Books & Books launches its 2009 Visiting Author series

Three authors are set to visit Books & Books at Camana Bay in the next two weeks as its popular Visiting Author Series returns for 2009.

Robert Alexander, author of The Kitchen Boy, a national bestseller, and Rasputin’s Daughter, will be on island this Friday, 20 February at 7pm at Books & Books to read from his latest novel, The Romanov Bride.

Returning to revolutionary Russia in The Romanov Bride, Mr. Alexander tells the story of a Romanov Grand Duchess and the peasant who determined her fate.

For nearly 30 years, Robert Alexander (a pseudonym for mystery writer R.D. Zimmerman) has been travelling to Russia, where he has attended Leningrad State University and worked for the US Government.

Next Saturday, 28 February, Books & Books will host another historical novelist, Flora Fraser, daughter of acclaimed biographer Lady Antonia Fraser.

In her newest biography, Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire, she uncovers the brilliant life of Napoleon’s favourite sister.

Fraser has also written Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III and Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma Lady Hamilton.

During her visit to Books & Books at 7pm on Saturday, 28 February, Ms Fraser will lecture on a subject she calls ‘the most outrageous character I have ever written about.’

The night before, on Friday, 27 February, mystery author Bob Morris will visit the bookstore to read from his latest novel, A Deadly Silver Sea.

Mr. Morris is a former newspaper columnist and magazine editor turned mystery writer. Bahamarama was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe award for Best First Mystery Novel. Jamaica Me Dead was a BookSense Pick and an International Mystery Bookstore Association bestseller. Bermuda Schwartz was on a number of bestseller lists and won a Florida Book Award bronze medal.

This latest novel is a thriller set on the inaugural voyage of the world’s most exclusive cruise ship. It is the fourth book in a series featuring Zack Chasteen, a former pro football player turned palm green grower, who has been praised by critics as ‘the new knight errant of the Caribbean’.

The author, former editor-in-chief of Caribbean Travel & Life, will be visiting Grand Cayman on assignment for the magazine. While on island, he also plans to lay the groundwork for an upcoming novel that will be set here.

‘I’ve visited Grand Cayman several times in the past and have long wanted to set a mystery novel here,’ said Mr. Morris, who is also a contributor to National Geographic Traveler, Bon Appetit and other magazines.

‘The mix of characters on Grand Cayman offers plenty of opportunity for murder, mayhem and intrigue.’

All of these author events are free and open to the public and will be followed by book signings.

Synopsis – The Romanov Bride

The Romanov Bride follows the lives of two revolutionary souls, that of the Grand Duchess Elisavyeta (or Ella), sister of the Tsarista Alexksandra, and that of Pavel, a simple village man in search of a better life.

The life of Grand Duchess Elisavyeta begins like a fairy tale. Born a princess of Germany she marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the most lavish and magnificent court in the world, that of the mighty Romanovs.

Her husband rules Moscow as he does his wife, with a cold, hard fist.

For Pavel, and his young bride Shura, life in Sankt Peterburg means being barely able to afford bread and living in a cellar crowded with other families.

Disaster, however, strikes when tsarist soldiers fire on a peaceful political demonstration and Pavel’s wife is killed. Bereft and now full of nothing but hatred for the Romanovs, Pavel becomes a dedicated and deadly revolutionary.

In retaliation, Pavel joins an underground group that tracks down Grand Duchess Elisavyeta’s husband and hurls a bomb at him, blowing him to pieces. Elisavyeta’s life takes as equally a dramatic turn as Pavel’s – albeit completely different – as she abandons all wealth and espouses Christ. Selling all her jewels and palaces, she becomes a nun and opens a convent.

When revolution at long last burns with fury across Russia, the newly-sainted Reds are determined to exterminate the entire House of Romanov. The last of the royals to be seized is Mother Elisavyeta, who is ripped from her convent in the dead of the night and taken to Siberia.

Romanov Bride:

The Romanov Bride, Robert Alexander’s latest novel.

Photo: Submitted

Synopsis – Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire

Celebrated for her looks, notorious for her passions, immortalised by Antonio Canova’s statue, and always deeply loyal to her brother, Pauline Bonaparte Borghese is a fascinating figure.

At the turn of the 19th century, she was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in Europe.

She shocked the continent with the boldness of her love affairs, her opulent wardrobe and jewels and, most famously, her decision to pose nearly nude for Canova’s sculpture, which has been replicated in countless ways throughout the years.

But just as remarkable as Pauline’s private life was her fidelity to the emperor (if not to her husbands). She was present for Napoleon’s great victories in Italy, and she was often at Malmaison with her brother and her rival for his loyalty, the empress Josephine. When he was exiled to Elba, Pauline was the only sibling to follow him there, and after the final defeat at Waterloo she begged to be allowed to join him at Saint Helena.

Synopsis – A Deadly Silver Sea

In the opening pages of A Deadly Silver Sea, the most exclusive cruise ship in the world, the Royal Star, has just set sail from Miami on its inaugural voyage.

For the hundred or so notable well-heeled passengers, including Zack Chasteen and his wife, Barbara, the itinerary is a secret and the week ahead promises to be an ultra-indulgent tropical sojourn.

But just an hour out of port, gunmen take over the Royal Star, killing most of the officers and sequestering passengers throughout the ship. Not only is Zack separated from Barbara, he has another worry – Barbara is eight months pregnant and could go into labour at any moment.

As Zack and his fellow captives struggle to get an upper hand, the ship’s hijackers offer few clues to their motives. Maybe it’s a simple kidnap/extortion plot. Or maybe the hijackers are bent on more devious ends – using the Royal Star as a giant torpedo to blow up another cruise ship.

Either way, Zack must figure out a way to stop them – while keeping himself and his wife alive.