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The Winter Queenby Boris Akunin
Synopses & Reviews
Moscow, May 1876. What would cause a talented student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public? Decadence and boredom, it is presumed. But young sleuth Erast Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this death is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done — and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed firsthand by Fandorin himself. Relying on his keen intuition, the eager detective plunges into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at the center of a vast conspiracy with the deadliest of implications.
"Ludlum would probably take about a thousand turgid pages to work it all out; Akunin does it in under 250 pages that race along but that find room for a fair amount of social history....Akunin knows how to build suspense, but he also enjoys himself; he shows the reader a good time." Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe
"The familiar police procedural formula exists here, but it is made appealingly strange by the unusual setting and by Fandorin's zany delight in contemporary consumer products....The Winter Queen offers the reliable kick of the basic formula, with some quirky new tangs." Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"[A]tmospheric, smartly plotted, and driven by a host of finely etched characters....[A]s Erast follows the breathtaking (but blessedly convincing) twists and turns of his investigation, he finally faces an enemy who is a real surprise. Highly recommended..." Library Journal
"[A] rousing start....Occasionally, Akunin's style seems a bit affected...but at the same time, that nineteenth-century tone is part of the book's appeal. Anne Perry fans, in particular, will enjoy this series." Bill Ott, Booklist
"If Pushkin had tried his hand at detective fiction, it might have turned out something like this. In fact, the narrative's combination of impulsive passion and cool ratiocination...suggests the early years of the 19th century rather than the period in which the novel takes place." Richard Lourie, The New York Times Book Review
"Mystery readers should enjoy this story. It is as Russian, and as international, as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action. I look forward to hearing more about the young detective Erast Fandorin." Anne Perry
"Elaborate, intricate, profoundly Czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery and came out with The Winter Queen. A wondrous strange and appealing novel, and not quite like anything you've read before." Alan Furst
"Atmospheric and engrossing, The Winter Queen is a historical thriller from the world of the czar. Boris Akunin is Russia's answer to Caleb Carr." Kevin Baker
"[Akunin] is the Russian Ian Fleming....[The Winter Queen] features abduction, villains, beautiful women and, of course, espionage....Akunin's accomplished writing is a treat." Ruth Rendell, The Sunday Times (London)
"A galloping story of murder, suicide, deception, and disguise." Entertainment Weekly
Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? In this thrilling mystery that brings 19th-century Russia to vivid life, Akunin has created one of the most eagerly anticipated novels in years.
About the Author
Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who was born in the republic of Georgia in 1956; he is a philologist, critic, essayist, and translator of Japanese. He published his first detective stories in 1998 and in a very short time has become one of the most widely read authors in Russia. He has written nine Erast Fandorin novels to date, and is working on two other series as well. Akunin enjoys almost legendary popularity in Russia. He lives in Moscow.
Andrew Bromfield was born in Hull in Yorkshire, England. He has lived in Moscow for long periods, where he co-founded and edited the literary journal Glas, and now lives and works in rural Surrey. He is best known for his acclaimed translations of the stories and novels of Victor Pelevin, including The Life of Insects, Buddha's Little Finger, and Homo Zapiens.
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