My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dmitri Kantemir was an 18th century Moldavian prince who was aligned with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The duplicitous Ottomans demanded increasingly usurious tribute, so Kantemir decided to join with Peter the Great of Russia to vanquish the treacherous Mohammedans. Unfortunately they lost. The Kantemirs were forced to flee to Russia where Peter declared Dmitri a Russian prince and bestowed a lavish estate, including 70,000 serfs, upon him. Not bad for losing the battle.
Iron Blood, which is what Kantemir means, is an interesting historical fiction told from the perspective of a descendant who went on a lengthy quest to discover the truth of her ancestry. Princess Eleonora Borisovna Kantemir’s father was a member of the anti-Communist resistance and was captured by the Germans during World War II. Eleonora was born in Germany, but the family moved to Connecticut in the fifties when she was a young girl. Her father lived his life looking over his shoulder for the KGB.
This is a fascinating story, unfortunately, the writing is rather poor. I heard the princess speak to the California Writers’ Club. Her English is flawless, but it did not transfer to Iron Blood very well. If I were Ms. Kantemir, I’d shoot my editor.