This book presents a vivid and original portrait of the entire Romanov family, who shaped Russian history and politics for three centuries and whose legacy still sparks the public's imagination. For 300 years the history of Russia was inextricably linked to that of one family: The Romanovs. Claiming a divine right to reign and tracing the family line back to Peter the Great they shaped the history of Russia, for better or for worse, for three centuries. The influence of Michael, Ivan, Catherine II, Nicholas I and Alexander III defined the politics, society, art and philosophy of their times and lead to the establishment of Russia as one of the great world powers. But when the Romanov's gathered to celebrate their tercentenary in 1913 dark clouds were gathering all around. Rasputin had prophesized their demise and his unpopular influence on the Tsar was growing. The strain of the First World War had spread unrest throughout Russia. On 17 July 1918, three-hundred and four years of the Romanov dynasty ended when, probably under Lenin's orders, Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children were brutally murdered by a Bolshevik execution squad. This brilliant and original new work on the entire Romanov family paints a vivid picture of the dynasty and illustrates exactly what it contributed to the creation of Russia. By bringing the characters of the Tsars and their family to life Lindsey Hughes has added so much to our knowledge of this fascinating dynasty.