with former BBC colleague Tom Mangold

The true fate of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children remains one of the greatest mysteries of modern history. Were the last Emperor of Russia and his family really massacred at Ekaterinburg during the night of July 16th, 1918?

For two BBC journalists, who usually covered current, modern, events, the case was a highly unusual assignment. Information reached Summers and Mangold, however - from a senior British political source - that the true story was not as recorded in most history books. Their investigation lasted four years and took them worldwide. They talked with relatives of the Romanovs and with people who had known them; they listened to historians and pathologists; they worked through a welter of source material, unearthed the seven-volume dossier that Nikolai Sokolov, the White Russian-appointed Special investigator, had compiled.

The result is a book packed with revelations. It discloses the roles played at long-distance by Britain's King George V and Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm; it analyses the unresolved case of the woman who claimed to the Tsar's youngest daughter Anastasia - a supposed sole survivor; it demonstrates that the White investigation suppressed vital information suggesting that the Romanov females were not killed in the infamous cellar but survived - in Communist hands - for at least several months afterwards.

On initial publication in 1976, The File on the Tsar became an international news story. Then, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, new headlines trumpeted the discovery of a gravesite, of bones and skulls that were supposedly those of most of the Romanov family. Other remains, surfacing later, were said to be those of two children not yet accounted for. DNA evidence, it was said, established that the 1918 massacre had occurred more or less as historians long asserted.
That, however, turned out not to be the end of the saga. As the centenary of the Romanov's disappearance passed, a Russian investigative committee was still wrangling over whether or not the reading of the DNA evidence was valid, whether the human remains found are truly the authentic remains of the Tsar and his family. As of mid-2019 - and not least because of the discrepancies and official chicanery exposed in The File on the Tsar - the case remains open.

Praise for
The File on the Tsar

“Meticulous research ... elegantly controversial”  
                                                                                                           New York Times

“Pries open cracks in the wall of silence”  
                                                                                                              The Economist

"Intriguing investigation into one of the mysteries of the century"
                                                                                                        Frederick Forsyth

"The authors have demolished the massacre story beyond recovery... There is not a dull page in this book"

                                                          Woodrow Wyatt, [London] Sunday Times

"Totally fascinating. It is a superb real-life detective story... Sleuths Mangold and Summers have done for the Tsar what Woodward and Bernstein did for Watergate"

                                                                                                         Ludovic Kennedy

"Sensational... a masterful work of great suspense"


"A compelling and impressive work!"

                                                                                                      Los Angeles Times

"First-rate, powerful, engrossing lavish - all the adjectives... there is every conceivable element of mystery, of devious manipulation, of familial jealousy and secrets tenaciously guarded over half a century"

                                                                                                         Washington Star

"Eloquent... a real life-and death-thriller... a detailed, blood-soaked canvas... You can't put it down"

                                                                                                                Houston Post

"A meticulous job of research... a damn readable and elegantly controversial book."

                                                                                                      Harrison Salisbury


The author produced, and his co-author Tom Mangold presented, a documentary - also entitled THE FILE ON THE TSAR - for BBC Television. Their book went high on the bestseller lists, and was translated into several languages. Today, a pirated, incomplete, edition is circulating in the Russian Federation.