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Erast Fandorin returns to Moscow, and he just can't seem to keep out of trouble... The fourth novel in the bestselling crime series from the author of THE WINTER QUEEN.
Erast Fandorin returns to Moscow after an absence of six years, only to find himself instantly embroiled in court politics and scandal. His old friend General Sobolev - the famous 'Russian Achilles' - has been found dead in a hotel room, and Fandorin suspects foul play.
Using his now-famous powers of detection - powers that belie his twenty-six years - Fandorin embarks on an investigation, during which the political and the personal may become dangerously blurred. With the assistance of some formidable martial arts skills, acquired whilst Fandorin was in Japan, our eccentric and ingenious hero must endeavour to discover not so much whodunit, as why...
Set in 1882, Russian author Akunin's fourth novel to feature Erast Petrovich Fandorin (after 2005's The Turkish Gambit) consists of two parts that read like different books. In part one, the 26-year-old special agent comes to Moscow to investigate the sudden demise of national hero Gen. Mikhail Sobolev, who dies in the bed of an alluring courtesan. Fandorin learns of Sobolev's plan for a coup and of a missing suitcase full of a million rubles to fund it. The trail of the missing suitcase leads to the dangerous Khitrovka slums and then to Pyotr Khurtinsky, the scheming head of the secret section of the governor-general's chancellery. One step ahead of Fandorin is the mysterious Klonov, an assassin who may have once tried to kill our hero. As Fandorin closes in on Klonov, the narrative jumps to a retelling of the assassin's life. This shift brings a welcome change of storytelling, from the often stiff, theatrical language of the first section to a more natural, unembellished style. An exciting resolution only partly offsets this incongruity.