NC Literary Hall of Fame



The Russian Galatea by Ira David Wood III

Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
$14.99, paperback / $4.51, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-528900867
December, 2018
Fiction: Historical / Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

On July 16, 1918, Nicholas Romanov, the last Tsar of Russia, and his entire family were supposedly murdered by Russian Bolsheviks in the basement of a house in Ekaterinburg, Siberia. One year later, Alexander Kolchak, the Supreme Commander of the White Army, appointed a legal investigator to prove, beyond any doubt, that ALL members of the Romanov family had, indeed, been executed. The investigator’s name was Nicholas Sokolov. (History tells us that he was gifted with a photographic memory.)

The Russian Galatea is a story based upon Sokolov's investigation. It takes place in Siberia, 1919—with the Russian revolution as its background. The major thesis is fiction, but woven around historical fact. In one sense, it is a detective story about one indiscouragable investigator’s obsession with finding out what really happened to Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family. On the other hand, it is also a story about Love—Sokolov's deep relationship with the girl in a faded photograph. Is she alive or dead? Sokolov's real struggle begins once he uncovers the truth. He has been warned that "nothing will be what it seems."

The story opposes intellect and reason with violence and expediency: Sokolov’s rational assignment, to prove that the Romanovs are dead, carried out for purposes of propaganda in the midst of rising chaos—chaos let loose by rationalism in the first place. As Sokolov proceeds, he finds a world becoming exponentially madder, with the truth (or Truth) becoming whatever one chooses to make it—like the mythological statue of the title. The story hits nerves...maybe because the symbolism of its core event—fairy tale gunned down by rationalized brutality—has only more import as the twenty-first century grinds on.

The reader is drawn through all this by the inherent fascination of the subject and by its evolving mystery story structure. Using the device of having Sokolov double as narrator, the book captures interest and sustains it through some chapters that are themselves assaults on senses and sensibilities.

Ira David Wood III is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright. He is the founder and current Executive Director of Theatre in the Park, located in Raleigh. His other works include A Lover's Guide to the Outer Banks and Confessions of an Elf. He is also a contributing writer to the book, Murder In Dealey Plaza What We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then. David is the proud father of three children: Ira David Wood IV, Evan Rachel Wood, and Thomas Miller Wood. He and his wife, Ashley, remain proud to call North Carolina “home.”

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