The first chapter in Liesel K. Hill’s CITADELS OF FIRE, the first book in her Kremlins trilogy, sets the tone for much of the book. From the beginning, it brought tears to my eyes over the treatment of a 6-year-old girl (I have a 6-year-old of my own, so that’s what made reading it so hard) who would become the heroine of the story.
The tale follows the humble life of the servant Inga at the Russian palace, the Kremlin, and her atypical relationship with a court aristocrat (a boyar), Taras. Being of mixed English and Russian blood, Taras isn't the archetypal Russian aristocrat, but every bit a hero in the way he treats woman and servants with respect as human beings, something largely unheeded during that time. This allows a relationship between Inga and Taras to bud and thrive within the royal walls.
Having studied Russian history in college, Ms. Hill intertwines historical facts as pertaining to the historical figures in the book. She describes the events that took place during that time in Russia under the reign of the young tsar, Ivan the Terrible. Her imageries are ideally portrayed, taking the reader into the very heart of the Kremlin and the city beyond its walls. It’s a riveting story of the cruelties, triumphs, failures, hopes, and despairs of all classes of people, but most of all, it’s a tale of the miracle of love that emerges between two contrary sources: A lowly servant and an aristocrat.
READERS NOTE: There is no bad language, but brutal images of court life, war, natural disasters, and the injustices that occurred between people of differing social status, are vivid and may be too much for a sensitive reader. There’s a lot of blood and beatings, some animal and human torture and a few instances of rape.
Citadels of Fire can be found here:
Liesel K. Hill can be found here:
Other Books by Liesel K. Hill: