Wednesday, 4 July 2018
The Two Lives of Grand Duke Michael
It is set in the Russia of 1918 and is one of the types of novel that your reviewer loves to devour. An historical 'what if?' novel.
Based on many hours of research in historical archives and with the application of logic and his fertile imagination Michael Roman comes up with a credible and highly readable novel that explores the intriguing concept that what if Grand Duke Michael had survived the assassination attempt ordered on him by none other that Vladimir Lenin himself?
The facts in the first part of the novel are an account of what actually took place and are a latter of historical record.
In February 1918 during the Great War, Michael underook a hazardous two-week journey to the UK from Bolshevik Russia to meet with the Western Allies.
His mission was to discuss plans for an invasion of Russia to sweep the Bolsheviks from power and to install Grand Duke Michael as the new Tsar.
Upon his return to Russia the plans for such an invasion came to a juddering stop when he was murdered whilst held under house arrest in Siberia.
At this juncture Michael Roman imagines a different, alternative history for Grand Duke Michael.
He describes how Grand Duke Michael survives the assassination attempt and how he is assisted by Sidney Reilly the legendary but very genuine MI6 agent to escape from Siberia and how he is taken to live a new life in the UK.
Under a new identity he lives under the protection of the British Secret Service and works as a code breaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
Incidentally the story hangs on an interesting historical fact. Although it is generally believed that Grand Duke Michael and his British secretary, Nicholas Johnson, were assassinated, no remains have ever been discovered.
In the book there are acts of treachery and treason, of bravery and self-sacrifice and of nobility under great pressure.
It is an amazing and intriguing book which is published by Matador at £12.99. I have a feeling that many readers will take this book with them on their summer holidays. Though it's doubtful that they will be taking such a perilous journey as that undertaken by Grand Duke Michael.