The novel opens with a description of real historical events. In 1675 Fedor Alexeyevich entered the throne. But after his death, the struggle for power begins. After Peter’s childhood, the state was governed by his sister, Tsarevna Sophia. In an effort to retain power, she rebukes the army of Strelets to revolt, but Peter escapes. There is a confrontation between Tsarevna Sophia, her favorite, Prince Vasily Golitsyn, and the youngest Ivan Alekseevich and Peter Alekseevich. “Everything went the way it was.” Nothing happened: over the Moscow, over the cities, over hundreds of counties stretched across vast land, centuries-old twilight was souring – poverty, serfdom, and unfruitfulness. “
All these events develop in parallel with the most common incidents in the life of ordinary people. The author describes the Brovkin family, in particular the difficult life of the little Alyoshka, who now and then falls for his mischief. Once Ivashka Brovkin goes to
Moscow and takes his son with him – Alyoshka. On the way Alyoshka runs away, frightened of his father’s anger. Here begins his independent life. He gets used to selling pies. Here he meets Alexand Menshikov. Once Alyoshka and Alexashka meet an unusually dressed boy. They easily talk with him and surprise him with a needle focus.
Peter, and it was he who met Aleshka and Menshikov, lived three miles from the capital in the village of Preobrazhensky. Peter was burdened by the home environment and found an inexplicable charm in communicating with the inhabitants of the German settlement. Here he meets Captain Franz Lefort. Here he meets his first love, the daughter of a local wine merchant Anna Mons. Queen Natalia Kirillovna in a hurry to marry the young king on Evdokia Lopukhina, in order to settle it. In Preobrazhensky, Peter collects many of his peers, of whom he forms regiments. Comrades in the games of soldiers were called funny. The number of amusing things began to increase so that in the village there was not enough room for everyone. Therefore, part of them was placed in the nearest village –
Semenovsk. Thus, the regiments of amusing become the prototype of the future Russian army. Peter is approaching Captain Fyodor Sommer in every possible way supporting his undertakings. Peter learns that the boy who so impressed him with his focus, is in the service of Captain Franz Lefort. The young king takes him to his room and makes it a bed-liner. Since that time Aleksashka Menshikov has become a significant figure in the life of Peter, a man who had a great influence on the tsar. Alexashka, in turn, does not forget about Alyoshka’s friend either. He arranges it in a comic army drummer and further helps him. Once Alyoshka meets his father in Moscow. He forgives him all wrongs and gives money. With this money, Ivashka Brovkin bought himself out of serfdom and became a prosperous merchant. In addition, he, again through his son, met with Peter himself. And at this time rumors are already beginning to circulate about the tsar. It amazes all those, that brings people closer to themselves, guided not so much by their origin and nobility as by their intelligence and ingenuity. It is not without reason that his motto is mentioned in the novel by the author himself: “From now on, the nobility of validity is considered”.
Sophia, who saw Peter’s growing power and his growing influence, is trying to rebel against him. And again her choice falls on the Streltsy regiment. However, some of the streltsy give an oath to warn the king and thereby save him. The forewarned Peter leaves Preobrazhensky in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. The rebellion is suppressed. His instigators were brutally executed. Vasily Golitsyn himself and his family were sent into exile. And Sophia is locked in the Novodevichy Convent. Peter remains the sole ruler.
Soon Evdokiya brings Peter the first-born – Alexei Petrovich. And almost simultaneously his mother dies – Natalia Kirillovna.
Among the clever and active people of that era, there were great hopes for Peter. They saw him as an intelligent, far-sighted politician, a solid, confident person. Many then realized that “Russia – the golden bottom – was lying under the age-old slime… If not the new king will raise life, then who?” Approximate to the king is already the famous Franz Lefort. He helps the king with advice. One of the first major accomplishments of the tsar was the march to the Crimea. Crimea was a very important territory for Russia, on which many of its interests converged. Part of the army Peter sends to Azov. The campaign to Crimea ends in failure for Russia, but Peter’s will did not break it. He carries out his reforms and “breaks a window into Europe,” as he will later be told about it. However, these reforms were not accepted by the people unanimously. The beginning of the XVIII century was marked by riots and discontent. People went into the woods, burned themselves in the huts, just not to surrender to the antichrist hands. “The Western infection uncontrollably penetrated into a drowsy existence… The Boyars and the local nobility, the clergy and archers were afraid of change, hated the speed and cruelty of all that was being innovated… But those who were born, savagely, who wanted change, who were fascinated by Europe… – these said that the young king was not mistaken. ” When Peter was in Arkhangelsk for the first time, he was struck by the sight of the sea. Indeed, the sea was very important for Russia. Peter orders to build ships in Voronezh. Having typed a strong fleet, the king makes a new attempt to take Azov. The fortress surrendered, but the Turkish empire rebelled against Russia. The king is forced to seek allies. He calls on the European states to cooperate. Peter secretly travels to Holland under the name of the sergeant of the Preobrazhensky regiment, Pyotr Mikhailov. Here he is trained in crafts. And his absence in the country threatens with a riot. And again Sophia persuades the streltsy to rebel, conspiracy. The return of the tsar to Moscow threatens cruel reprisals against the rebels. “The whole country was gripped by horror, the old was hammered in dark corners.” Byzantine Rus ended. ” In the relationship between Evdokia and Peter, there has long been a rift. And then they send Evdokia to Suzdal, to the monastery. In her place turns out to be the “Kukuiskaya queen” Anna Monet; her house is so in Moscow and called – tsaritsyn palace. Suddenly the faithful assistant and friend of the king Franz Lefort dies. The return of the tsar to Moscow threatens cruel reprisals against the rebels. “The whole country was gripped by horror, the old was hammered in dark corners.” Byzantine Rus ended. ” In the relationship between Evdokia and Peter, there has long been a rift. And then they send Evdokia to Suzdal, to the monastery. In her place turns out to be the “Kukuiskaya queen” Anna Monet; her house is so in Moscow and called – tsaritsyn palace. Suddenly the faithful assistant and friend of the king Franz Lefort dies. The return of the tsar to Moscow threatens cruel reprisals against the rebels. “The whole country was gripped by horror, the old was hammered in dark corners.” Byzantine Rus ended. ” In the relationship between Evdokia and Peter, there has long been a rift. And then they send Evdokia to Suzdal, to the monastery. In her place turns out to be the “Kukuiskaya queen” Anna Monet; her house is so in Moscow and called – tsaritsyn palace. Suddenly the faithful assistant and friend of the king Franz Lefort dies.
The construction of a military fleet in Voronezh continues actively. Russia is getting stronger. New ships are being built. Russia is beginning to be afraid.
Ivan Artemych Brovkin expands his business. He manages deliveries to the army. Now this is a distinguished merchant who can be proud of his children. And Alexei Brovkin is not indifferent to the princess Natalia Alekseevna, Peter’s sister.
In the 1700s a great Northern War was unleashed. Peter declares war on the Swedes. Young and ambitious King Charles XII breaks Russian troops near Narva. Considering Peter as a weak enemy, Karl goes to the Polish king. In Poland, he stayed about 6 years, overthrew Augustus from the throne. At that time Peter is torn to pieces. He manages to manage affairs in Moscow, and in Novgorod, and in Voronezh. Scandalously known was the decision of Peter to cast guns from the monastery bells. The army recruited volunteers. And many peasants, striving to avoid serf bondage, rush into the army. Well-trained Russian troops take possession of the fortress of Marienburg. Many prisoners were taken. Among them notice a slightly disheveled, but still very pretty girl. Alexander Menshikov takes beauty Katerina himself. At this time Peter learns about the treachery of Anna Mons with the envoy Kenichsek. Menshikov, in order to subdue the formidable nature of the tsar, introduces him to Katerina. This is the future queen Catherine I.
“Confusion under Narva went to our great advantage,” says Peter, “iron is getting stronger from beating, a man is cruel.” Peter triumphantly goes to Narva. General Horn understands that the city can not withstand the siege, but, nevertheless, does not want to surrender the city. As a result, senseless sacrifices. Narva is taken. General Horn is defeated. “You will not have any honor from me,” he hears from Peter: “Take him to prison, on foot, through the whole city, that he may see the sad work of his hands…”