With gratitude to Hashem, and in loving eternal memory of the nineteen people murdered on 17 and 18 July 1918, one hundred years ago today and tomorrow, I announce the release of my alternative historical saga. I’d initially planned to release it 12 August 2016, what would’ve been my primary protagonist’s 112th birthday, but it was nowhere close to being finished by then, and my focus had shifted to other projects.
Now I realize it was hashgacha pratit (Divine Providence) that delayed its completion and release for so long. What more fitting release date could there be but my primary protagonist’s real-life 100th Jahrzeit (death anniversary)?
I hope I’ve done this beautiful, innocent boy literary justice and not made him regret choosing me as his author from the other world. He deserved so much better than being forever thirteen, and deserves to be remembered as more than just the sickly, murdered heir to the Russian throne.
Once I’ve made enough money from sales, I’ll use some of it to make donations to the National Hemophilia Foundation and National Hemophilia Federation, in memory of Aleksey.
Sometimes, the greatest heroes are those no one expects.
Aleksey, the miraculously rescued boy Tsar, knows he may not have a long life, but he’s determined to do all he can, as long as he’s alive, to bring his empire into the modern era and rule with love.
But since real life isn’t a fairytale, there are a number of obstacles standing in his way.
Aleksey’s uncle, Grand Duke Mikhail, his regent and guardian, is determined to show everyone who’s in charge, and prevent another uprising. Mikhail, who was once very mild-mannered and hoped for a constitutional monarchy, radically transforms into a revenge-minded autocrat. He severely punishes the Bolsheviks, unleashes deadly pogroms, and throws family rivals into the Shlisselburg dungeon.
As much as Aleksey wants to take power in his own right when he’s a legal adult, and start making everything right, he’s held back by his youth and inexperience. If he rushes into power as soon as he’s of age, that might set the groundwork for yet another disaster. In order to gain real-world experience outside palace walls, he heads off to the Sorbonne for four years. When he returns home with his degree, he begins a co-rulership with his uncle.
Shortly before his twenty-fifth birthday, Aleksey is finally compelled onto the throne in his own right. Determined to endear himself to the people and demonstrate how modern and compassionate he is, he begins granting sweeping reforms. However, before he can be formally coronated, he’s ordered to find an Empress. As much as he’s always wanted a family like everyone else, he’s terrified of leaving a young widow and orphans, or passing down hemophilia to another generation.
Arkadiya Gagarina is the least-likely Empress anyone could imagine. Not only is she a morganatic princess, but she’s also seven years older than Aleksey, walks with a limp, and carries several large, hidden burn scars. Regardless, Aleksey wants her and no one else. Though the initial plan is to have a celibate marriage for the sake of appearances, and adopt a boy to be legally installed as heir, the feelings Aleksey and Arkadiya have for one another grow stronger and stronger as their wedding day approaches.
Aleksey’s choice of a bride endears him even further to the people, and the reigning couple’s popularity increases even more with the birth of their first child. But though it seems as if the dynasty is stronger than ever, and Aleksey’s sweeping reforms have finally brought Russia into the twentieth century, the biggest challenge yet comes when another war breaks out.
And thus begins the most heroic act of his life.