Another roll on the drums for Russia's royalty, this time Alexander I whose career was overshadowed by the murder of his father, by the threat of Napoleon's domination of Europe, and by his brooding love and fear for his sister, Catherine. From the peace of Tilsit, which first showed him adept at dissimulation, to the meeting with Napoleon at Erfurt and his promise, not kept, of marriage with one of his sisters, Alexander further insulted the Emperor by withholding promised troops while other phases of a ""comedy of friendship"" led to the deception of his own ministers, to time gained for the gathering of Russian forces that ravaged Napoleon's Grand Armee in 1812. With Napoleon driven from Europe, Alexander's concern for religion brought him to Madame von Krudener and her mysticism, to the Holy Alliance, and to the bitter farce of Araktcheief and the ""perfect system"" which resulted in further brutalities for the peasants; the years turned him from a sensualist to a staid consort; death caught him before he could enact a last part. A disputed, mercurial, contradictory figure is here highlighted against the troubled backgrounds of national, international and personal life in more than fair perspective. History in fiction form, this will also have its interest for the Napoleonic market.