As usual, Steve Berry’s novels have some bit of a history tale behind, and this time it has something to do with olden Russia. In the period during 1918-1919 the royal family of Russia, headed by Tsar Nicholas II, was massacred during the Communists revolution. Basically the actual mystery of the story is that they have never found two of the bones of the royal family, leading to theories that they may have been alive, and this forms the basis for the plot.
Basically the story is about Russia after communism and how they had elected to get the Tsar back. This is not factual in reality. The story is about how a black lawyer got hired to find any discriminatory evidence about a particular candidate’s right to become Tsar. The thing is that this candidate is the closest to the Romanov family, and is the closest to become the Tsar, if and only if the descendents of Nicholas II have all died.
The lawyer founds some disturbing messages left by Lenin and wonders if the actual imperial family have not been wiped out. Those in favor of the candidate decided to kill the lawyer, because they wanted the candidate elected as he is a perfect puppet for them to manipulate.
Through his journey he discovers how the person in charge of the execution supposedly felt guilty and how he arranged for the two children to be saved and sent to different places, eventually settling in the United States. The lawyer, along with a circus performer friend he met, went through the journey finding clues and people who have been waiting for them to come.
Soon they found the descendents of Nicholas II and a small fight ensued with the killers come into the picture. Eventually the rightful Tsar took his place.
The most interesting part is its mysteries and how they pieced together pieces of the mystery, as well as how Rasputin’s supposed prophecy came true. I don’t know how true it is, but Rasputin is quite a “powerful” character in history, even though he is a normal person from Siberia. The Tsar and the Tsarina treats him well and even in history books it seemed that he didn’t die easily. If I remember my secondary school works, Rasputin didn’t die when fed poisoned wine and food, and eventually ran off and got shot and dumped in a river. But nobody did ever confirm his death. Quite mystical I would say.
Overall it’s a pretty interesting book but it got a little boring at the start. The history is always interesting.
P.S. @ 19th Jan 2010..I wrote this on 25th July 2008!