Empress of the Night

Empress of the Night

A Novel of Catherine the Great

Book - 2013
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Perfect for readers of Hilary Mantel, Alison Weir, and Philippa Gregory, Empress of the Night is Eva Stachniak's engrossing new novel, told in the voice of Catherine the Great as the Romanov monarch reflects on her ascension to the throne, her rule over the world's greatest power, and the sacrifices that made her the most feared and commanding woman of her time.
 
A critically acclaimed historical drama and instant #1 international bestseller, The Winter Palace brilliantly reimagined the rise of Catherine the Great through the watchful eyes of her clever servant Varvara. Now, in Eva Stachniak's enthralling new novel, Catherine takes center stage as she relives her astonishing ascension to the throne, her rule over an empire, and the sacrifices that made her the most feared and commanding woman of her time.
 
As the book opens, the charismatic monarch is in her final hours. From the fevered depths of her mind, Catherine recalls the fateful trajectory of her turbulent life: her precarious apprenticeship as Russia's Grand Duchess, the usurpers who seek to deprive her of a crown, the friends who beg more of her than she was willing to give, and her struggle to know whom to trust and whom to deceive to ensure her survival.
 
"We quarrel about power, not about love," Catherine would write to the great love of her life, Grigory Potemkin, but her days were balanced on the razor's edge of choosing her head over her heart. Power, she learns, is about resolve, strategy, and direction; love must sometimes be secondary as she marshals all her strengths to steer her volatile country into a new century and beyond--to grow the Romanov empire, to amass a vast fortune, and to control a scheming court in order to become one of history's greatest rulers.
 
Gorgeously written with vivid detail and lyrical prose, Empress of the Night is an intensely intimate novel of a woman in charge of her fortunes, who must navigate the sorrows, triumphs, and hopes of both her soul and a nation.

Praise for Empress of the Night
 
"[Eva] Stachniak's absorbing novel opens readers' hearts to an extraordinary and misunderstood woman. . . . Wonderfully, lyrically written , Stachniak's story vibrates with passion, drama and intrigue . This is a feast for fans." -- RT Book Reviews
 
"Stachniak's insight into the opulent lives of Russia's rulers continues in this reflective second novel. . . . Historical fiction fans will appreciate this personal account of a formidable and, indeed, infamous ruler ." -- Library Journal
 
"The book takes on a dreamlike quality. . . . Ambitious . . . moving . . . structurally complex and psychologically intense . . . vivid descriptions." -- Quill & Quire
 
"Stachniak brings to life one of the most fascinating --and controversial--female rulers of all time." -- DuJour
 
" Empress of the Night casts light on Catherine's life with unflinching honesty and intimacy . This fun novel of lovers, intrigue, and malicious and manipulative nobility keeps readers enthralled with every page ." -- Virtuoso Life
Publisher: New York :, Bantam Books,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780553808131
0553808133
Branch Call Number: FIC STAC
Characteristics: pages cm

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ChristchurchLib Feb 17, 2015

In this sequel to The Winter Palace, Catherine the Great looks back over her eventful life. No longer Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, Catherine has taken the necessary steps to ensure that she's not encumbered by her hostile mother-in-law or her diffident husband when she claims the throne in a coup d'etat in 1762. Her reign, marked by territorial expansion, educational reform, and the introduction of Western European culture as well as war, political intrigue, and a succession of love affairs, lasts until her death and changes the course of Russian history. Historical Fiction February 2015 newsletter.

Story starts when Catherine has a stroke in her latrine and plot skip through the morass of her life history in a confused string of memories, each vignette poorly connected to the previous. Her first book was more focused, seen through the eyes of one observant character. This story does not attribute any self reflection to Catherine, just puddle jumping from memory to memory. I had to skip through pages as well, it all got so tedious. She dies in the end.

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