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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ivan the Terrible of Russia: Backdrop for a Historical Saga

Ivan the Terrible
It's been awhile since I posted about Russia or Ivan the Terrible. I read something that suggested that a great idea for a blog post for authors is to write about the back story or world that your story take place in. As I explained in THIS POST, the release date for Citadels of Fire was pushed to next year, but that doesn't mean I can't talk about the world it's set in.

So Ivan the Terrible was a tyrant who sat the throne of Russia during the 1500s. He was the first ruler to adopt the title of "Tsar" which is the Russian equivalent of Caesar. He was revered by his people, even though he was brutal.

Ivan was a very lonely child. His father died when he was only three, making him ruler of Russia under his mother, who would serve as regent until he came of age. When Ivan was eight, she died, and little Ivan, along with his simple-minded brother, Yuri, were swept under the rug. Every time Ivan latched onto someone and came to care for them, they were murdered in the bloody gyre that was the struggle for the Russian throne. The two boys often slept in closets or hid from assassins. Their childhood was full of paranoia and mistrust...

As Ivan entered his teen years, he began practicing domination over the only creatures he could: animals that were smaller than himself. He often dissected live cats or threw puppies from the castle ramparts, delighting in seeing them hit the stones of the courtyard below, or be impaled on the upward pointing spikes of the guards.

He was fascinated with cutting open live things and seeing how their innards worked.

At thirteen, he committed his first rape. Simply threw a woman to the ground and did the deed. The men around him congratulated him on having such firm control of his manhood at such an early age.

At age 17, he took control of his country, crowned himself Tsar, and began putting those who opposed him to death. He also married Anastasia Romanov, the first Romanov that was royalty. 

Ivan the Terrible
For man years, Ivan was happy because of his wife. She calmed him down. He became less brutal because she asked him to be, and he loved her. When she died, though, he became worse than he ever was in his youth.

Like Vlad the Impaler, he delighted in murder and always tried to find new and more violent, torturous ways to kill people. His reign was one of terror and murder. 

In this world of fear and despair, I placed my main character, Inga. She's a maid who's grown up in the Kremlin palace, seeing the horror of Ivan's life firsthand. The only thing she knows is fear and danger. She doesn't know how to trust or be free enough to love.

When Taras, an English soldier, returns to Russia after being away for years to solve the mystery of his mother's death, he and Inga cross paths. They strike up a mutually beneficial relationship, which leads to romance, but they're up against the social confines of their time, the sexual politics of the Russian court, and the bloody antics of the most brutal ruler Russia has ever known...

Read full press release HERE.

What do you think for the backdrop of my story? Will it make a compelling historical world?


  1. Wow. Creepy images of dear Ivan. The top one is creepier.

  2. I'm sure there's a picture of the guy smiling, but it's probably even creepier than these.