Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: I did.
This story is set in Russia during the 1500s. Ivan the Great has died while his son, Ivan (later named the Terrible) was three years old. His country was in chaos, and even as a child, there were multiple assassination attempts on his life. He grows up to be the Czar of Russia and wages war against his neighbors.
I know little about Russian history, but from what little I gleaned from the internet, the author sticks pretty close to the facts. Into this fascinating story he weaves beautifully developed characters with believable relationships.
It must have been hard to develop a story where Taras the soldier falls in love with a housemaid, Inga, under the roof of Ivan the Terrible. But Hill pulls it off. He tells a tale of love and war, loyalty and betrayal, murderous wolves and insane tyrants. What more could you ask for?
Would I recommend it: Yes, but be advised my e-reader indicated 5,309 pages. That feels about right. It’s long!
About the book – from Goodreads: In a world where danger hides in plain sight and no one aspires to more than what they were born to, Inga must find the courage to break the oppressive chains she’s been bound with since birth.
As a maid in the infamous Kremlin, life in 16th-century Russia is bleak and treacherous. That is, until Taras arrives. Convinced that his mother’s death when he was a boy was no mere accident, he returned from England to discover what really happened. While there, he gains favor from the Tsar later known as Ivan the Terrible, the most brutal and notorious ruler ever to sit upon the throne of Russia. Ivan allows him to take a servant, and to save Inga from a brutal boyar intent on raping her, Taras requests Inga to stay in his chambers.
Up against the social confines of the time, the shadowy conspiracies that cloak their history, and the sexual politics of the Russian Imperial court, Inga and Taras must discover their past, plan for their future, and survive the brutality that permeates life within the four walls that tower over them all, or they may end up like so many citizens of ancient Russia: nothing but flesh and bone mortar for the stones of the Kremlin wall.