The Russo-Turkish war is at a critical juncture, and Erast Fandorin, broken-hearted and disillusioned has gone to the front in an attempt to forget his sorrows. Captured by the Turks, he wins his freedom in a game of backgammon, before finding himself the unlikely rescuer of Varvara Suvorova - a 'progressive' Russian woman trying to make her way ...
The Russo-Turkish war is at a critical juncture, and Erast Fandorin, broken-hearted and disillusioned has gone to the front in an attempt to forget his sorrows. Captured by the Turks, he wins his freedom in a game of backgammon, before finding himself the unlikely rescuer of Varvara Suvorova - a 'progressive' Russian woman trying to make her way to the Russian headquarters to join her fiance. Fandorin's efforts to steer clear of affairs of state are thwarted when a traitor is discovered within the Russian camp. Within days, Varvara's fiance has been accused of treason, a Turkish victory looms on the horizon, and there are rumours that one of Lady Astair's Azazel orphans may be making his own bid for power. Our reluctant gentleman sleuth will need to resurrect all of his dormant powers of detection if he is to unmask the traitor, help the Russians to victory and smooth the path of young love in the third sparkling page-turner from Boris Akunin. 'Erast Fandorin has been called a 19th century James Bond, and there are similarities...but Fandorin is more human than Bond, and Akunin more witty than Fleming.' Daily Telegraph 'Akunin...seems able to carry off whatever detective genre he turns to, and makes no bones about incorporating his diverse knowledge into his books' plots. The result is a barnstorming success.' Time Out
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-21 If chatty digressions on love and war tend to slow the third Erast Fandorin historical to appear in the U.S. (after 2004's Murder on the Leviathan), Russian author Akunin does a superb job of rendering the immediacy of battle in the 1877-1878 conflict between the Motherland and Turkey, and illuminating the politics behind czarist fantasies of recapturing Constantinople. At the Balkan front, the quiet, stuttering Fandorin befriends Varya Suvorova, a midwife turned telegraphist. Varya is bent on visiting her court-martialed fiance, who's accused of being a spy. Fandorin and Varya are soon caught up in the fortunes of the Russian army, which a well-placed mole seems intent on betraying. Suspicions point to various Russian staff officers and to some glamorous foreign correspondents, including Seamus McLaughlin from London's Daily Post and Michel Paladin from the Revue Parisienne. Codes, courtesans and love letters all come into play, as well as murder and suicide in combat, in a plot more complex than some West Point battle plans. While the plethora of minor characters can be confusing, the quirky Fandorin and determined Varya stand out amid the turmoil of their surroundings. Agent, Linda Michaels Ltd. (Mar. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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