A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Murder on the Leviathan, the first of the Erast Fandorin books that I’d seen. Since then, I’ve done a bit of catching up. The Winter Queen is the first in the series, first published in Russia in 1998 and translated into English in 2003. Boris Akunin has apparently sold over ten million of these books in Russia, and it’s not hard to see why.
The book opens with a young man committing suicide in a Moscow park in May 1876. Erast Fandorin, at twenty years old is a recent recruit into the Criminal Investigation Department, and already bored with writing reports, is eager to investigate the case. It becomes apparent that there is a great deal more going on than first appears, and Fandorin will need all his intelligence and skills to survive.
There are some death-defying stunts worthy of James Bond, and a deep and sinister conspiracy to be revealed. Fandorin also manages to fall in love, but there is a price to be paid….
This, like Leviathan is a lot of fun, and well worth a read.