • 15,279

Review quote

With its sprawling canvas and huge cast ... it's an entertaining romp through the endless intrigue, violence and debauchery of court life * Mail on Sunday * A vivid page-turner of a debut * The Times * Alpsten's colourful narrative does full justice to her extraordinary career * Sunday Times * This is the ultimate Cinderella story of an illiterate peasant girl who becomes the empress of Russia. It makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme -- Daisy Goodwin Tsarina should come with a health warning- once you start reading, it's impossible to stop -- Hannah Rothschild Ellen Apsten's Tsarina brings to life the dramatic life of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great, and afterwards Empress of Russia in her own right. She recounts this remarkable woman's colourful life and times in the form of a novel, drawing however throughout on documentary evidence - this proves a highly effective approach -- Nikolai Tolstoy Tsarina is luscious. As detailed as the jewels and enamel inlay on the creations of Faberge, Ellen Alpsten writes the story of Catherine Alexeyevna, born poor with a lust for power and riches, who sets her mind to achieve both, and sets in motion all that will follow in Russian history, including the reign of Catherine the Great. You will marvel at this crisp, elegant fictional account of history, woven with emotion and brio -- Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife Luscious: Alpsten has clearly done some brilliant research. It reads like Game of Thrones without the dragons -- Natasha Pulley
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About Ellen Alpsten

Ellen Alpsten was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands, before attending L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. Whilst studying for her Msc in PPE she won the Grande Ecole short story competition with her novella Meeting Mr. Gandhi and was encouraged to continue writing. Upon graduating, she worked as a producer and presenter for Bloomberg TV in London. She contributes to in ternational publications such as Vogue, Standpoint and Conde Nast Traveller. Tsarina is her first novel. She lives in London with her husband and three children.
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Rating details

361 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 32% (114)
4 42% (150)
3 17% (63)
2 7% (26)
1 2% (8)
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