The woman
of a thousand names


From the internationally bestselling author of the “fascinating epic” (Associated Press) Between Love and Honor comes a rich, sweeping tale based on the captivating true story of the Mata Hari of Russia, featuring a beautiful aristocrat fighting for survival during the deadly upheaval of the Russian Revolution.

Born into Russian aristocracy, wealth, and security, Moura never had any reason to worry. But in the upheaval of the Bolshevik Revolution, her entire world crumbles. As her family and friends are being persecuted by Vladimir Lenin’s ruthless police, she falls into a passionate affair with British secret agent Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart. But when he’s abruptly and mysteriously deported from Russia, Moura is left alone and vulnerable. Now, she must find new paths for her survival, even if it means shedding her past and taking on new identities. Some will praise her tenderness and undying loyalty. Others will denounce her lies. But all will agree on one point: Moura embodies Life. Life at all cost. Set against the volatile landscape of 20th-century Russia, The Woman of a Thousand Names brings history to vivid life in a captivating tale about an extraordinary woman caught in the waves of change—with only her wits to save her.


If you were looking for a great book last winter, you have found it this spring with Moura: an amazing story with a stunning character!"
Franck Ferrand, Au cœur de l’Histoire, 17 March 2016.

"When Alexandra Lapierre gets her grip on a forgotten woman, you can be sure that she will turn her heroine into a fascinating lady. Moura, her latest book, is both powerful and inspired, fast and passionate. Lapierre at her best. Moura, her last book, is both powerful and inspired, fast and passionate. Lapierre at her best."
Christine Oddo, ELLE, 18 March 2016.

"A scholarly biography and a novel at once: a fabulous book, packed with discoveries, unknown facts and unpublished documents. Seven hundred passionate pages."
Dominique Bona de l’Académie française, Version Femina, 4 April 2016.

"This dashing and fascinating novel reads precisely the way Moura lived: at a gallop!"
Thierry Gandillot, Les Echos, 5 April 2016.

"An unforgetable portrait of a lady."
Philippe Vallet, Le livre du Jour, France Info, 6 April 2016

"With an enthusiasm that becomes a contagious passion, Alexandra Lapierre plunges into the heart and soul of a woman who embodied the whole of the 20th century, with its cultural wealth and its complexity. The result is a three-dimensional portrait of a great lady. A dense and captivating narrative."
Mohammed Aissaoui, Le Figaro Littéraire, 14 April 2016.

"In order to recreate Moura’s captivating story, Alexandra Lapierre has undertaken colossal research and written a prodigious book. No doubt:Moura will be THE book of the summer 2016."
Pierre Vavasseur, Le Parisien, 17 April 2016.

"With her indubitable talent, Alexandra Lapierre narrates the destiny of one of the most fanciful and outlandish characters of the 20th century."
Marianne Payot, l’Express, 4 May 2016.

"Through the story of a life like no other, Alexandra Lapierre unveils fascinating aspects of 1920s Russia, where rivalries between Bolshevik leaders and Western diplomats intertwine. The novelist brings a literary dimension to these historical protagonists, never compromising the era’s authenticity. Using rigorous research, Lapierre succeeds in maintaining the delicate balance between truth and emotion. Her contradictory heroine mixes adventure, politics and love. And that is precisely what makes Moura so human. For this splendid seductress is the very incarnation of the Russian soul in all its ferocity, elusiveness and extravaganza.”
Theresa Revay, Le Magazine Littéraire, May-June 2016.

“You will fall under the spell of this amazing Russian story.”
Claire Julliard, L’Obs, 19-25 May 2016.

"You devour this novel the same way Moura devoured life: voraciously. Fierce, dense, complex, boisterous, romantic, in fury and in blood, she loves breathlessly. And my God, does it feel good to meet women like her!”
Françoise Cazalis, Valeurs Actuelles, 2 June 2016.

“Of course she did exist! We all know Alexandra Lapierre’s scholarly precision. Her mind-blowing novel brings the archives to life. Here is Moura, whom her admirers considered the most intelligent woman of her generation. A true heroine."
Stéphanie des Horts, Côté Ouest, June-July 2016.

Paris diary by Laure de Gramont

As some of you already know, I have decided to resume what I was writing for Vogue and Point de Vue some years ago, but this time as a blog. I would like it to be like a morning phone call to my best friend, a very personal and subjective view of Paris life for all of you who are curious of what's going on in France. I now have readers on five continents, from the Philippines to Tasmania, Perth and Sydney. From Mexico to California, New York, Washington and Canada. Morocco, Egypt and most European countries. Thank you !

“Moura”, a true adventuress

For her eleventh book, French novelist Alexandra Lapierre has picked the most extravagant and moving Russian heroin and has traveled around Europe, Estonia and Russia for three years, digging into archives, secret service files from England, France, Germany and Russia, and aristocrat’s clubs. The life of Moura Benckendorff, who lived through the Russian Revolution, loved Gorki, H.G. Wells and a charming British diplomat, Robert Bruce Lockhart, is one of her most achieved novels.

She is wilder than Fanny Stevenson or Artemisia Gentileschi, she is more adventurous than William Petty or conquistadora Dona Isabel Barreto, she is in love with three men at the same time and devoted to each one of them! She is probably the most modern and mysterious of Lapierre‘s heroins and was the subject of a film, « British Agent » by Michael Curtiz. Her life story cannot be put down.

This is again a long novel, which builds up with Moura’s adventures with many different men. Is she a spy for the Brits, the Germans or the Russians or all three of them ? Alexandra Lapierre does not think so, but she definitely is a diplomat and a go-between, who interests all secret services. At the book launch, the author told us "what I would discover about Moura, would be way beyond my wildest dreams".

She manages to live through International events with no money but great elegance, and to fascinate all intellectuals of her time. She is an aristocrat who loves men and life. The book is a fantastic read and the day after I finished it, I suddenly felt I had lost my new best friend. A whole world of dreaming, loving and conspiring set in Naples, London, St Petersburg and Paris had suddenly vanished.

This is Alexandra Lapierre’s most adventurous novel to date for she has put a true character in the limelight. And when you learn that Moura was British Lib Dem Nick Clegg‘s great aunt, you will want to read it even more! (“Moura, la Mémoire incendiée”, Flammarion)

On the Author

French by birth, yet educated in the United States, Alexandra Lapierre is a graduate of the Sorbonne, of the American Film Institute and of the University of Southern California. Novelist and biographer, she is the author of many bestsellers that have been translated worldwide. She was awarded the prestigious "Grand Prix des Lectrices de ELLE" for her biography on the American pioneer Fanny Stevenson, wife of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, which sold more than 250,000 hardcover copies in France alone. It was published by Carroll & Graf in the United States and by Fourth Estate in Great Britain.

Her second book on the first Italian woman painter from the Renaissance, Artemisia Gentileschi, was voted "Book of the Week" by the British BBC and "Best Book on the Seventeenth Century" by the Sorbonne University. It was published by Grove Atlantic in the US and by Chatto and Windus in England.

Her most recent book, Moura, Burnt Memories (Moura, la mémoire incendiée, published by Flammarion in March, 2016), is the true story of a Russian aristocrat during the upheaval of the Bolshevik Revolution, a woman who survives everything, everywhere, against all odds: a great seductress with a thousand lives and a thousand faces.

In tracing Moura’s footsteps, Alexandra Lapierre conducted researches in libraries and archives all around the world for three years. Her eye, both lucid and kind, brings life to many captivating figures of our recent history. In 2016, Moura won the prestigious award of “The Best Heroine of the Year”, from Madame Figaro Magazine.

Alexandra Lapierre has been elected "Donna per la Cultura", by the City of Rome, Italy, and nominated Chevalier in the "Order of Arts and Letters" by the French government. She was also elected a member of the Association of the American University Women. She is based in Paris, but lives around the world, settling wherever her books take her.