Praise and Reviews

“Gripping from the first moment to its surprise ending, I literally couldn’t put down The Kitchen Boy. Alexander brings each character, from the lowest and most peripheral, to those at the heart of the tragedy, magnificently to life. Not only is it one of the best pieces of historical fiction I’ve read in quite some time, it’s a rippingly good story, wonderfully told. Sure to be a huge success.”
— Susan Madison, author of The Color of Hope


“Drawing on 30 years of research and archival source documents, first novelist Alexander transforms a now-familiar and bloody era of history – the Bolshevik Revolution and the Romanov massacre – into a suspenseful and richly layered account of a family in deadly peril.  The story is told from the viewpoint of a surviving witness, the kitchen boy who worked in the house where the Romanovs were imprisoned in 1918.  Now an ailing grandfather, Misha records his experiences on tape so that his American granddaughter will know his real history.

Tsar Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra, are portrayed as loving but achingly flawed people whose poor judgments lead inexorably to the family’s destruction.  The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, come off as comic book villains.  Because the fate of two Romanov children, Alexei and Marie, is still not known (their bodies were missing from the family’s grave site when it was exhumed in 1991), Alexander’s version of what might have befallen them packs a wallop that is surprising but consistent with his story.  Sure to entrance readers in most public libraries, this is recommended for most historical fiction collections.”
Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress, Library Journal, January 2003




In this novel of vivid historical detail and intrigue, an ancient Russian immigrant sits down to record the dark secrets of his life, for he claims to be the last living witness to the brutal murders of Nicholas and Alexandra.

With haunting prose, Robert Alexander brings to life the Romanovs’ kitchen boy, Leonka, who the Bolsheviks mysteriously spared and who in turn vanished into the bloody tides of the Russian revolution.

But what did the young boy see in those final days of the Imperial Family?

Would he know the truth of the secret letters smuggled to the Tsar?  Where thirty-eight pounds of tsarist jewels are to be found?  Why two bodies of the Romanov children are missing from the secret grave that was finally discovered in 1991?  And most important of all, will the now-ancient man reveal what he knows before he dies?

Inspired by actual events and people, Robert Alexander recreates not only the last days of the Romanovs during their imprisonment in The House of Special Purpose, but also their gruesome end.

Through the eyes of their kitchen boy, we see Nicholas and Alexandra’s humble faith, their intense love for one another, and their five devoted children.  We also see how bravely they suffered.

In this heart-breaking tale readers will be absorbed by the tragic story of a family so much different and yet so similar to any other.

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Alexander has created a fascinating and chilling story that explores the mysteries of the last days of Nicholas and Alexandra.  This is historical fiction at its best – a tale based in fact but with all the atmosphere and surprise of an incredible novel.


Reader’s Guide

Whether you are in a book club,or just interested in learning more about The Kitchen Boy, the Reader’s Guide is for you. It includes an interview with the author, Robert Alexander, and a list of questions designed to spark your discussions. Download the Reader’s Guide here.




With the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution approaching,
encounter the bestselling novel that brings this pivotal historical moment to life.

Order your copy today

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient),
directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters)

Further Reading

d’Encausse, Helen Carrere.
Nicholas II: The Interrupted Transition.
Holmes and Meier Publishers Inc, 2000.

Galitzine, Katya.
St Petersburg: The Hidden Interiors.
The Vendome Press, 1999.

Iroshnikov, Prostai, and Shelayev.
The Sunset of the Romanov Dynasty.
Terra, 1992.

King, Greg.
The Last Empress: The Life and Times of Empress Alexandra Feodorvna, Tsarina of Russia.
Birch Lane, 1994.

King, Greg, Wilson, Penny.
The Fate of the Romanovs.
John Wiley and Sons, 2003.

Kurth, Peter.
Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra.
Little, Brown, and Co., 1995.

Massie, Robert.
Nicholas and Alexandra.
Atheneum, 1969.

Massie, Robert.
The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.
New York,  Random House, 1995.