The Witch and the Tsar
Baba Yaga stories have been used to scare and warn for hundreds of years. Parents would tell their children to be good, or the witch would eat them. But these tales were exaggerated. Yaga, the daughter of a goddess, is a healer, deeply dedicated to her friends, both human and non. When the tsaritsa Anastasia Romanovna, wife of Tsar Ivan IV, showed up at Yaga’s door sick, she dropped everything to help her friend. Counseled by evil advisors, Ivan the Terrible sets a course of destruction after his wife’s death. Yaga must stop the cruel tsar to ensure the future of Russia and her people.
The Witch and the Tsar is the debut novel by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore. In her interpretation of Slavic folklore, Gilmore recreated the witch Baba Yaga. No longer the ugly hag, Gilmore reimagined Yaga as a powerful feminist heroine and a symbol against tyranny and corruption. As a historical fiction, Gilmore gives an in-depth look into the reign of Tsar Ivan IV. Her book is a beautiful combination pre-Christain mythology and historical figures from mid-1500s Russia. Readers looking to discover a new Baba Yaga will enjoy The Witch and the Tsar.
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