You NEED to be familiar with Sigrid Weidenweber!!! She is a fabulous author that has written a novel called Catherine and tells the story of the great monarch of Russia. She brings this interesting time in history alive with her story line of Catherine the Great. It is a strong story - well-written and one that is FULL of history. You see how the people lived, feel the violence and terror in the times, and also feel like you are witnessing the great tragedies as well. I found it very interesting and refreshing. It wasn't typical for me - it was fresh and full of energy. I WILL be back for the second in this trilogy! This is part of a trilogy - the Volga Flows Forever Trilogy.