Citadels of fire, p.1
Citadels of Fire, p.1L.K. Hill
Citadels of Fire
By L.K. Hill
Foreword by Dr. Larae Larkin
Copyright 2014 L.K. Hill
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Copyright © 2014 by L.K. Hill
Cover art © Chris Loke 2014
First Trade Paperback Edition: May 2014
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Table of Contents
Also by L.K. Hill
Connect With the Author
About the Author
To my dad—my first reader, most ardent
supporter, and biggest cheerleader.
People who don’t believe in heroes
have obviously never met him.
I love you, Dad!
The history in this book is based on true events. Ivan the Terrible is one of the most well-known and notorious leaders in Russian history. He was the first leader of unified Russia to crown himself Tsar, and his marriage resulted in the elevation of the Romanov family—the descendants of whom would remain royalty for many years, culminating in the notorious fate of Nicholas and his family during the Bolshevik revolution just prior to World War I.
As a deep respecter of history, I’ve tried to stay true to it as much as I could. It’s important to note, however, that I have collapsed the timeline a bit. Things in this book happen more quickly than they did in the actual history, so the dates may not always line up correctly. I’ve taken these liberties in order to serve the story, though I did my best to remain true to the events and characters as they are described in the annals.
Liesel Hill’s latest novel, Book I of the Kremlin trilogy, Citadel of Fire, is an intriguing and gripping story of life in Muscovite Russia under the reign of Ivan IV (Terrible). She was a student of mine in Russian history classes at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she was an exceptional scholar and was thoroughly fascinated by tsarist history. Since her graduation Liesel has kept in touch with me on her research and progress. We have discussed politics, cultural customs, religion, as well as the historical dynamics of the imperial regimes of the Muscovite monarchs and, in particular, Ivan the Terrible.
In her research for this novel, I have never failed to be impressed with her attention to detail, such as customs and social mores that have played such a significant role in Russian life. From the lowest classes to the nobility and royal family, Liesel has described her characters, their social roles, their aspirations and restrictions in vivid detail. She has given life and reality to a country and era that has, to a large extent, remained a mystery. The lives and regimes of early Russia have primarily been recorded only by the Orthodox clergy. Very little of the lives, misfortunes, struggles and local culture of the peasants, city workers, and lower classes have been revealed. Not until the nineteenth century were inroads made into the lives of the common masses.
With the era of glasnost and perestroika under the Gorbachev government the veil of secrecy has been lifted. Through openness and some democratic reforms early history, politics and social conditions have been exposed and made available to the world. Misperceptions and misunderstandings have now been replaced by truth and reality.
Liesel’s novel intermingles several primary actors from an orphan girl to boyars, to Ivan the Terrible. However, the story centers primarily around Inga, the young orphan who becomes a house servant in the estate of the royal family just shortly before the birth of the future tsar, Ivan IV. Her youth against this backdrop takes many turns, showing the various customs, class distinctions, superstitions, and political intrigue. She meets a young man of mixed parentage, Taras, who has fled England to live in Russia with relatives there. Taras meets and falls in love with Inga, and throughout the remainder of the saga will play a major role in Ivan’s military officer corps.
Although Inga and the other servants demonstrate their loyalty to the royal family, and in particular Ivan, Taras recognizes the potential brutality of the young tsar. The intrigues throughout the story reveal the precarious lifestyle that all who serves the emperor is subject to. While considered a man of God, Ivan’s more brutal nature emerges. Yet, the prevailing opinion among courtiers, citizenry, and commoners is that his divinity is vital to the security of the state.
The author describes in vivid detail the punishments inflicted on disloyal citizens and the great battle as the Russians under Ivan’s leadership defeat the Tatars in the Battle of Kazan.
This brutality from Ivan’s time to the Soviet era and even to the present illustrates a common thread in Russian power, that of absolute rule, centralized control, and blind subordination to the powers, whether Tsar or Commissar.
Dr. LaRae Larkin
Associate Professor–Weber State University
East European History
Lightning strikes the Kremlin Wall
A baby wails at birth
Learns survival, climbs through intrigue, hides in deceit
The infant cries.
Young animals on spikes
The child laughs.
Tranquility is almost skin deep…
Citadels of Fire by L.K. Hill / History & Fiction have rating 4.4 out of 5 / Based on35 votes