The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross

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Synopsis

Timo von Block, a Baltic nobleman, spurns an appropriate marriage to wed a peasant's daughter and becomes an outcast among his fellow aristocrats, an act of defiance topped only by his subsequent letter of criticism to Czar Alexander I.
 

About Jaan Kross

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Jaan Kross was born in 1920. He studied law at the University of Tartu and taught law until his arrest and deportation, with countless other Estonians, to Siberia in 1946. He, on his release in 1954, returned to Tallinn and devoted himself to poetry and to translating the classics, including Shakespeare, Balzac and Stefan Zweig. Later, his interest in Estonia's chequered history made him turn his attention to the historical novel, and he established his reputation as one of Europe's outstanding practitioners of this genre. He is now generally regarded as an Estonian writer of world class.
 
Published January 4, 1993 by Pantheon. 362 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In a first appearance in English, Kross--an Estonian writer who paid his dues all too familiarly in Stalin's Gulag--here writes a long, leisurely, upholstered old-fashioned historical novel concerning a 19th-century Baltic nobleman, Timo von Bock, who was arrested and imprisoned for nine years (a...

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Publishers Weekly

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Fyodor Martens is an outsider at an inside job. A low-born orphan from the subject Baltic nation of Estonia, he has stood shoulder to disdainful shoulder with the Russian nobility, representing the Cz

Apr 04 1994 | Read Full Review of The Czar's Madman

Publishers Weekly

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The plot of Kross's first novel to appear in English may indeed ``most resemble the quick scene changes of Italian operas,'' as the narrator says, but this Estonian author's approach is provocative, original and highly political.

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Publishers Weekly

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and the unrelated 18th-century diplomat Georg Friedrich von Martens, who, like Fyodor Martens, compiled volumes of treaties and also, in the name of professional detachment, helped the Napoleonic invaders rule his native Westphalia.

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The Independent

On his release in 1954 he translated classic Western literature - Shakespeare, Balzac, Stefan Zweig - into Estonian, and wrote several historical novels.

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