The Author

Erik Petersson (b. 1985) is an historian of the new generation and a cherished author in the Nordic countries. His previous books concern the fight for power in Northern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. He is a writer in several newspapers, an appreciated voice on national radio and a researcher concerned with the formation of early modern society. The book Kings. A world history is his eighth and most urgent title so far.

19 year old Pavel Pestel had a problem. He and his comrades were inspired by the constitution of the free, new world. Should he trust the developments he had seen when fighting the tsar’s war in Europe? Or should he bow down and remain silent? A hundred years later, Nikolai II might have thought that the question was settled. What remained for Nikolai was to pass on his title, and until that happened – care for his beloved daughters and son.

A few years later, monarchy was wiped out as a meaningful force from history, and the monarchs took more than 30 million people’s lives with them, as the Empires of Europe fell.

What forces intertwined themselves through time, leading up to the world of only a hundred years ago? Kings. A world history is a journey backwards, across Europe, Africa, China, India, the United States and the Middle East, in search of the foundations for the power of autocratic rulers. What made one emperor fall while another stood? And what nourished the roots of the world order we take for granted today?

This is a story of betrayal and ruthlessness, psychology, power games and cover ups, but also bravery, impossible sacrifices, hope and brilliant renewal. Petersson asks eternal questions that stretch more than 5000 years back, and go straight back into the fabric of the modern world, and to the heart of the human experience itself.