These are the final days of the tsars and Alexei Shafirov, an infirm skeptic, is bedridden after a fall. Throughout the long recovery his loved ones speak to him of fables, uprisings and a royal family under house detention. At the heart of their stories is Alexei Romanov, the heir apparent. Like him, the Romanov boy is a hemophiliac, near the center of a decades-old political cabal. Both children are prone to mischief, self-indulgence and illness. But some insist their connection runs deeper than that.
Alexei and the Second Empress is an account of the end of Imperial Russian, told in equal measures fairy tale and cruel realism. It is a story of opulence, folklore, addiction and secrets. And the most profound of those may not come to light without a price.