In 1564, Ivan suddenly changed his methods of ruling and moved his family to his estate at Uglich outside Moscow. As a result of the pilgrimage to this country retreat by the populous of Moscow, Ivan is persuaded to return to the city. Taking advantage of this mass support, he now has the backing to make his rule more powerful and decisive than ever. The boyars were forced to to accept some drastic changes including the formation of wo different goverenments in Russia so that Ivan could be in contro of his land. He develops his own secret police force, the Oprichinks, who became his main instrument of terror and assisted him by obtaining undercover information and also doing his evil bidding exacting a terrible revenge on the aristocracy. After learning that Anastasia was probably poisoned by his aunt Euphrosinia who was in league with the boyars and the nobles whoa re all opposed to Ivan, the Polsih king is about to launch his attack on Russia. A titanic struggle ensues with Ivan managing to quell this aggression and subdue the boyars. He then is able to address his attention towards the foreign enemies of Russia and seeks support from various friends and associates. The complex story is full of intrigue, high level political in-fighting, family resentment and suspicion, an assassination plot, executions and murder in the cathedral.