The Winter Palace

A Novel of Catherine the Great
Author(s): Eva Stachniak
Original Publish Date: Jan 10, 2012
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (18.65 hours)
Product Number: Z100024053
Released: Jan 10, 2012
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780307966827
Narrator/s: Beata Pozniak
Publisher: Books on Tape
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post From award-winning author Eva Stachniak comes this passionate novel that illuminates, as only fiction can, the early life of one of history's boldest women. The Winter Palace tells the epic story of Catherine the Great's improbable rise to power-as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne. Her name is Barbara-in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she's allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world's most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen-and to wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great. Sophie's destiny at court is to marry the Empress's nephew, but she has other, loftier, more dangerous ambitions, and she proves to be more guileful than she first appears. What Sophie needs is an insider at court, a loyal pair of eyes and ears who knows the traps, the conspiracies, and the treacheries that surround her. Varvara will become Sophie's confidante-and together the two young women will rise to the pinnacle of absolute power. With dazzling details and intense drama, Eva Stachniak depicts Varvara's secret alliance with Catherine as the princess grows into a legend-through an enforced marriage, illicit seductions, and, at last, the shocking coup to assume the throne of all of Russia. Impeccably researched and magnificently written, The Winter Palace is an irresistible peek through the keyhole of one of history's grandest tales. Praise for The Winter Palace "A majestic and splendidly written tale of pride, passion, intrigue, and deceit that is brought alive from the first page to the last."-Rosalind Laker "At the same time baroque and intimate, worldly and domestic, wildly strange and soulfully familiar, The Winter Palace offers a flickering glimpse of history through the gauze of deft entertainment."-The Washington Post "A thrilling point of view...?eaders are treated to a firsthand account of the young princess's slow ascent to the throne, a path deliciously strewn with discarded lovers and sanguine court intrigues."-Minneapolis Star-Tribune "[A] brilliant, bold historical novel...?his superb biographical epic proves the Tudors don't have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph."-Booklist (starred review)

All formats/editions

Author(s): Eva Stachniak
Product Number EB00155569
Released: Dec 27, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Bantam
ISBN: #9780553908046

Professional reviews

"The Russian court during Empress Elizabeth's reign was a place of intrigue, with courtiers vying for power and riches and spies reporting even the smallest misstep to their sovereign. This well-researched historical novel depicts the rise of Catherine the Great from guest of the empress to her seizure of the Russian throne. Her story is told through the eyes of Varvara, a Polish servant who is sometimes reluctant, sometimes manipulative in her role as informer. Narrator Beata Pozniak is a master of the many accents heard in the palace, especially Russian and German, besides her own native Polish. While Pozniak's narration suffers from odd pauses and unexpected emphases, these weaknesses are mitigated by her overall expressiveness and the authenticity she gives to Varvara's voice. C.B.L. (c) AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine"

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