Grigory Rasputin, the Siberian peasant-turned-mystic, was as fascinating as he was unfathomable. He played the role of the simple man, eating with his fingers and boasting, ‘I don’t even know my ABC…’ But, as the only person able to relieve the symptoms of haemophilia in the Tsar’s heir Alexis, he gained almost hallowed status within the Imperial court.
During the last decade of his life, he and his band of ‘little ladies’ came to symbolise all that was decadent and remote about the royal family. His role in the downfall of the tsarist regime is beyond dispute. But who was he really?
In this eye-opening short biography, which draws on previously unpublished material, Frances Welch turns her inimitable wry gaze on one of the great mysteries of Russian history.
“In this slender and enjoyable biography, Frances Welch sets about her search for the man with common sense, wry observation and insight...she writes delightfully.”
“A delight to read, if horror can be delightful.”
“Elegant and insightful... Welch has done an excellent job of digging out the kind of telling detail that often gets swamped by the grand political narrative”
Frances Welch has written for the Sunday Telegraph, Granta, The Spectator and the Financial Times. She is co-author of Memories of Revolution: Russian Women Remember (Routledge, 1993), The Romanov & Mr Gibbes (Short Books, 2003) and A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson (Short Books, 2007) She is married to the writer Craig Brown, and has two children. She lives in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.