US Reviews

An official photograph of the Imperial Family taken in 1913 The Tsarevitch Alexey and his mother Alexandra c.1913

Synthesizing a variety of sources, Rappaport details the Romanovs’ last two weeks. . . . How the last czar and his family died was one of Russia’s best-kept secrets for decades, and Rappaport spares none of the gory details of the panicked bloodbath . . . and botched burial of the corpses . . this is an absorbing, lucid and authoritative work.

Publishers Weekly

British historian Rappaport combines detailed scholarship with an engaging narrative style. . . The book's most gripping sections describe the days and hours leading up to and including the family's execution. Rappaport spares few details . . . Solid political and social history, related with the vigour of a true-crime thriller.

Kirkus Reviews

Helen Rappaport, a British scholar, has written what will stand for some time as the most exhaustive account of the final days of Nicholas II. … Though the overall details of the story have been well known and frequently told in previous accounts, Rappaport manages to infuse them with a tinge of suspense from chapter to chapter despite the fact that we all know the outcome.  … There is an inevitable sympathy for the tsar and his family that readers cannot help but feel as the decisions of the Bolshevik leadership to execute the helpless family intensify, though the author succeeds in avoiding partisan mawkishness. … The demise of the Romanovs was an unprecedented event in modern Western history, and rarely has the story been told more engagingly than it has here.

History Book



The brutal 1918 massacre of the Romanov family may be familiar, but in Russian scholar Rappaport's hands, the tale becomes as shocking and immediate as a thriller. Drawing on new archives and forensics, she crafts a portrait of the final weeks of Russia's last imperial family, cramped in the House of Special Purpose in Ekaterinburg. Though Tsar Nicholas's rule was harsh, the love and religious devotion he and his family shared makes them sympathetic. The Romanovs are now saints in Russian Orthodoxy, symbols of faith and hope. This gripping read helps you understand why.

People Magazine


In this account of the final days of the Imperial family, British historian Helen Rappaport goes beyond the oft-told story to give us an intimate, day-by-day account of the events that ended in the cellar of the "House of Special Purpose" on the night of July 17, 1918. Here are Nicholas, Alexandra, their four daughters -- Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia -- and the hemophiliac heir, Alexei, as they have rarely been seen: passionate, flawed, angry, spiritual and, ultimately, profoundly human. Rappaport's impressive research  … sheds new and sometimes controversial light on the Imperial victims and what transpired. But it is her finely honed literary skills, and a seemingly effortless ability to marshal the wildly disparate personalities into a smooth and unencumbered account, that make this book so compelling. Enlisting the help of a leading forensic pathologist, she re-creates with almost slow-motion exactness the horror that unfolded in the killing room.  Dramatic, sorrowful and heart-poundingly intense, this excellent book is certain to win a new audience for the endlessly fascinating panorama of Russian history.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Rappaport fills out her story with vivid detail and superb characterization, building the tension and drama to its brutal climax, sparing no stomach-turning details. She draws us in so well, that we very nearly smell the dusty drapes and taste the sweat hanging thick in the air of that tragic Siberian summer. We can’t stop reading, wondering what will happen next, even though we know full well what happens next.   Meticulously researched and intimately drawn, this is a must read for anyone interested in the sad fate of the Romanovs, or for anyone interested in plumbing the depths of human depravity,

Russian Life magazine

Canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church - a modern day icon of the Romanovs