Books: Russia's First Catherine

MARTA OF MUSCOVY — Phil Stong —Doubleday, Doran ($2.50).

Lean, dark Prince Menshikov watched the plump maiden withdraw, blushing. "And now who might that be?" he leered.

"Just a poor Lithuanian peasant girl from Marienburg," answered his cautious host, bumbling 60-year-old Marshal Boris Sheremetiev, the third most powerful man in Peter the Great's Russia. "Does housework for Mme. Sheremetiev. I drew her when we divided the people."

"Drew her, eh," said the second most powerful Russian thoughtfully. "I must ask Mme. Sheremetiev to lend her to me awhile. That barn of mine is a perfect...

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