The Tzar’s Curious Runaways


A mystical tale set in eighteenth century Russia in the reign of Peter the Great. A time when real people believed in the unreal and you were never far away from a world of witches, wolves and magic.

‘Vividly told.’ – Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

‘A truly enchanting and exceptional début with all the callings of a contemporary classic. Word perfect, it reads like Rundell, Ibbotson & Pullman in harmony with each other. It held my heart in its pages. Storytelling magic.’ – Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher

‘A brilliantly suspenseful novel, which should have even the most reluctant reader eager to reach the next cliff-edge.’  – Emily Bearn, Telegraph, Book of the Week, number 39 in the roundup of the Best Children’s Books of the Year 2019

‘A vivid and vibrant adventure celebrating difference and friendship. Thrilling and moving.’  – Clare Balding

‘A wonderful blend of factual research and magical adventure.’  – Just Imagine

‘A journey of heart and soul with one of the most interesting sets of individual characters that you will find in children’s literature.’  – Mr Ripely’s Enchanted Books

‘A gripping and suspenseful story.’  – Get Kids into Books

‘Scott-Elliot’s writing is flowing, with beautiful descriptions and a brilliant gripping pace.’  – Books for Topics

‘A beautifully crafted debut brimming with adventure – a classic in the making.’  – A. M. Howell, author of The Garden of Lost Secrets



St Petersburg Russia 1725. The Tzar is dead. Everything that Katinka Dashkova knows is changing. Katinka, a dazzling ballerina with a hunched back, and her friends Alexei the Giant and Nikolai the Dwarf are different. That’s why they’re part of the Tzar’s Circus of Curiosities. Peter the Great was an avid collector of the extraordinary, both people and objects. But the Tzar is dead and they must flee the Winter Palace. Guided by a special map, drawn for them by the Tzar’s mysterious librarian, they set out across Russia in search of a place they can call home.

Set in a time and place not that far removed from the world of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, this is a poignantly written debut with a blend of real and imagined, and with an atmosphere and tone that belongs to folk and fairy tales where brutality and beauty meet.

For fans of Katherine Rundell, Emma Carroll and Sophie Anderson and reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty and the film, The Greatest Showman.


Book Details


198mm x 129mm






17th October 2019




Robin Scott-Elliot