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? Prophet or rascal? In this eye-opening short biography, which draws on previously unpublished material, Frances Welch turns her inimitable wry gaze on one of the great mysteries of Russian history.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 elegant and insightful short biography, Welch has done an excellent job of digging out the kind of telling detail that often gets swamped by the grand political narrative." - Mail on Sunday "A delight to read, if horror can be delightful." - Daily Telegraph "A dazzling book." - Daily Mail "Was Rasputin a prophet or a charlatan, a shrewd power player or a demented devilish idiot? The answer, according to this slim and witty volume, is a bit of everything" - The Times "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." - Orlando Figes, Sunday Times
Frances Welch is the author of The Russian Court at Sea (2011), Romanov Fantasy (2008) and Sydney Gibbes: Tutor to the Children of the Last Tsar (2004), all published by Short Books. She lives in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.