Rasputin's Daughter

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Overview

With the same riveting historical narrative that made The Kitchen Boy a national bestseller and a book club favorite, Robert Alexander returns to revolutionary Russia for the harrowing tale of Rasputin's final days as told by his youthful and bold daughter, Maria. Interrogated by the Provisional Government on the details of her father's death, Maria vividly recounts a politically tumultuous Russia, where Rasputin's powerful influence over the throne are unsettling to all levels ...
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Overview

With the same riveting historical narrative that made The Kitchen Boy a national bestseller and a book club favorite, Robert Alexander returns to revolutionary Russia for the harrowing tale of Rasputin's final days as told by his youthful and bold daughter, Maria. Interrogated by the Provisional Government on the details of her father's death, Maria vividly recounts a politically tumultuous Russia, where Rasputin's powerful influence over the throne are unsettling to all levels of society, and the threats to his life are no secret.

With vast conspiracies mounting against his father, Maria must struggle with the discovery of Rasputin's true nature-his unbridled carnal appetites, mysterious relationship with the Empress, rumors of involvement in secret religious cults-to save her father from his murderers. Swept away in a plot much larger than the death of one man, Maria fmds herself on the cusp of the Russian Revolution itself. With Rasputin's Daughter, Robert Alexander once again delivers an imaginative and compelling story, fashioned from one of history's most fascinating periods that, until now, has been virtually unexplored in fiction.

"The combination of Alexander's research and his rich characterizations produces an engaging historical fiction that offers a Rasputin who is neither beast nor saint, but merely, compellingly human."—Publishers Weekly

With the same riveting historical narrative that made "The Kitchen Boy" a national bestseller, Alexander returns to revolutionary Russia for the harrowing tale of Rasputin's final days as told by his youthful and bold daughter, Maria. Unabridged. 1 MP3 CD.

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Editorial Reviews

Rebecca Reich
For readers who like their juicy scandals topped with a hearty dollop of history, Alexander serves up a satisfying portrait of a court in its last throes of decadence and intrigue.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In an endeavor similar to his debut novel, The Kitchen Boy, Alexander couples extensive research and poetic license, this time turning his enthusiasm toward perhaps the most intriguing player in the collapse of the Russian dynasty: Rasputin. This eyebrow-raising account of the final week of the notorious mystic's life is set in Petrograd in December 1916 and narrated by Rasputin's fiery teenage daughter, Maria. The air in the newly renamed capital is thick with dangerous rumors, many concerning Maria's father, whose close relationship with the monarchy-he alone can stop the bleeding of the hemophiliac heir to the throne-invokes murderous rage among members of the royal family. Maria is determined to protect her father's life, but the further she delves into his affairs, the more she wonders: who, exactly, is Rasputin? Is he the holy man whose genuine ability to heal inspires a cult of awed penitents, or the libidinous drunkard who consumes 12 bottles of Madeira in a single night, the unrestrained animal she spies "[eagerly] holding [the] housekeeper by her soft parts"? Does this unruly behavior link him to an outlawed sect that believes sin overcomes sin? The combination of Alexander's research and his rich characterizations produces an engaging historical fiction that offers a Rasputin who is neither beast nor saint, but merely, compellingly human. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this follow-up to his popular debut The Kitchen Boy, Alexander again mines the considerable lore of the Russian imperial family. Rasputin, the legendary mad monk, is also a family man raising two daughters in 1916 St. Petersburg. As he ministers to the tsaritsa and her royal brood during the last week of his life, 18-year-old Maria strives to understand the menacing aura surrounding her father. She is both loving and rebellious, but her adventures are limited to a flirtation with a young man who will betray her in a plot against her father. Alexander's wild-eyed romp through a period much studied for its contradictions and cruelties will be a staple of most historical fiction collections.-Barbara Conaty, Moscow, Russia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"For readers who like their juicy scandals topped with a hearty dollop of history, Alexander serves up a satisfying portrait of a court in its last throes of decadence and intrigue." —-The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670034680
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/19/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander is the author of the bestselling novel The Kitchen Boy.

British actress and narrator Josephine Bailey has won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards and a prestigious Audie Award, and Publishers Weekly named her Best Female Narrator in 2002.

Biography

A devoted Russophile, Robert Alexander has studied at Leningrad State University, worked for the U.S. government, and traveled extensively throughout Russia. While he's already made a name for himself with his series of bestselling mysteries (written as R. D. Zimmerman), he has also written a well-received trilogy of Russian historical novels (The Kitchen Boy, Rasputin's Daughter, The Romanov Bride) about the last days of Empire.

Good To Know

In our interview, Alexander shared some fun and fascinating facts about himself with us:

"Most of my friends know: I'm much too outgoing to be living in quarantine, as I do (as any writer does). Most of my friends don't know: I can ride a unicycle, I can't balance my checkbook, I broke my back going over a ski jump, and I was once enrolled in Meats 104 and Beverage 111 at a prominent School of Hotel and Restaurants, which prompted me to drop out and start my first novel."

"What I would like to know about me from someone is, why do I keep going to Russia? I've been going there for 28 years, and it's definitely not a place to unwind. But it certainly is always interesting. And that's where I met my domestic partner, Lars, and we've now been together 25 years. And it's also where I met my business partner, Meri, and we've been in business now almost 14 years -- we have a customs clearance business and Barabu, a small chain of espresso/wine bars. And I always come up with some weird story idea over there. So maybe I just answered my own question.

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    1. Also Known As:
      R. D. Zimmerman, M. Masters
    2. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 23, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Russian Language and Creative Writing, Michigan State University, 1976

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions From the Publisher
1. In Chapter Eight, Rasputin foresees that the River Neva will run red with blood. In what other ways does blood act as a dominant metaphor in Rasputin's Daughter?

2. Rasputin's lack of personal morality repels even his own daughter, yet he gives comfort to the royal family and saves the Tsarevich from dying. Is it fair or proper to demand good moral behavior from someone who uses his power to perform great good for others?

3. Maria is also sometimes disgusted when she observes that her father has the mannerisms and perceptions of a peasant. At the same time, however, the opinion is expressed in the novel that the narod, or the common people, must finally be the saviors of Russia. How do ideas of social class influence Alexander's storytelling, Maria's viewpoint, and, finally, Rasputin's fate?

4. Maria suffers terrible anguish at the hands of Sasha, who repeatedly betrays her. But is Maria any less of a betrayer? How do her failures of loyalty contribute to the tragedies of the novel?

5. Given the largeness of her father's character and influence, it seems inevitable that Maria should define herself in comparison with him. Are Maria and her father fundamentally alike or essentially different? What are their most significant points of similarity and difference?

6. Scandal breaks over the Romanovs because of the Tsaritsa's decision to bring in Rasputin to help Aleksei. Yet the public does not know of Rasputin's duties at the palace, let alone that the heir to the throne is suffering from hemophilia. Did the Tsaritsa make the correct decision in keeping this information essentially a state secret, and in doing so did she encourage or lessen gossip against her?

7. Although there is nothing ordinary about Maria's father, many of the issues that arise between them are questions that might come up in any father-daughter relationship. How do the struggles between them reflect typical family tensions? In what ways do their quarrels differ from the ordinary?

8. As Rasputin gives aid to the apparently dying Tsarevich, Maria asserts that she has never seen such a blatant fight between good and evil. To what extent is the entire novel a dramatization of the battle between good and evil? How does Maria perceive the difference between the two? Is she always correct, and, if not, what accounts for her failures of perception?

9. In Alexander's novel, how does Maria's character seem to have been influenced by her heredity? What traits appear to be more the result of her upbringing? Does she have the kind of personality that one would expect from Rasputin's Daughter?

10. Food and eating are often mentioned in Rasputin's Daughter. Do these subjects have more than literal significance? How do we come to know Rasputin from what he eats and how he eats?

11. On one level, Rasputin's Daughter is about a young woman learning to understand and relate to her father. On another level, it is about Maria's anxiety-ridden discovery of her sexuality. How do these two themes intertwine, and what are the results of their interaction?

12. How trustworthy do you find Maria as a narrator? How well does she understand the events that she recounts? Perhaps most significant, how fully conscious is she of her own wishes regarding her father?

13. What are the natures of guilt and innocence in Rasputin's Daughter? What feelings of guilt does Maria experience? How does she respond to them? Does she regard her father as ultimately guilty or innocent? Do you share her judgment?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good

    I agree with most of the reviews it was an interesting story. To the person below it was not a waste of time. This book was written in 2004, the bones of the prince and princess Maria were not found until 2007. DNA proved that all the children along with their parents were killed. So at this time people may have still believed that the prince and princess anastasia got away. Therefore it was still an interesting mystery. History of this book was intensive and interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    great book

    you will not be disappointed.

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Conspiracy and murder stalk a crumbling court...

    Alexander gives us a look inside the Rasputin family, through the eyes of the oldest daughter, Maria. We see her life before her father's murder, starting the week before and leading up to Rasputin's murder. Alexander gives Maria an innocence and determination that makes her a likable character, and eventually, you come to sympathize with Maria and even with Rasputin. By the end of the novel, it leaves you wanting to learn more about the Rasputins and the Romanov dynasty. Definately a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2008

    Amazingly written.

    Rasputin's Daughter is very detailed, and makes you feel as if you are going along for the ride with Maria. Simply put, this is an amazing book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Alot better than I was expecting

    I had to read this book for a Global Studies Honors class in my school. I was surprised that this book was not only well written, but seemed to capture the time period amazingly. The love/hate relationship between Maria and Sasha gave anticipation to the story as well. The ending was a complete shock, and made me want to cry =/.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2007

    Historical Fiction just got BETTER!

    I thought this was an amazing young adult book that most people should read. It tells of a different point of view, Rasputin's Daughter. You can't even bealive your learning, it isn't like a text book at all. It tells of deception, hatred, love, and the amazing story that you just have to read to find out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2006

    LOVE HIS BOOK!!

    I did not know very much about Rasputin, so I enjoyed learning about his life through the eyes of his daughter. Though there are some fictional accounts added, I found it to be very factual! It is captivating, I loved it!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    A great dark and historical read

    Although parts of the book dragged a bit(which were only a few), it really opened my eyes to what Russia was kind of like during that period of time. It was my first historical read, and it wasn't that bad. I loved how it was written and how it was told through Rasputin's daughter...someone who witnessed everything behind closed doors. I plan on reading Kitchen Boy very very soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Darker than 'The Kitchen Boy'

    I will admit I liked 'The Kitchen Boy' better, but I thought this book was also well written. It is much darker novel, but then again Grigori Rasputin's life wasn't very happy or bright. It was interesting to read a different perspective of the Romanov's downfall from Rasputin's daughter, Maria. Overall I enjoyed 'Rasputin's Daughter.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    A Disappointment

    I loved 'The Kitchen Boy', so I was really excited about reading 'Rasputin's Daughter.' My book club even decided to read it. However, it was such a disappointment. It wasn't well written or well thought out. It was a waste of our time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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