The Tzar’s Curious Runaways

“A vivid, vibrant adventure celebrating difference and friendship. Thrilling and moving.” Clare Balding

The Tzar's curious runaways book cover by Robin Scott-Eliot

A magical, captivating tale of adventure set in Imperial Russia.

St Petersburg, 1725: Everything Katinka Dashkova knows is changing. Katinka, a dazzling ballerina born with a hunched back, and her friends Alexei the Giant and Nikolai the Dwarf are different. That’s why they’re part of Peter the Great’s Circus of Curiosities. But the Tzar is dead and they must flee the Winter Palace. Guided by a special map, they set out across Russia running for their lives. Available to pre-order from Waterstones or via your local independent bookshop via hive

“A brilliantly suspenseful novel, which should have even the most reluctant reader eager to reach the next cliff-edge. Scott-Elliot is too poetic a writer to let the terror distract from the real adventure – which is a beautifully imagined quest of a child in search of her home” Daily Telegraph 

“Beautifully crafted, brimming with adventure – a classic in the making” AM Howell, author of The Garden of Lost Secrets

“Word perfect; it reads like Rundell, Ibbotson & Pullman in harmony. It held my heart in its pages. Storytelling magic” Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher

“A magical tale that scoops up the unsuspecting reader to propel them on a breath-catching journey across snow-capped Russia. A thrilling and thought-provoking page-turner, effectively fusing historical fact with magic, mystical maps, wizards and wood spirits” Book Trust

“This book now sits on my shelf of all-time favourites! Such a beautiful, sometimes terrifying and uplifting story with a rich historical setting. I wolfed it down in just a few sittings and now I want to read it again” Eve McDonnell, author of Elsetime

“Beauty, in this book, lies both in the endless snowy steppe and the mountains that take the form of animals, but also in children – their innocence, their bravery, their self-belief, and their hope.” Minerva Reads

“The Tzar’s Curious Runawaysis a gripping and suspenseful story. It’s an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read with lots of tension. It’s also a celebration of friendship and a powerful example of inclusion and acceptance.” Get Kids into Books

“A brilliant debut novel. The writing is vibrant and emotive and I loved the folk tale to feel to it.” Kate Poels, BBC Radio Berkshire

“Scott-Elliot’s writing is flowing, with beautiful descriptions and a brilliant gripping pace. Apart from the obvious theme of adventure, there are the underlying themes of friendship, love, deeply engrained prejudice and suffering, determination, trust and hope. This book would suit Upper Key Stage 2 classes and I can imagine them begging me to read on at class storytime.” Books for Topics

“He’s done better…” Iona, my eldest daughter and No1 critic