Necromancy, historical fiction, tzars, and romance?! Count me in! Robin Bridges is the 2012 debut author of The Gathering Storm. I told my students about the book, showed them the book trailer, and one of them read The Gathering Storm before composing questions for Robin Bridges. Quite a few of my students were intrigued by the trailer and started asking me lots of questions about necromancy and tzars. Thankfully my students will get some of their answers today! Thank you, Robin, for participating with us!
Summary of The Gathering Storm (From Goodreads): St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.
An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar’s standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina’s help to safeguard Russia, even if he’s repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.
The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?
- In the beginning, why did you introduce so many characters all at once?
TGS has a large cast of characters, so I had to introduce them in groups- first Katerina, then her school mates, then the members of the Imperial Courts at the Smolni ball.
- Between George and Danilo, who do you like better?
Ha! I really am fond of each of these boys, for different reasons. George is stubborn and quiet, but has a strong sense of duty, both to his father and to his country. Danilo is mischievous and suave, but his loyalty is only to himself. As an eldest son, he’s been spoiled much more by his family than George.
- What are your top five favorite books?
Ack, just 5? The first ones that come to mind are:
Pride and Prejudice (both with and without zombies),
Howl’s Moving Castle,
The Scorpio Races,
- Have you ever been to Russia?
Not yet! But hopefully within the next year or two. I have a long list of palaces and museums that I’d like to see there.
- Do you enjoy history?
Definitely. I’m always interested in learning about different time periods.
- How did you come up with the idea of blending the supernatural with historical fiction?
I love reading historical fiction with supernatural or fantastic elements: Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series, and Sorcery and Cecelia (or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.
- How do you become a necromancer?
In Katerina’s case, it was an ability she was born with. But there are dark spells and rituals that only the most powerful mages or sorcerers can use.
- Why is necromancy scorned?
Katerina hates her ability because she’s afraid it makes her a bad person. Bringing the dead back to life upsets the balance of nature. And it’s a nasty, dirty type of magic- something the fashionable fae of Saint Petersburg look down their noses at. It has nothing to do with glamour or romance.