Grigory Efimovich RasputinÂ—drinker, thief, womanizerÂ—arrived in St. Petersburg in 1903 as if from the medieval past . . . tattered, black-clad, muttering. By the time of his sensational murder thirteen years later, the peasant was the â€ťbeloved Friendâ€ť of Czar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra, with a seemingly supernatural power to stop the bleeding attacks of their hemophiliac son, Alexis. How could it have happened? As on society lady of the time asked, Â“How could so pitiful a wretch throw so vast a shadow?â€ťDrawing on confidential police reports, cabinet meeting memos, and many documents only now available, Moynahan sheds new light on Rasputinâ€™s life and disputes some of the widely held details of his death. The Washington Post Book World called the book Â“balanced and well-researchedâ€ť hailed its Â“shrewd analysis of the ways in which Rasputinâ€™s manipulative abilities meshed with the emotional needs of isolated, superstitious members of czarist aristocracy. It is an unforgettable portrait of an age as well as of a man.