The House of Special Purpose
When Georgy Jachmenev inadvertently stops a bullet meant for the Tsar’s uncle, his life is changed forever.
It is 1916 and the 17-year-old Georgy is transported from his simple life of farmer’s boy to become companion to the young Tsarevitch, Alexei Romanov. The Tsar, Nicolas, takes a liking to young Georgy and allows him access to his library. Georgy settles in and witnesses intimate scenes of the family’s life and falls in love with the Grand Duchess Anastasia. He also witnesses the downfall and execution of the imperial family.
This story is told in a series of flashbacks from the year 1981 and, now in exile, Georgy is reminiscing as he sits by his wife Zoya’s deathbed. This constant switching of time and place is disconcerting, and, like a switchback ride, makes for an uncomfortable journey. The denouement is contrived and not at all convincing. Fans of Boyne will probably enjoy this, but it sadly does not live up to the promise that was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.