by Boris Akunin
Translated by Ileana Alexandra Orlich
Publication Date: 02/27/2018
To Kill a Serpent in the Shell dramatizes the final year of Tsarevna Sofia’s regency, interrogating Russia’s history while subtly confronting the Russia of today. The play, both a riddle and a fantasy, depicts the political rivalry between the regent and her lover, Vasili Golitsyn, on the one hand, and the young Tsar Peter on the other.
The regency’s incipient humanism, espoused in Golitsyn’s consideration for the well-being of the Russian people, conflicts with the autocratic leanings of the young Tsar Peter. Boris Akunin shows us a pivotal time in Russian history, immediately preceding the reign of Peter the Great, and invites us to imagine what future rulers of Russia might have been like if the events of 1689 had had a different outcome.