You conclude, from reading this book, that many people wanted Rasputin dead for many different reasons. Andrew Cook is meticulous in relating the whole, sorry tale of Rasputin's increasing influence on the Tsarina and the belief by many that he was virtually running the country. Rumours and plots abounded - the 'Mad Monk' wielded huge political power, was said to live a life of debauchery, was planning to make the Tsar sign a peace pact between Russia and Germany, was more than friendly with the Tsarina and her daughters, etc. It was certainly a fact that the desperate Tsarina relied on him to relieve her son's illness and believed in his power of healing, as well as asking for his opinion on all major decisions about both the country and the war. Something had to be done and some Russian aristocrats decided to take matters into their own hands.
Of course, we have all heard about Prince Felix Yusupov and his fellow collaborators, but this book manages to offer some new information as well as relating details of all the major people involved, a reconstruction of what happened, the investigation and the aftermath of Rasputin's murder. Prince Felix Yusupov himself is a very interesting character, although not perhaps the most discreet person to undertake such a mission. It is hardly an exaggeration to suggest that most of Russia seems to have heard rumours about their plans and, as his palace seems to have been within both sight and hearing of a number of policemen, it was not the best place to undertake a murder either. However, it does show how desperate the situation was that a man who previously lived a life of privilege and pleasure decided that Rasputin had to be removed. It seems almost everyone had an impending sense of doom and to feel the threat of revolution, apart from the Tsar. The author adds some new information to that already known - for example details of autopsy reports and evidence of British involvement. Overall, this is an exciting and well written account of a major event in world history, where almost every character is larger than life - not least Rasputin himself. Highly recommended and a must read for anyone interested in this period of history.