Monday, February 19, 2018

Getting the most out of reading Compromised by the Prince's Touch #1

I loved writing Nikolay's story! The reason? Because it's more than just a romance. There are layers upon layers to appreciate, not unlike Russian culture itself. But because of that, Nikolay's story is for a very sophisticated reader's palate.  I want to start with a short post here about the general construction of the story and the series.

The series as whole addresses some aspect of Russian culture, history  and lifestyle in each of the books as well as addressing the immigrant story--a theme that remains relevant throughout the ages but is particularly relevant in today's news. Nikolay's story looks at the historical dilemma of change vs. tradition, something that Russian history is cyclically fraught with revolt attempts. Do not think the idea of a Russian revolution is limited to the 1917 revolution. in 1648 it was the Moscow Uprising, in 1682 it was another Moscow Uprising, in 1698 it was the Streltsky uprising, there's a pair of attempted revolts in 1817 and again in 1825 (those two are the ones Nikolay's story is built around).  There was the 1905 revolt which encouraged Nikolas II to move from a monarchy to a constitutional monarchy etc.  There are more, but enough said. You get the point. The series translates that tension between change and tradition into the world of Kuban, a fictional southern Russian Cossack kingdom with a repressive Tsar who refuses to reform.

Nikolay's story rotates around the St. Petersburg palace revolts, which were attempts to put a less repressive Tsar on the Russian throne. Some historical points to note: After the 1817 revolt, those who fled went abroad as one of their hiding places. And yes, cells abroad did continue to plot, and yes, the plotters for this revolution which would eventually take place in 1825 were high ranking military officers and nobles, which made it unique. So, it's not implausible that Alexei Grigoriev would be entertaining such notions or that he'd approach the discontent expatriate, Prince Nikolay for help. Nikolay is ideal-- he's a military officer and he's a prince.

Second, there is indeed a secret society called the Union of Salvation and they did indeed have two arms, a northern and southern branch. Nikolay would have been a likely member.

Third, there were indeed several arms dealers and consortiums willing to sell arms to international parties after the Napoleonic Wars. These arms manufacturers no longer had the bulk outlet they once had in the English army in a time of peace and were eagerly looking for new markets.  Cabot Roan, the man who does the arm deals with Grigoriev is featured in Book #4 of the Wallflowers to Wives series, "Marrying the Rebellious  Miss," as the villain.

Fourth, Kuban is a real geographic region populated by Cossacks and by those who were willing to move there. Russian colonized the Kuban region in an attempt to make it a buffer between Russia and the Ottoman empire beginning in the 1700s.  A series of forts were built there and civilization followed. But beyond that, the rest is my own imaginings.

The second world-building layer I want to point out is the subtle nod to Russian literature. This book is scopey, especially for a historical series book. Like many Russian novels, this story takes place against the backdrop of sweeping events. Think Dr. Zhivago, Anna Karenina etc. this story is about two people finding one another against events so much larger than themselves, a reminder that even in times of trouble and conflict, love trumps all.

I hope you enjoy the subsequent posts about Nikolay and Klara's story!! And I hope they intrigue you to read the book.

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