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The Curse of the Romanovs

The Curse of the Romanovs

For Ages: 12 and up
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Alexei Romanov, heir to the Russian throne, is in deadly danger.

It¹s 1916, the struggling Russian people are tired of war and are blaming their Romanov rulers for it, and some are secretly plotting to murder the young heir and his family. But nobody outside the palace knows that Alexei suffers from a terrible bleeding disease, hemophilia, which threatens to finish him off even before the family¹s enemies can. The only person able to help Alexei is the evil and powerful religious mystic Rasputin -- and now Rasputin is trying to kill him too! Desperate, Alexei flees through time to New York City in 2010, using a method taught to him by the mad monk himself.

In New York, Alexei meets smart and sassy Varda Rosenberg, and discovers she is a distant cousin. Varda is working on a gene therapy cure for hemophilia, as the disease still runs in the family. When Alexei learns that history shows that his entire family will be assassinated in 1918, he and Varda travel back in time to the Russian Revolution, with Rasputin hot on their heels. Will they be able to rescue Alexei¹s family before it¹s too late?

Staton Rabin lets Alexei tell his own riveting story in a rousing adventure with stunning surprises -- a movingly authentic look at royalty and revolution in the days of the tsars.
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442407268 | 
  • October 2009 | 
  • Grades 7 and up
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Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write The Curse of the Romanovs?

A. The Curse of the Romanovs began as a short story of mine many years ago. An American teenage girl-- a budding scientist-- is peering into a microscope, examining a drop of blood on a glass slide. To her astonishment, she sees a miniature boy swimming in that drop of blood, screaming for help. He claims to be Alexei Romanov, the Tsar's son and the heir to the Russian throne in l9l7, who is a hemophiliac (in other words, he has a bleeding disease). Through magic, he instantly reverts back to normal size and is standing next to her, real as can be, but naturally at first she doesn't believe he's who he says he is. That was the idea that many years later became the spark for the story I tell in my book-- though in the end my novel became quite different from the original concept. But the basic idea of a time travel story involving those two characters started with that short story. My novel Betsy and the Emperor started with a movie idea of mine, based on a real conversation I read in a history book that had taken place between Napoleon Bonaparte and a teen English girl named Betsy Balcombe. He met Betsy when he was being held prisoner by the British on St. Helena, and I thought their relationship was fascinating. She kind of bossed him around! Naturally, I spent a long time doing research and planning the story before writing the book. My book has been optioned for a movie with Al Pacino attached to star as Napoleon, and it's also published in l4 languages. Black Powder grew out of my question, "Wouldn't the world be a better place if guns had never been invented?" I've also always like fast-paced and fun time travel adventures like the movie, Back to the Future. So I wanted to write my own, original story in that genre, but with an African American teen as its hero. It would blend a serious central question and high stakes with a lot of comedy. I also wanted this young man to defy some reader's stereotypes about teens living in Los Angeles. He would be a great student, a science whiz, and it would be the white teen, not the black teen, who belonged to a street gang.

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