The Rasputin Dagger is the new YA book from author Theresa Breslin. The book is a historical romance book and is set to follow in the footsteps of Theresa’s other books and become a best seller.
Read on to find out more about the book and Theresa’s inspiration for the stunning cover.
The Rasputin Dagger: The Cover and The Blurb
Nina Ivanovna’s world is in turmoil. Her only hope is to travel to St Petersburg, to escape the past and find a future.
Stefan Kolodin is a medical student – young and idealistic, he wants change for Russia and its people.
Amidst the chaos of a city in revolt, their lives collide. And a stormy relationship develops full of passion and politics.
But soon Nina is drawn in to the glamorous, lavish lives of the Russian royal family –where she begins to fall under the spell of their mysterious monk, Grigory Rasputin.
The ruby-studded dagger he carries – beautiful and deadly – could save her and Stefan from a cursed life or condemn them to it.
The Rasputin Dagger: Theresa’s Cover Inspiration
For me the cover of The Rasputin Dagger has got that ‘Pick-Me-Up-And-Read-Me’ look about it.
During 1916 in St Petersburg in Russia two young people, Nina and Stefan, meet and immediately clash; the force of their personalities driving them apart. But over the next two years their lives intertwine with those of the women who queue daily for bread, the ordinary soldier, the Tsar and his family, and the hypnotic and enigmatic monk, Grigory Rasputin. As war and revolution shatter the city, Nina and Stefan struggle to survive.
It was a slightly spooky serendipity moment when I saw the cover of my new book, The Rasputin Dagger. As I looked at the bridge, with the outline of the dazzling domes of the Church on the Spilled Blood ghosted in the background, something chimed in my head. And so I went searching through my research notes and photo files of St Petersburg – which at the time of the book was the capital city of the Tsars.
The texture of the cover, with tones of washed white, seems so apt. Winter there brings the traditional Russian snowy cityscapes, and, as St Petersburg lies far to the north, during high summer the sun barely sets, resulting in almost continuous twilight famously known as the ‘White Nights’.
It is on one of those evenings that Stefan sees Nina on the bridge…
Above Nina, in blood red, runs the title of the book. The font echoes a script of Imperial times. In the story the Tsarina Alexandra writes to ask Nina to join the family in the Royal Palace to help with her young son, the sickly Alexei. The boy is the sole heir to the Imperial Crown. Thus it is an invitation that cannot be refused. Other notes are written, warnings of desperate danger, and a single line sentence from Stefan which causes Nina, alone and increasingly afraid, to sleep with it under her pillow.
Within the letters of the title on the cover the ‘I’ in ‘Rasputin’ has become the dagger of the title. And it is on this that the story turns, for the mysterious monk, Grigory Rasputin, carries a curved dagger set with a blazing ruby stone. And he has the strangest tale to tell of the power contained within the dagger.
What no one knows is that this dagger is a mirror image of the one left to Nina by her father.
Theresa Breslin is the Carnegie Medal winning author of over thirty books for children and young adults whose work has appeared on stage, radio and TV. Her books are hugely popular with young people, librarians and teachers. Remembrance, her top selling YA novel of youth in WW1, has now been reissued to include Book Notes. The Dream Master was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award. Divided City was shortlisted for ten book awards, winning two outright.
The Rasputin Dagger is available now.