The year is 1916 in Russia. Rasputin, the "Mad Monk" whom Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra viewed as a saintly mystic, visionary, healer and prophet, has prophesied his own murder, the downfall of the Romanov dynasty and the coming of the Bolshevik Revolution. But there were also visions of hope – "There will be salvation. The blood of our body will resurrect itself. Only a raven and an eagle can succeed where all fail and that the innocence of beasts will guard and lead the way. God will provide a way to be sure of righteousness."
Fast forward to present-day Moscow where Miles Lord, an Atlanta lawyer, fluent in Russian and it’s history, is thrilled to be there on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen from among the distant relatives of Nicholas II by a specially appointed commision, and Miles’ job is to perform a background check on the tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen. But in his research Lord stumbles on letters and evidence long-buried that reveal the strong possibility that two of the royal children survived the Romanov masacre – Alexei and Anastasia. This knowledge puts his life in danger. Running for his life leads him to a Russian history professor and a Russian circus performer, Akilina Petrovna. The history professor reveals to Lord Rasputin’s cryptic message, convincing him that he is the “raven” of the prophecy, and that he and Akilina, whose name means “eagle” in old Russian, are to be the team that will succeed in finding the lost heirs of the Romanov dynasty. The search takes them across continents to find the meaning of clues hidden a century ago by the protectors of this secret.
If you like Dan Brown’s books, you will love this and all Steve Berry’s novels. They are rich with history and suspense, a great combo for a great read.