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DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE by Carolyn Tara O’Neil Kirkus Star


by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-250-75553-7
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

In 1918 Russia, czarist Anna and communist Evgenia form a tentative alliance to escape a ruthless Bolshevik commander.

Seventeen-year-old Anna is the sole survivor after her family is assassinated in Ekaterinburg. Her only hope of safety is finding her cousin who is stationed with the White Army. She offers 16-year-old peddler Evgenia a diamond in exchange for a ride on her old horse wagon. Evgenia, who’s a communist, agrees to help the bedraggled yet seemingly bourgeois Anna (whose true identity readers familiar with Russian history may divine before it is revealed in the narrative) because she’s desperate to afford a doctor to treat her injured soldier brother. Their journey is dangerous from the start but turns deadly when Evgenia’s branded a traitor and a Bolshevik secret police commander becomes set on killing both girls. Well-researched and accessible, this alternate history immerses readers in the Russian Revolution and the competing, equally bloodthirsty factions hoping to control the country’s destiny. A kind officer from the Czechoslovak Legion introduces a different perspective and the barest hint of romance. But Anna and Evgenia’s hard-earned friendship forms the heart of the tale and reinforces the importance of crossing class, political, and religious lines to find the humanity in all.

A riveting reimagining of a historical legend as a pulse-pounding thriller.

(historical note, pronunciation guide, author's note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 13-18)