Synopses & Reviews
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? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more information.
Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this 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. There are many unresolved questions. Why, for instance, have both victims left their fortunes to an orphanage run by the English Lady Astair? And who is the beautiful "A.B.," whose signed photograph is found in the apparent suicide's apartment? Relying on his keen intuition, the eager sleuth plunges into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at the deadly center of a terrorist conspiracy of worldwide proportions.
In this thrilling mystery that brings nineteenth-century Russia to vivid life, Akunin has created one of the most eagerly anticipated novels in years.
"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
"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
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, Buddhas Little Finger, and Homo Zapiens.