A masterly study of one of the most colorful monarchs in all of history. "Magisterial and authoritative.a panoramic view of Russia's social, political, economic and culture development."--The New York Times Book Review. "Reads with the excitement of good fiction.a sparkling story."--Chicago Sun-Times. "Highly recommended."--Choice. "Engrossing narrative is rich with human interest and transports the reader back into 18th-century Russia."--Publishers Weekly. "A well-balanced scholarly treatment.meticulous research."--Library Journal.