A very entertaining look at the life of Catherine the Great of Russia, from her childhood as a impoverished princess in Germany, to her coronation as Tsarina of Russia. It is a fictional account, with a great deal of attention paid to her first three lovers -- Saltykov, Poniakowski, and Gregory Orlov -- but what saved it for me was the logical and more likely relationship that she had with her husband, the very inept Peter III. Too, the progression of Catherine's life from a naive, and very innocent, child of fourteen to her stunning overthrow and seizure of the crown was very well handled, and the insights are very revealing. While the author has Saltykov as the father of her son Paul Petrovich, it's much more likely that he was the son of Peter III. All told a great read, and while it does get over the top with the sex, it's still much better than most of the fictional accounts of this remarkable woman's life. Four stars overall, and recommended.