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Song of the Storyteller


Lyuba Koshkina has long known that her father, an ambitious and unscrupulous nobleman, will stop at nothing to see her wed the grand prince—soon to be crowned as Russia’s first tsar, Ivan the Terrible. A few months after her sixteenth birthday, the call for the tsar’s bride show goes out. But Lyuba has goals of her own, and they do not include a royal marriage. She wants to record the tales that fill her head from morning to night, including the adventures of her own family. One day, she catches a handsome stranger reading her work and realizes that here stands the man she has loved since childhood—and that neither her father nor the Church will permit them to wed.


Timur Alexeevich has spent years away from home, learning from his uncles how to rule a Tatar horde. An unexpected summons brings him back to Moscow and the girl he once thought of as a little sister, now a scintillating, learned, and self-assured beauty destined—at least according to her father—to become Russia’s first tsaritsa. Even the grandson of a khan cannot compete with so exalted a future. All seems lost, until Lyuba discovers that a storyteller has the power to weave her own future from the twists of fate.

The Merchant's Tale cover

The Merchant's Tale


Karl Scharping, a twenty-eight-year-old merchant from Danzig, has one thing on his mind—the beautiful bride awaiting him in Moscow. A careless leap from his horse derails his plans, confining him to a monastery near the White Sea. Hobbling to the window on crutches, Karl looks out on a vast expanse of water glistening in the dawn light and gasps at the sight of an English merchantman at anchor in the bay. He has no idea how much trouble that ship carries in its wake.

When Richard Chancellor departs his native London to serve the interests of his Tudor king by locating a new passage to the spice-rich Orient, he does not expect to wind up in Muscovy—ruled by Tsar Ivan IV, known as “the Terrible,” and his Romanov in-laws. The Russians welcome Chancellor and his sailors to the Kremlin, although the foreigners’ unfamiliar language poses problems and accidents delay their journey south. Then they reach Moscow, and their problems really begin.

“C. P. Lesley brings an exotic setting to life with richly textured historical details and a wonderful cast of fascinating characters—it’s an enchanting tale worthy of her clever storyteller heroine!”

—Andrea Penrose, author of the Wrexford & Sloane Mysteries

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