In 1896, in a pilgrim church in the Alps, an abandoned baby girl is found by a cook and a housemaid. They take her home, and Annika grows up in the servants' quarters of a house belonging to three eccentric Viennese professors. She is happy there, but dreams of the day when her real mother will come to find her.
And sure enough, one day a glamorous stranger arrives at the door. After years of guilt and searching, Annika's mother has come to claim her daughter, who is in fact a Prussian aristocrat whose true home is a great castle. But at crumbling, spooky Spittal, Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her new-found family . . .
‘The Year of Revolutions', saw the whole of Europe convulsed in turmoil and revolt. Yet the Habsburg Empire survived. As state after state succumbed to the violent winds of change that were sweeping the continent. How did the Habsburg Empire survive? How was the army able hold together while the rest of the empire collapsed in civil war, and how was it able to seize the political initiative In this new edition, Alan Sked reflects on the changed understanding of the period which resulted from the first appearance of this book, and widens the discussion to look at the Habsburg Empire alongside the decline of the Russian and German Empires, arguing that it is possible to understand their decline from a broad European perspective, as opposed to the overly narrow focus of recent explanations. Alan Sked makes us look at familiar events with new eyes in this radical, vigorously written classic which is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of nineteenth-century Europe.