17 October 2019
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.
A brilliantly suspenseful novel, which should have even the most reluctant reader eager to reach the next cliff-edge.
A vividly told debut.
A magical, heart warming and gripping adventure novel which places young people with a disability centre stage. The ideal book to curl up with during the cold, dark winter months.
Historical fiction at its best.
This is a magical tale that immediately scoops up the unsuspecting reader to propel them on a breath-catching journey across snow-capped Russia. Together, Kat, Alexei and Nikolai must search for the safety, happiness and the home that they deserve. A thrilling and thought-provoking page-turner, effectively fusing historical fact with magic, mystical maps, wizards and wood spirits.
Robin Scott-Elliot’s history as a sports journalist shines through in the action scenes. From fighting with wolves to an intense getaway across an icy river, Scott-Elliot skilfully describes the action in a way that keeps readers glued to the page.
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.
A vivid and vibrant adventure celebrating difference and friendship. Thrilling and moving.
A wonderful blend of factual research and magical adventure.
A journey of heart and soul with one of the most interesting sets of individual characters that you will find in children’s literature.
A gripping and suspenseful story.
Scott-Elliot’s writing is flowing, with beautiful descriptions and a brilliant gripping pace.
A beautifully crafted debut brimming with adventure – a classic in the making.