“The spies you learn about are either those who get exposed or those who reveal themselves. The first have been foolish enough to leave a trail of words behind them; the second have reasons of their own.”
Having known very little about Catherine the Great of Russia, I delved into The Winter Palace with much anticipation. The story is told from the perspective of Barbara (Varvara in Russian), a young spy in the palace of the Russian Empress, Elizabeth. Barbara’s story itself is enough to make you shut off your phone, ignore the doorbell and immerse yourself in this book. But it gets even better. Soon, a young Zerbst princess enters the palace, Sophie – later to become Catherine the Great. We follow Catherine’s rise to power, and all the politics, treachery, secrets and lies that pave her way to the top.
Stachniak creates a tale that is as compelling as it is educational. This is something every historical fiction lover yearns for. It’s no surprise that I loved this book. I’m thrilled that Stachniak is writing a sequel called Empire of the Night. I can’t wait to continue with her story of Catherine the Great!
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012