I usually try to keep things fairly light in my social media. I mean, if you’ve read any of my books, you know I tend toward the light and fun. So I’m going to warn you right now. This story does not have a happy ending.

I know, I know. We’ve loved the movies. Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman in 1956. Meg Ryan and John Cusack and that irritating bat in 1997. It would have been nice if real life tied up as neatly and happily as fiction, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Let me start at the beginning.

Once upon a time, Russia was an empire. No less vast and sprawling than it is now, and it takes a lot of power to rule something that big. Like, say, a czar. Who rules absolutely.

But you know the old saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And hundreds of years of a ruling class who held the lives of serfs in their hands made for some very, very corrupt rulers and some very, very angry serfs.

So after a few decades of unrest while the princes of Russia were dragged kicking and screaming into the industrial age after centuries of ruling, the serfs were dun with their nonsense. D-U-N, dun.

In 1917, in two separate revolutionary movements, they took down the aristrocracy of an empire in the bloodiest of ways. They massacred the royal family, which had been in power for over 300 years.

Czar Nicholas II, who hadn’t been a terribly effective ruler, and his wife, Alexandra, abdicated their throne in March 1917 after the first Revolution and were imprisoned for just over a year. In July 1918, the entire family – Nicholas, Alexandra, and their five children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei – was taken into a basement and gruesomely executed.

This is Anastasia at 13, four years before her death.

At the time and for years afterward, rumors flew madly that the youngest daughter, Anastasia, had somehow survived the killing room. Numerous women came forward, but all were eventually declared impostors. In 2007, DNA proved that the remains of a second grave contained the bodies of the son, Alexei, and one of his sisters. The other three girls had been dumped into a mass grave with their parents not far away. The entire family was murdered that summer night, without question.

Tragically, there’s no happy ending for the Romanovs, and Russia is just as difficult to manage now as it was a hundred years ago.

But for the storyteller, the idea of a lost princess, a survivor of unimaginable horror, is a powerful lure. And for many of us, the temptation to change things so we can find something redeemable in this tragedy, is too much to resist.

I bring up this sad story because I’m one of those storytellers. MAGIC’S CROWN, which releases on Feb 28, has, at its core, a surviving princess. Naturally, since it’s a Nocturne Falls Universe story, I’m not retelling Anastasia’s sad story with any kind of accuracy, but only taking the core of the idea as inspiration. As that original “What if?”

“What if this happened to a different royal family, for different reasons?”

“What if the princess *did* survive?”

“How does she find her Happy Ever After?”

I hope you enjoy reading MAGIC’S CROWN to find out the answers!

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