We recently checked this book out of the library. I immediately fell in love with it and have purchased a used copy which we will use for school this year.
I learned more about Catherine the Great in an hour of reading at the auto-repair shop this afternoon than I did in all my years of school (including the year of Russian Literature I took in college). At one point a man came in to ask us a question while we were all engrossed in the dramatic tale of the coup d'etat which resulted in her ascending to power shortly followed by her husband Peter III's assassination. Wow!
I love the drawings in the book and the way Foster weaves together so many historical figures. It's a brilliant way to create a readable, gripping narrative.