Alix and Nicky

The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina

Virginia Rounding

St. Martin's Griffin

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Alix & Nicky tells the dramatic story of Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia—A penetrating and deeply personal study that gives profound psychological insight into their marriage and how it shaped the  events that engulfed them.

There are few characters in history about whom opinion has been more divided than the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his wife the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. On one hand, they are venerated as saints, innocent victims of Bolshevik assassins, and on the other they are impugned as the unwitting harbingers of revolution and imperial collapse, blamed for all the ills that befell the Russian people in the 20th century. Theirs was also a tragic love story; for whatever else can be said of them, there can be no doubt that Alix and Nicky adored one another. Soon after their engagement, Alix wrote in her fiancé’s diary: “Ever true and ever loving, faithful, pure and strong as death”—words which met their fulfillment twenty-four years later in a blood-spattered cellar in Ekaterinburg.

Through the letters and diaries written by the couple and by those around them, Virginia Rounding presents an intimate, penetrating, and fresh portrayal of these two complex figures and of their passion—their love and their suffering. She explores the nature and possible causes of the Empress’s ill health, and examines in depth the enigmatic triangular relationship between Nicky, Alix and their ‘favourite,’ Ania Vyrubova, protégée of the infamous Rasputin, extracting the meaning from words left unsaid, from hints and innuendoes..

The story of Alix and Nicky, of their four daughters known collectively as ‘OTMA’ and of their hemophiliac little boy Alexei, is endlessly fascinating, and Rounding makes these characters come alive, presenting them in all their human dimensions and expertly leading the reader into their vanished world.

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Book Excerpts

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CHAPTER ONE

Setting the Scene: The Romanov Tercentenary
1913

The final curtain is about to drop,
Some fool in the gallery still clasps his hands;
Around their bonfires, cabmen stamp and hop.
Somebody’s carriage! Off they go. The end.

—Osip Mandelstam, 1913 (tr. Robert Tracy)

 
AT NINE O’CLOCK on the morning of May 19, 1913, the firing of cannon, the clashing of cathedral bells, and the cheering of expectant crowds welcomed the stately appearance of the steamship Mezhen, flying the imperial flag with its double-headed eagle, steaming

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Reviews

Praise for Alix and Nicky

Praise for Virginia Rounding:

CATHERINE THE GREAT

“[Rounding] paints a vivid portrait of a sensual and intellectual woman.” –Washington Post on Catherine the Great

“An engrossing bio [Grade:] A” –Entertainment Weekly on Catherine the Great

“Brings Catherine alive, and not least in her relations with the men she drew to her side.” –Foreign Affairs on Catherine the Great

GRANDES HORIZONTALES

“[The author] captures the distinct experience of each of these women and offers a vivid portrait of their world, in both its splendor and its seaminess.” –The Boston Globe

“Ms. Rounding skillfully describes the rise and fall of second-empire Paris, combining historical accuracy with a thoughtful analysis of the dangers of the demi-mondaine . . . Evocative, lively, and ultimately heartbreaking.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Well-researched, intelligent, and compassionate.” –Kirkus Reviews


In the Press

ALIX AND NICKY by Virginia Rounding | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of ALIX AND NICKY The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina. The intimate correspondence between Nicholas and Alexandra exposes the political naiveté of the ill-fated Romanovs while revealing their deep, loving relationship.
- Kirkus Reviews


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About the Author

Virginia Rounding

VIRGINIA ROUNDING is a translator and writer who lives in London. She studied Russian at the University of London.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed Catherine the Great and Grandes Horizontales.

Virginia Rounding

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Available Formats and Book Details

Alix and Nicky
The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina
Virginia Rounding

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
January 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250022196
ISBN10: 1250022193
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 400 pages, Plus one 16-page black-and-white photograph insert
$19.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
January 2012
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312381004
ISBN10: 031238100X
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 400 pages, Plus one 16-page b&w photo insert
$29.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
January 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429940900
ISBN10: 1429940905
400 pages
$9.99
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