Russia, 1915: Sixteen year old farmer's son Georgy Jachmenev steps in front of an assassin's bullet intended for a senior member of the Russian Imperial Family and is instantly proclaimed a hero. Rewarded with the position of bodyguard to Alexei Romanov, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II, the course of his life is changed for ever.
Privy to the secrets of Nicholas and Alexandra, the machinations of Rasputin and the events which will lead to the final collapse of the autocracy, Georgy is both a witness and participant in a drama that will echo down the century.
Sixty-five years later, visiting his wife Zoya as she lies in a London hospital, memories of the life they have lived together flood his mind. And with them, the consequences of the brutal fate of the Romanovs which has hung like a shroud over every aspect of their marriage...
"Boyne is a skilled storyteller... his novel is an exciting, fast-paced story... absorbing and richly satisfying"
"John Boyne has a talent for bringing big historical events to life... Boyne has skilfully drawn a living, breathing character who not only witnessed one of the greatest events of the 20th century but also had his own part to play in how the dramatic tale unravels"
"Boyne writes with consumnate ease, and is particularly good at drawing the indecently rich world of the pre-revolutionary Romanovs"
"A wonderful, many-layered novel, written with thought and tenderness... mesmerising"
"Boyne exercises total control over pace and revelation. A work that chimes perfectly with our times"
From John Boyne to Jan Carson, here are four books the Penguin Ireland team can’t wait to start reading this Spring.
John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky tells a timely tale of the lies, ambition and manipulation of a ruthless writer with great talent but no imagination. Maurice Swift, a would-be author who befriends an older novelist to further his career is the main character. Here, John Boyne introduces an extract by explaining his motivation.