• Tsarina

  • Tsarina, Book 1
  • By: Ellen Alpsten
  • Narrated by: Anna Krippa
  • Length: 18 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lover, murderer, mother, Tsarina. Memoirs of a Geisha meets Game of Thrones in this captivating epic charting the extraordinary rags-to-riches tale of the most powerful woman history ever forgot.

Spring 1699: illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of 15, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run. 

A world away, Russia's young ruler, Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Tsardom of Russia into a modern, Western empire. Countless lives will be lost in the process. 

Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia. But her rise to the top is ridden with peril. How long will she survive the machinations of Peter's court, and more importantly, Peter himself?

©2020 Sunbird Stories Limited (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This is the ultimate Cinderella story of an illiterate peasant girl who becomes the empress of Russia. It makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme." (Daisy Goodwin)

What listeners say about Tsarina

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  • Erika
  • 07-19-20

A ripping great page turner

Exciting story with firm foundation in historical facts. Clearly the author, Ellen Alpsten, used imagination to build in detail, but I found this book particularly compelling because it is not complete fiction. This book is not for the squeamish and does contain some quite explicit details of sex and violence, but those parts are not out of context and serve to portray the experiences of the individuals and of the times in which they lived, which were hard and violent. I found the book very enjoyable and it it not all sex and violence but allows the listener to take a journey into a different time and almost a different world, which is full of richness and colour. Anna Krippa narrates well at a suitable pace and gives a voice to each character so that they came alive for me. I recommend this audio book, which kept me company through many hours of housework and gardening.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss M
  • 03-02-22

Glimmers of good writing and interesting story, ruined by pages upon pages of gruesome details

This should be a fascinating story but it focuses on the most revolting sides of the story. It really does make Game of Thrones look like a kids TV show. Epically long and graphic scenes of rape over and over again. Far, far too much graphic detail, which is entirely unnecessary.Yet when the writer begins a beautiful description of grief and loss, it’s over within half a paragraph. I gave up halfway through as I just couldn’t be bothered. Glimmers of good writing and interesting story, ruined by pages upon pages of gruesome details.

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  • Kaff
  • 01-16-21

Good book

I enjoyed this book the story was fascinating but the cruelties of the time made it difficult for me to like any of the characters in the story, the "souls" were treated with appalling cruelty, but all in all a good listen, I hope the writer writes other books about the csarinas to the end of the line in 1917.

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  • Mr Jaguar
  • 10-04-20

Tsarina

I knew the fascinating story of the Tsarina Katherine already, so was interested to hear how it'd be re-told. I was surprised to find out that there was quite a lot of oral sex in the Petrine Russia. The book doesn't disappoint. Reading by Anna Krippa is great.

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  • The Curator
  • 10-02-20

Interesting story of a less well known character

It sounds like a Mills and Boon plot, peasant becomes Empress but it’s true in this case. The book is well-researched and fascinating. There’s a ton of sex (bless them for their commitment in a cold country!) and murder, just what a dynastic story needs. Unfortunately the narrator was a let down with simple mistakes (people had barely enough food to subside?!) and the strangest vowel sounds. Seriously, who pronounces cushion with a short u! Annoying but not ruinous.

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  • Ninecatz
  • 07-31-20

Excellent

Well written, great narration. The length of the book may be daunting, but every page is a winner. Well worth a credit...and a listen.

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  • KrissyJazz
  • 11-04-20

disapointment

full of cleshays, not very interesting, and disapointing this is all you can find on such an interesting real life figure.

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  • Kathleen Fahy
  • 02-09-22

Marvellous, compelling, unsettling.

I read about a book a week and this book is my number one book for the past three years. The elegant descriptive writing which weaves in the action and emotion makes it easy and compelling to read. The author keeps very close to the historically known facts of the time. Do yourself a favour and read it.