I did not want this book to end, it was a fascinating, enlightening, and horrifying read. Having taken Russian history, studied abroad to St. Petersburg for two weeks, and been a huge fan of the animated movie, Anastasia, I STILL learned a ridiculous amount! This book was chock full of amazing facts, details, and accounts and was impossible to put down! This nonfiction novel chronicled the entire family history of the last Romanov family, the political tensions in Russia, and even had great first hand accounts from peasants, workers, and other Russian citizens to contrast with life in the palace. I believe this novel painted a very accurate, albeit not flattering, account of the last imperial family, but the account will still make readers sympathize with untimely demise of the last ruling family. It was simply fascinating, it pulled accounts from diaries, letters, official documents, and more to create a complete picture of the huge divide between the royal family and Russian subjects that left the country ripe for civil war. I was lucky enough to have visited many of the sites mentioned: The Winter Palace, Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, St. Peter and Paul fortress (where I was able to see the final resting place of the Romanav family), and St. Petersburg. Listening to the audiobook also added an extra dimension, because many of the accounts were narrated by Russian voice actors which really helped bring the story to life for the reader (or rather listener). I give this a well deserved five star rating. It's a must read for any history buffs or those curious about the tragedy of the end of the Russian Tzars. Simply fantastic!!!