Incomparable villains and heroes surge through the history of medieval Russia. Ivan IV may have been dubbed the Terrible, but when he died, the Rurik dynasty that had ruled Russia for centuries came to an end. And what followed was far worse. This volume is the history of Russia's struggle through a period of weak rulers, false pretendants to the throne, foreign invasions and civil strife. Even the weather was disastrous, and famine was inevitable. War, butchery and betrayals ensued until the Romanov Dynasty took control.
Boris Godunov governed from the shadows during the 13-year reign of the borderline-retarded Tsar Feodor Ivanovich, heir to Tsar Ivan IV, and then for almost seven years in his own name. But by then the brutal death of the 9-year-old Tsarevich Dmitri Ivanovich by Godunov's henchmen, and the effects of his Oprichniki security forces on Russian society, had taken their toll. In the absence of a clear line of succession, imposter princes were put forward by rivals, including the Poles, and proponents of these "False Dmitris" and other contenders only fanned the flames. This was an era when "Get thee to the nunnery!" was a light sentence; enemies who were not forced to retire from the worldly life were brutally tortured and removed from the world altogether.
Add to that the political machinations entailed in the creation of the Russian Patriarchate and Job, Russia s first patriarch, entirely indebted to the Crown. This 'Time of Troubles' wound to a close only after a new and lasting dynasty was established under Mikhail Romanov.