The Mystery of Anastasia
By Glenn Meade
Howard Books, $25.00, 496 pages
In The Romanov Conspiracy, author Meade explores the legend of the last tsar of Russia and the enduring question of the Russian royal family’s execution: namely, if one or more members survived. In investigating this, we’re taken from contemporary Ekaterinburg, the site of the Winter Palace, where the royal family was executed in 1918, and where archeologist Dr. Laura Pavlov discovers a young woman’s body preserved in an old mine shaft. The mystery leads to Ireland, where some Russians royalists escaped the Revolution, and then finally back to the last days of the Russian empire and a plot to rescue the tsar and his family.
This a fascinating work of historic fiction, spanning countries and generations. The viewpoint changes within a huge cast: from the archeologist Pavlov, who discovers the body, to Lydia Boyle, an Irish gun-runner caught up in the conspiracy to save the royal family, to Philip Sorg, a spy also on the tsarist side who falls in love with the Princess Anastasia while posing as her piano teacher, as well as two brothers on different sides of the communist/royalist conflict. Also addressed are mysteries such as Anna Anderson, the most successful of the “Anastasia” imposters. The characters are well-drawn, and the story holds the readers to its inevitable end.
Reviewed by Stacia Levy