• Tsarina

  • A Novel
  • By: Ellen Alpsten
  • Narrated by: Anna Krippa
  • Length: 18 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.18

Buy for $31.18

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

"Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme." (Daisy Goodwin, New York Times best-selling author of The Fortune Hunter)

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times." (Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author)

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten's rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power. 

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless, and passionate as Peter himself. 

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendor and opulence of her new life - the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber - she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the crown for herself? 

From the sensuous pleasures of a decadent aristocracy, to the incense-filled rites of the Orthodox Church and the terror of Peter’s torture chambers, the intoxicating and dangerous world of Imperial Russia is brought to vivid life. 

Tsarina is the story of one remarkable woman whose bid for power would transform the Russian Empire.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press 

©2020 Ellen Alpsten (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Tsarina

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Lots of detailed sex (just so you know)

Great story of actual historical events but LOTS of detailed sex scenes. Very long but left you wanting to know more...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Russian History for the Win!

I adore Russian history and believe there needs to be more historical fiction that’s set in this country. Catherine I is very overshadowed by her granddaughter-in-law, Catherine II (the Great) so it was wonderful to read a full scale treatment of her remarkable life. While her reign was short (two years), her most significant contribution was giving birth to a future empress that transformed Russia—her daughter Elizabeth would ascend the throne a few years after her death. Additionally, her daughter Anna gave birth to Paul I, who is better known for being overthrown by his wife, the Empress Catherine II. None of this is mentioned in the novel, not even in a note at the end, and I think it should have been.

Also, there is A LOT of explicit sex in this novel. I’m not a prude but towards the end of the novel, I started skipping ahead because I was over it. Certainly sex played a significant part of Catherine’s rise to power (as it did with many of history’s most powerful women) but geez, there’s only so many times it can be used in a story without becoming superfluous.

Other than that, “Tsarina” was a wonderful book and I hope to read more from the author in the future.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow. This is historical fiction at its best!

Not flinching from the abuses of Peter, the author drags us through two and a half decades of his companion and wife, Catherine, and his life with her. I say “drag” as you often want to stop hearing and seeing this syphylitic monster of a man. As expected, Catherine transforms from a girl of poverty into a person that young girl would no longer recognize. The reader is left to ponder the atmosphere of this accepted cruelty and immorality of the court of Peter, and the starvation and acceptance of this type of rule by the people of Russia —who are impoverished, frozen, and at war the vast majority of Peter’s rule. I will not call him “the Great”, and nor will you after this book.
I highly recommend this read if you enjoy historical fiction.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story and narrator

I'll admit I haven't read much Russian History, fiction or non fiction, but I have to say that this book totally ignited a curiosity in me about all the characters in it. I found myself researching all the main players as the book progressed, just to get more information about their life and times.
And as well written and full of intrigue and drama that this book has, the narrator is truly the crowning touch to the extraordinary talent of the author. Her beautifully accented voice and inflection throughout the story bring you to every emotion to be experienced. The soothing melodic accent combined with her fluent russian pronunciation sounds beautiful. I believe I would listen to any book she narrated just to hear it again.
Kudos to this author for a masterpiece of well researched and written history, woven into an unforgettable story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting story

I really enjoyed the stories of old Russia and of Catherine the great, who'd have thought she could rise so far

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator was wonderful

this book was absolutely enchanting. the story of Marta/Catherine I was not only impressive but lovely. the narrator was absolutely wonderful and her pronunciation of the Russian names was beautiful. many steamy scenes that were (mostly) tastefully written, and the way the author set scenes or made me hear the ruffle of fabric is all due to incredible writing. I also appreciated how long the book was.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow

I was enraptured by this story from start to finish. The narration was beautifully done. Reading about Catherine I was an amazing journey, and I even started to feel bad for the emperor towards the end a little. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and recommend to all.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • 04-08-22

Complicated story...

Brutal but fascinating. From lowly serf to Empress of all Russia. Improbable but entirely true.