Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
The LAST TSar of russia – Tsar Nicholas II
Tsar Nicholas II, most commonly known at “Bloody Nicholas,” was the firstborn child to Alexander Alexandrovich (the heir of the Russian Empire) & Maria Feodorovna (a Danish Princess) in 1868. Nicholas came from a very royal bloodline, meaning many of his cousins were monarchs spread throughout the continent of Europe. He became Tsar at the age of 26, when his father, Alexander III, died of an illness.
But here’s the part that’s fucking bananas—no one expected Alexander III to die when he did. He had contracted an incurable kidney disease sometime around mid 1894, and by the end of the same year, he was gone. A lifetime of 49 years, which even by Tsar standards, was very low. And here’s the other crazy part—Alexander III failed to teach his son the mechanics of being a Tsar. He meant to do it after Nicholas turned 30 but the guy was dead by the time Nick reached 26!
Nicholas II was very fond of arts and history and foreign languages (he spoke four languages, FLUENTLY), but the political and economic parts of running a power block like the Russias, kicked his ass. Get this—political discussions bored the guy. #IFeelYaNick Unlike his father who was nicknamed “The Peacemaker,” Nicholas II stuck to his conservative beliefs on both religion and autocracy of the government throughout the term of his reign. And of course, by the time he was ready to compromise, it was too late. Think: The Apparat from Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin And Rising. The guy’s coronation ceremony was filled with tragedy too—a stampede that injured thousands, and the Tsar remained unaware.
Tsar Nicholas II married Princess Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria I of England. They had four girls—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and a little boy, Alexei. Alexei, the miracle child and only heir to the throne, was diagnosed with haemophilia at the age of four. In their desperation to cure the boy, the Tsar and Tsarina agreed even to hypnotise the young child of his condition. Remember Rasputin?
Tsar Nicholas II fucked up quite a lot too. In 1905, his troops fired at a group of peaceful protestors in St. Petersburg, making him “Bloody Nicholas” forever. The incident, known as Bloody Sunday, killed 92 and injured hundreds. But that was only the beginning of the Tsar’s troubles. The 1905 Russian Revolution, Alexei’s continued illness, the Battle of Dannenberg, his responsibility in the Russo-Japanese war and mutiny among his soldiers, combined with his tenacity and refusal to bring about constitutional reforms to control the revolution, the guy had basically dug up his own grave.
If you know anything of history and revolutions in countries, you know this: the Kings are basically the first people to die. Be it by the guillotine or a close range shot to the head, the old must go to make way for the new. Tsar Nicholas II and his family, along with a few close servants, were all shot by angry Bolsheviks and Communists in 1918 in a place called Yekaterinburg, after being accused of committing unforgivable crimes against the State. The Tsar was later canonised as St Nicholas the martyred Tsar. His canonisation too faced a lot of protest—all accredited to him being a weak, uninterested king who could not squash the Bolshevik protests when they could have been.
The Tsar was called both a gentle, loving, family man, unfortunately at the wrong place in the wrong time, and also a foolish king whose pig-headedness led to Russia’s economic and military collapse, not to mention his own terrible execution and that of his family. Basically, the guy was an enigma—a walking, talking contradiction of both sides of human nature. His stubbornness to accept social change was his only fault—he clung to the autocratic ways of his ancestors, unwilling to believe that change was an inevitable and unstoppable force.
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at http://www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.
WALDRON, PETER. “Nicholas II.” Encyclopedia of Russian History. 2004. Retrieved February 04, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404100912.html
A Biography of Tsar Nicholas II: http://www.biography.com/people/nicholas-ii-21032713
Russia IC: Nicholas II: http://russia-ic.com/people/general/n/216