hits counter The Turkish Gambit - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Turkish Gambit

Availability: Ready to download

It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideal It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has disguised herself as a boy in order to reunite with her respected comrade and fiancé. Even after Fandorin saves her life, Varya can hardly bear to thank such a “lackey of the throne” for his efforts. When Varya’s fiancé is accused of espionage and faces execution, however, she must turn to Fandorin to find the real culprit . . . a mission that forces her to reckon with his courage, deductive mind, and piercing gaze.


Compare

It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideal It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has disguised herself as a boy in order to reunite with her respected comrade and fiancé. Even after Fandorin saves her life, Varya can hardly bear to thank such a “lackey of the throne” for his efforts. When Varya’s fiancé is accused of espionage and faces execution, however, she must turn to Fandorin to find the real culprit . . . a mission that forces her to reckon with his courage, deductive mind, and piercing gaze.

30 review for The Turkish Gambit

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    DNF. I did not finish this book so I’m not giving it a rating. I can see that some might enjoy this book, so I’ll give a brief summary of what I read. (See the punch-line at the end of my review.) It’s fast-paced with a lot of action and just-in-time rescues of a damsel always in distress. As an example of the writing style, we learn on page 6 that our heroine has been abandoned in a roadside tavern by her male companion and left “alone in this dim, dirty, and distinctly malodorous sink of iniqu DNF. I did not finish this book so I’m not giving it a rating. I can see that some might enjoy this book, so I’ll give a brief summary of what I read. (See the punch-line at the end of my review.) It’s fast-paced with a lot of action and just-in-time rescues of a damsel always in distress. As an example of the writing style, we learn on page 6 that our heroine has been abandoned in a roadside tavern by her male companion and left “alone in this dim, dirty, and distinctly malodorous sink of iniquity.” She has no money, no change of clothes, no papers. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the famous Turkish detective, Erast Fandorin, who happens to be in the tavern, comes to her rescue. Our heroine is a remarkably liberated Russian woman for her time. The novel is set in 1877 during the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Having read that there are women doctors in the United States, she starts to train as one by helping a midwife but finds that she faints at the sight of blood. She then trains to become Russia’s first female telegraph operator. She finds that boring with no possibility of advancement, so instead, becomes a stenographer. Then she returns to her village in Russia to be a teacher. The only other teacher in her school is a young male. They enjoy each other’s company so much that they move to live in St. Petersburg. Their relationship is chaste, so they live in a two-bedroom apartment, but, of course, have to tell the landlord they are married. All is well until her male companion decides that their platonic relationship is “defying the laws of nature” and gives her an ultimatum: they must kick their relationship up a notch - with or without marriage – or he’s gone. It’s up to her. Meanwhile he enlists as an officer in the war and she follows him to the front, hoping to get a job as a stenographer again while she makes up her mind about his ultimatum. It’s a dangerous journey for a woman so she travels with him disguised as a boy. That’s how she ends up abandoned in the tavern. The detective has remarkable gambling skills so he goes to the tavern dice table and wins a pony so she can travel with him. In the very first day they are attacked by bandits and her disguise is revealed but - just in the nick of time - a squadron of Russian Cossacks appear to rescue her from villainy. Here’s the punch line: all that I described I learned in the first 29 pages! So I'm not kidding when I say it is fast-paced and action-packed. If you do like this type of book, you are in luck, because there are about a dozen in the series and almost all of them have been translated from Russian into English. Painting of the Battle of Shipka Pass by Alexey Popov from wikipedia.com Photo of the author from rferl.org

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    It's the Ottoman-Russian War in 1877, and a young liberated woman travels from Russia to the front lines to be with her soldier fiance. Along the way, she meets up with Erast Fandorin, a talented young man with a stammer. Fandorin is put in charge of a project to identify and neutralize a master spy that no one has ever actually seen. He sets to work with a vengeance. Highly recommended. It's the Ottoman-Russian War in 1877, and a young liberated woman travels from Russia to the front lines to be with her soldier fiance. Along the way, she meets up with Erast Fandorin, a talented young man with a stammer. Fandorin is put in charge of a project to identify and neutralize a master spy that no one has ever actually seen. He sets to work with a vengeance. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    I started this series a long time ago. I really enjoyed the The Winter Queen. Somehow, I managed to skip this second book and read all the other translated stories. This is a solid, old-fashioned, Victorian historical fiction, detective/spy thriller mashup. It’s very much in the vein of Jason Goodwin’s Yashim the Eunuch series, but Russian and set in the mid-1870s (mid-Victorian period). Writing is good. Oddly, the POV did not include that of the protagonist (Erast Fandorin), which gave the b I started this series a long time ago. I really enjoyed the The Winter Queen. Somehow, I managed to skip this second book and read all the other translated stories. This is a solid, old-fashioned, Victorian historical fiction, detective/spy thriller mashup. It’s very much in the vein of Jason Goodwin’s Yashim the Eunuch series, but Russian and set in the mid-1870s (mid-Victorian period). Writing is good. Oddly, the POV did not include that of the protagonist (Erast Fandorin), which gave the book a somewhat more sophisticated feel than you’d expect in a historical fiction, detective novel. I thought dialog was better than description. More importantly, because this is a Russian series in translation, the translation by Andrew Bromfield was good. If a have a criticism it’s with the occasional sesquipedalian excess found in the narrative. For example, use of “scrofulous” and “odalisque” evoked peals of laughter while sending me to the dictionary to confirm their definition. However, I’ve read a lot of novels originally written in the period. The dialog of the “better” classes consumed a lot of syllables. This book could be considered YA in tone. There was no sex, significant substance abuse, or musical references in the story. Oddly, I would have expected there to be "camp followers" mentioned. There were none. There was a moderate amount of alcohol consumption leading to drunkenness. There was also gambling. There was a modest amount of violence. Violence was edged-weapon and firearms related. It was not overly graphic. Frankly, I think the author missed an opportunity to describe the carnage and brutality of warfare in this period. Characters were good and were solidly within trope. The nominal protagonist is Fandorin. He’s what might today be considered a high-functioning autistic, in the Sherlock Holmes mold. Unfortunately, you’d have to have read The Winter Queen to do much more than observe him in the third person. The real hero was Varya Suvorova, a modern woman. Suvorova’s was the primary POV. She’s a late 20th-21st century woman born in the wrong century . She’s well, but not excellently wrought as a character. The interesting spin on this is that she’s a thinly concealed Bolshevik. Otherwise, she functions somewhat like Watson to Fandorin's Sherlock. The remaining characters include a gaggle of Victorian journalists, Russian civil servants and Russian officers of the nobility. A familiarity with H. Rider Haggard novels and Alfred Lord Tennyson would hold you in good stead in appreciating them. The author takes several jabs at the defunct Imperial and Soviet systems with his characters. The antagonist was almost peripheral to the story and was unconvincing to me. Characters other than those mentioned above were mere NPCs . Plot was a straightforward Sweet Polly Oliver with Suvorov. She goes to “the front” to be with her “comrade” fiancé/husband. Her feelings for him go through a change, as things go badly, get much better, and she becomes embroiled in the politics, dynamics, amours and “guns, drums and steel” of Russian HQ during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Suvorova then watches and aids Fandorin catch a Turkish spy in HQ. I thought the real antagonist was too deeply buried beneath red herrings for this to be a fair fight. A long exposition was included with the big reveal at the end of the story to ensure the reader did not leave confused, although, this is very much in character with Victorian-flavored mysteries. This was a solid story for a Victorian historical fiction spy thriller. The Russian perspective was refreshing from the typical British one. However, it’s not the best I’ve ever read. I didn’t think Suvorova’s narration followed Fandorin’s investigation properly. I frankly wasn’t interested in her “born in the wrong century" sub-plot. I really didn’t know much about the region after the Crimean War. I was more interested in the atmosphere of the Russian HQ in this Balkans war setting. In summary, this book was readable, but not recommended. Readers interested in late Russian Imperial military and diplomatic history might also want to read The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk. In fiction, there is the very similar in concept Ottoman-flavored The Janissary Tree.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    The Book Report: Erast Petrovich Fandorin, titular counsellor of the Tsar's Special Branch (secret police, ugh), finds himself in the thick of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In a manner very like that of a skinny, stammering love-child of James Bond and Nero Wolfe, Fandorin arranges things so that the party responsible for the sudden and inglorious halt of victorious Russian armies to Constantinople, long the most urgent desire of Imperial Russian froeign policy, comes inevitably to light. The Book Report: Erast Petrovich Fandorin, titular counsellor of the Tsar's Special Branch (secret police, ugh), finds himself in the thick of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In a manner very like that of a skinny, stammering love-child of James Bond and Nero Wolfe, Fandorin arranges things so that the party responsible for the sudden and inglorious halt of victorious Russian armies to Constantinople, long the most urgent desire of Imperial Russian froeign policy, comes inevitably to light. His newly minted assistant, the silly and delightfully idealistic Varvara Andreevna Suvorova, takes the center stage for much of this wild, careening caper; a good choice for misdirecting attention, that, and yet the author *scrupulously* plays fair and puts all the clues before the reader...yet Varya's goosey honkings about irrelevancies and her young woman of middling class and wealth scruples, presented with great and genuine affection by the author, do screen the actual malefactor's malefactions quite neatly. One scene, a sword-fight, is particularly nicely handled; Varya's emotions of fear, disgust, and slightly tickled vanity (it's over her honor the parties fight) are so believable that it's hard to imagine the author hasn't had the same thing happen to him. (I doubt much that it has, though.) Quite a wonderful piece of writing (and translation), and not the only one. My Review: All hail friends with reading addictions! My friend's praise tipped the scales for me, causing me to get these books. I don't regret this, though I am sorry that I waited so long. Still, that means I've got a lot of time before I run out of them! There are over ten in the series so far. Very high-quality escapism, written and translated very ably, and presented in a point-of-view that's different enough to make the well-worn genre of lone wolf solves problems for Big Government, and then runs away from the limelight, feel fresh and new. Recommended to all who have a yen for solving puzzles...I didn't figure this one out until halfway through!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

    Fandorin finds himself on the front lines of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 in the Balkans (at the siege of Plevna). This is a war story, as Fandorin unravels a spy-vs-spy style of behind-the-lines intrigue and espionage. What to Expect Each novel is written as a different type of mystery. Akunin set out to rectify the low-brow reputation of the mystery genre in post-USSR Russia by writing worthy literature and exploring the wide gamut of sub-genres. Each novel is therefore excellently written as a Fandorin finds himself on the front lines of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 in the Balkans (at the siege of Plevna). This is a war story, as Fandorin unravels a spy-vs-spy style of behind-the-lines intrigue and espionage. What to Expect Each novel is written as a different type of mystery. Akunin set out to rectify the low-brow reputation of the mystery genre in post-USSR Russia by writing worthy literature and exploring the wide gamut of sub-genres. Each novel is therefore excellently written as a different type of detective case. While there is continuity in the protagonist's life between the novels, each is very different in themes and tones. I've written a condensed review of the whole series on my website. What I liked I like the writing style. The prose is intelligent and flowing, the mysteries are complex, and the cast is varied (though those that make repeat appearances tend to die). Fandorin himself is a great character, even though as a main character he still remains an enigma - a tantalising mystery in itself that keeps readers engaged and clamouring to know more. I love the historical background. Akunin has done his research into Russian culture, mannerisms, environment, personalities, etc. of the late 19th century / early 20th century. Most of the stories take place around Moscow, and Fandorin gets to meet and associate with the people of the times (from the low-life criminals of Khitrovka, to the grand-dukes of the imperial family). In a few cases, Akunin also has Fandorin active around notable events of the era, at times filling in details where history has left us stumped. Akunin is also a Japanophile, and has Fandorin spend a few years in Japan. While details are sketchy (and we want more! More!), it is clear that he has a great love and deep knowledge of that culture and times. What to be aware of Be aware that each of the novel is told in a different style. Besides the obvious (something new and different in each volume), one keyword  is 'told'. They are almost all in 3rd person perspective, and quite often not from the point of view of Erast Fandorin (which is both tantalising and frustrating at times). It's this distance that keeps Fandorin an enigma, and keeps us coming back to learn more. Fandorin has a Sherlockian intellect and impressive physical prowess. He is not without his faults (most notably hubris), but as a hero he is certainly a cut above the rest. He also tends to get involved with a different femme fatale in each book. This suits the detective genre perfectly, regardless of modern sensibilities. While the books are not really related and have few continuing characters, I'd still strongly recommend to read them in order. Lastly, and this has nothing to do with Fandorin, since these are professional translations (amazingly done by Andrew Bromfield) via a traditional publisher, the price of ebooks and hardcovers is almost the same. The ebooks are also missing some of the illustrations and other typographical effects that are present in the print. I'd definitely recommend reading the print edition, where possible. Summary Should you read these novels? Yes! By all means, if you love historical mysteries these novels are a must read. It is an intelligent, engaging, and just different enough series to be in a class of its own. It's not surprising that in his home country of Russia, Akunin out-sells JK Rowling. In fact, since it's been a few years since I've read them, I think I'll go back and re-read my favourites (Winter Queen, State Counsellor, and The Coronation). -- Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia: A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tannaz

    I am bored!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I have to be honest, this is the first Fandorin book that I've read, but not the first in the series (obviously). I saw it in a second-hand bookstore and thought it looked interesting. Unfortunately, not so much. The setting is interesting. I got the book because I enjoy reading historical novels set during times I didn't learn much about in school. So I can give it that! And while a little expected, I did like when everything started becoming a real pop-mystery novel. But... Varya is a caricature o I have to be honest, this is the first Fandorin book that I've read, but not the first in the series (obviously). I saw it in a second-hand bookstore and thought it looked interesting. Unfortunately, not so much. The setting is interesting. I got the book because I enjoy reading historical novels set during times I didn't learn much about in school. So I can give it that! And while a little expected, I did like when everything started becoming a real pop-mystery novel. But... Varya is a caricature of a person at best, and at worst is insulting to women. I mean, we're talking about someone who goes to great lengths to see her fiance, then basically forgets about him, and can't help but flirt even when she's been taken hostage. The men are hardly any better. They seem to exist only to be attracted to Varya. Fandorin seems interesting, though, and I'd like to pick up another Varya-less book in the series to see what he's like.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I enjoyed listening to this as I drove to and from work. However, toward the beginning I had trouble remembering who was who among the more secondary characters and found myself wishing I could flip back to earlier pages to remind myself. There were also a few times that I thought something was so beautifully written (or translated) that I wanted to stew over it for a bit. I think I'll eventually end up buying this in actual book form, so I can do just that. So far I've enjoyed Akunin's Fandorin I enjoyed listening to this as I drove to and from work. However, toward the beginning I had trouble remembering who was who among the more secondary characters and found myself wishing I could flip back to earlier pages to remind myself. There were also a few times that I thought something was so beautifully written (or translated) that I wanted to stew over it for a bit. I think I'll eventually end up buying this in actual book form, so I can do just that. So far I've enjoyed Akunin's Fandorin novels and look forward to reading the rest. (I'll never get one of these as an audio book again).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Really good read. I loved it! It helps if you have read some Turgenev or Lermontov's "Hero..." but you would enjoy even if you hadn't. Interesting narrative in that the "hero" Fandorin is never given a voice and we are never taken into his confidence. This works really well as his detachment remains absolute and in keeping with the Byronic type although there is a warmth about him which does make him appealing.I loved the humour and the characters were wonderful, in particular Zurov.I will defin Really good read. I loved it! It helps if you have read some Turgenev or Lermontov's "Hero..." but you would enjoy even if you hadn't. Interesting narrative in that the "hero" Fandorin is never given a voice and we are never taken into his confidence. This works really well as his detachment remains absolute and in keeping with the Byronic type although there is a warmth about him which does make him appealing.I loved the humour and the characters were wonderful, in particular Zurov.I will definitely seek out the other titles. Final plus was I didn't spot the traitor!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Friederike Knabe

    "Gambit", literally "tricking somebody" is usually applied to military operations or chess strategies. In order to achieve the ultimate win some losses have to be accepted along the way. Both contexts fit here beautifully. Boris Akunin, Russian pen name of Georgian writer Grigory Chkhartisvili, has taken an actual episode from the 1877-78 war between the Russian and Ottoman empires to spin yet another successful yarn around young Erast Fandorin, secret agent in the Tsar's Special Division. The a "Gambit", literally "tricking somebody" is usually applied to military operations or chess strategies. In order to achieve the ultimate win some losses have to be accepted along the way. Both contexts fit here beautifully. Boris Akunin, Russian pen name of Georgian writer Grigory Chkhartisvili, has taken an actual episode from the 1877-78 war between the Russian and Ottoman empires to spin yet another successful yarn around young Erast Fandorin, secret agent in the Tsar's Special Division. The author fills a niche market in Russia, as he himself sees it, between the serious literature of the likes of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and the usual light detective stories of today. For the international reader this new genre of Russian "espionage mystery" - the subtitle of the original - in a specific historical context is a fun read that at the same time provides some insights into the society of the day. At the end of the previous, first novel in the series, Winter Queen, Erast Fandorin's world was shattered; the repercussions of the drama seem to have resulted in a change of character. Now, he tends to stutter and is introvert and reserved. Has he lost his detective's touch as well? En route to the Russian military command headquarters outside Plevna, in Bulgaria, where a secret mission has sent him, he literally stumbles across Varvara Andreevna Suvorova. A vivacious and "modern" young woman, she is intent on following her fiancé, a volunteer soldier and cryptographer stationed at the same camp. Varvara, Varya for short, takes over as the primary protagonist of the narrative and Akunin exquisitely develops her character and describes her increasingly important position among the expanding entourage of admiring men. One of these is Sobolev, the White General, for the Russian reader easily recognized as General Skobelev, the real-life hero of the battle for Plevna. For the Turkish side, Akunin also bases some of his characters on actual personalities in the conflict. Furthermore, he introduces an illustrious retinue of international journalists, who mingle with the senior military and are "embedded" at the front lines. Akunin's subtle sarcasm at their doings and mishaps shows through and gives the story a certain actuality to current issues surrounding media observing military conflicts. The drama builds when it becomes evident that a saboteur must be at work: Russian attack positions are pre-empted by Turkish troops. Can the culprit or culprits be apprehended before more lives are lost? Like at a treasure hunt, Akunin leads the protagonists and the reader on a few wild good chases. Will Erast Fandorin's ingenuity and sharp deductive talent, help or hinder the investigation? Erast Fandorin has become a household name in Russia where millions of copies of each Akunin book are sold. The English speaking world is slowly catching on with now eight novels available in translation. This highly entertaining, this fast moving, action-packed and character-rich story, the second in the series, will delight any reader, beyond the already established Akunin fans. The author brings the intricate Russian historical events of the late 19th century to life with wit and a great sense of irony and humour.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    This is the third according to the publisher of Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin Russian detective stories, however I think they must have them out of sequence as he departs on the trip covered in the second novel at the end of this story. Akunin is quite interesting in that he looks at the narrative in each of these books in a different way, in this case we follow Varvara Suvorova as she journeys to the front line in the Russo-Turkish war of the 1870s to be with her cryptographer boyfriend. On the This is the third according to the publisher of Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin Russian detective stories, however I think they must have them out of sequence as he departs on the trip covered in the second novel at the end of this story. Akunin is quite interesting in that he looks at the narrative in each of these books in a different way, in this case we follow Varvara Suvorova as she journeys to the front line in the Russo-Turkish war of the 1870s to be with her cryptographer boyfriend. On the way she is rescued from the Bashi Bazouks by Fandorin. On arrival it isn't long before she is drawn into investigating a plot to sabotage the Russian War effort when her boyfriend is arrested for sending the message for the Russian forces to occupy the wrong town handing the Turks a victory. So its up to Fandorin and Suvorova to find the spy at the Russian HQ to avert a disaster. I liked a lot of things about this book, the setting was very interesting and made me want to learn more about what to most of us is a little known footnote in the history of Europe, but one that almost precipitated a World War. The story was intriguing and well structured, but I think the translation has let it down as the language lacks vigour. Its still fun though

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marfita

    Not being well-versed in Russian history (which may actually help), this story based on the siege of Pleven during the Russo-Turkish war (well, one of the many) didn't have the appeal that the next book in the series did. There wasn't enough Fandolin (which is a shame because he is such fun), just the whole story from the point of view of Varvara, a "modern" woman who has romantically run off to join her fiance, a cryptographer. Varya is annoying in her fickleness, which she cops to at the very Not being well-versed in Russian history (which may actually help), this story based on the siege of Pleven during the Russo-Turkish war (well, one of the many) didn't have the appeal that the next book in the series did. There wasn't enough Fandolin (which is a shame because he is such fun), just the whole story from the point of view of Varvara, a "modern" woman who has romantically run off to join her fiance, a cryptographer. Varya is annoying in her fickleness, which she cops to at the very beginning. Her fiance doesn't appear much in the story; she's too busy wallowing in the flirtation of handsome officers and journalists while he rots in a cell, accused of treason. Akunin employs a clever ruse to cover several months where nothing much happens: Varya comes down with typhus! So much better than "as the months passed" or some such. The end was a bit silly - if Romantic. Akunin seems to have adopted the literary conventions of a by-gone era, if only to parody them a bit.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    I had quite high hopes for Turkish Gambit and had looked forward to a swashbuckling historical tale. Unfortunately I found the book rather dull. There are lots of lengthy conversations, but little in the way of descriptive writing about the country and period. I found it difficult to keep track of who everyone was too. Our heroine Varvara is well defined, but sleuth Erast Fandorin mostly kept himself to himself and it wasn't until the latter stages of the book that I thought the many other men i I had quite high hopes for Turkish Gambit and had looked forward to a swashbuckling historical tale. Unfortunately I found the book rather dull. There are lots of lengthy conversations, but little in the way of descriptive writing about the country and period. I found it difficult to keep track of who everyone was too. Our heroine Varvara is well defined, but sleuth Erast Fandorin mostly kept himself to himself and it wasn't until the latter stages of the book that I thought the many other men in the cast began to differentiate themselves. The spy plot at the centre of the tale is nicely done, but the advertised romantic element is practically nonexistent. Varvara never seems particularly concerned for her fiance! Turkish Gambit does have interesting moments, however I think I must have missed the point with this book because it is one in a popular series of a dozen Fandorin novels and at times I wasn't sure I would finish even this one! See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

  14. 5 out of 5

    Valissa

    "I am opposed to democracy in general. One man is unequal to another from the very beginning, and there is nothing you can do about it. The democratic principle infringes the rights of those who are more intelligent, more talented, and harder working; it places them in a position of dependence of the foolish will of the stupid, talentless, and lazy, because society always contains more of the later. Let our compatriots first learn to rid themselves of their swinish ways and earn the right to bea "I am opposed to democracy in general. One man is unequal to another from the very beginning, and there is nothing you can do about it. The democratic principle infringes the rights of those who are more intelligent, more talented, and harder working; it places them in a position of dependence of the foolish will of the stupid, talentless, and lazy, because society always contains more of the later. Let our compatriots first learn to rid themselves of their swinish ways and earn the right to bear the title of citizen, and then we can start thinking about a parliament."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Orange

    The author is a schizophrenic. His books are the combination of liberal ideas with Russian imperialism and the cult of death. This is typical for most Russian intellectuals, but the rest of the readers don't understand it. B. Akunin is too liberal for some readers, and too repulsive (too Russian) for others. The double-headed eagle is the right crest of Russia. Yep. The author is a schizophrenic. His books are the combination of liberal ideas with Russian imperialism and the cult of death. This is typical for most Russian intellectuals, but the rest of the readers don't understand it. B. Akunin is too liberal for some readers, and too repulsive (too Russian) for others. The double-headed eagle is the right crest of Russia. Yep.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    Enjoyable yet strangely tensionless espionage mystery featuring 19th century Russian super-sleuth Erast Fandorin, set during the Russio-Turkish war. Somehow, the defending Turkish forces seem to know exactly what the advancing Cossacks are up to, leading to a protracted and bloody siege at the city of Plevna, thwarting the progress of the superior Russian army hoping to make it all the way to Constantinople - an eventuailty against the wishes of the majority of European nations. Akunin has achie Enjoyable yet strangely tensionless espionage mystery featuring 19th century Russian super-sleuth Erast Fandorin, set during the Russio-Turkish war. Somehow, the defending Turkish forces seem to know exactly what the advancing Cossacks are up to, leading to a protracted and bloody siege at the city of Plevna, thwarting the progress of the superior Russian army hoping to make it all the way to Constantinople - an eventuailty against the wishes of the majority of European nations. Akunin has achieved international best-seller success with this series, and it's clear why. Fandorin is both an engaging and exasperating detective, as seen here through the eyes of the passive heroine, Varya Suvorova, who has become embroiled in the intrigue after searching out her cryptologist fiance on the front line. A diverse range of possible culprits are presented, and in his relaxed, seemingly unengaged way, Fandorin sets about unmasking the villain. Throw in some historical morality, a dash of light humour, and that's your formula. A bright and breezy read, but no great shakes, hindered a little by a distant plot and a fairly dull denouement. I enjoyed it enough to make sure I read another in the series though.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    During the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1877, Boris Akunin's eccentric and brilliant detective, Erast Fandorin, finds himself yet again at the center of the action. While attempting to return home to Russia after being a prisoner of the Turks, he rescues a rash young Russian woman trying to join her true love stationed at the Front. Since the woman has been robbed and needs transportation, he joins a poker game where wagers this damsel in distress against a donkey. Fortunately fo During the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1877, Boris Akunin's eccentric and brilliant detective, Erast Fandorin, finds himself yet again at the center of the action. While attempting to return home to Russia after being a prisoner of the Turks, he rescues a rash young Russian woman trying to join her true love stationed at the Front. Since the woman has been robbed and needs transportation, he joins a poker game where wagers this damsel in distress against a donkey. Fortunately for her, he wins, and they set off toward their destination. In camp, officers and journalists with little to do welcome the woman happily, and when treason causes disaster, she is appointed Fandorin's assistant whose mission is to find the culprit. Akunin has a creative imagination and a deadly eye for character description. However, for one whose grasp of Russian and Turkish history is minimal, not to mention the difficulty of keeping straight Turkish and Russian names, the book isn't always an easy read. Still, the clever twists of plot and the quirks of the various characters make The Turkish Gambit well worth the effort.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kimmo Sinivuori

    This is the second book in the Erast Fandorin series of historical detective novels. I really liked the first one The Winter Queen but this one fails to impress. Although this is a very well written story, it doesn't spark and has the feel of the difficult second novel. The setting is excellent, the Russo-Turkish war, and the period is well evoked and there are some nicely sketched characters. While The Winter Queen was a detective story in the Conan Doyle style, this one owns more to George Mac This is the second book in the Erast Fandorin series of historical detective novels. I really liked the first one The Winter Queen but this one fails to impress. Although this is a very well written story, it doesn't spark and has the feel of the difficult second novel. The setting is excellent, the Russo-Turkish war, and the period is well evoked and there are some nicely sketched characters. While The Winter Queen was a detective story in the Conan Doyle style, this one owns more to George Macdonald Fraser and his Flashman series without the flair and humour of the latter. Fandorin is too serious to be a match for the Flashman. Nevertheles this is an enjoyable read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Azita Rassi

    I liked it but not as much as Winter Queen. Why? Varvara annoyed me to no end and the book was all about her. Erast had become a marginal character. I dreaded a romance developing between her and Erast. I'll continue with the series, but I hope Erast regains his central position in the next book. The part I loved the most was where Erast said that a state is more like a tree than a building. It cannot be rebuilt. It grows and it needs a gardener. This organic interpretation is what I believe in a I liked it but not as much as Winter Queen. Why? Varvara annoyed me to no end and the book was all about her. Erast had become a marginal character. I dreaded a romance developing between her and Erast. I'll continue with the series, but I hope Erast regains his central position in the next book. The part I loved the most was where Erast said that a state is more like a tree than a building. It cannot be rebuilt. It grows and it needs a gardener. This organic interpretation is what I believe in as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emin Kiraz

    A spy-story taking place during the Turkish-Russian War of 1877-78. The story is far from being well-established, but still has enough surprises at the end :)) Interesting to read historical events, in this story the famous battle at Plevne, in a fictitious framework. We might have not known the geniune causes and maybe we'll never learn. Comments and observations made by the characters are also interesting and usually in compatible with those in history books. A spy-story taking place during the Turkish-Russian War of 1877-78. The story is far from being well-established, but still has enough surprises at the end :)) Interesting to read historical events, in this story the famous battle at Plevne, in a fictitious framework. We might have not known the geniune causes and maybe we'll never learn. Comments and observations made by the characters are also interesting and usually in compatible with those in history books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Olga

    I read this in Russian, and had a great time! Again, very entertaining, twisty and fun. However, this is more based on history, the Russo-Turkish wars if 19th century. Funny aside. When I was studying Russian history and preparing for the oral college entrance exam in 1975, my stepfather was helping me to practice. The night before the exam I was exhausted, and told him that I was as ready as I could ever be, and to leave me alone. He convinced me to try to answer just one more "ticket" (topic) at r I read this in Russian, and had a great time! Again, very entertaining, twisty and fun. However, this is more based on history, the Russo-Turkish wars if 19th century. Funny aside. When I was studying Russian history and preparing for the oral college entrance exam in 1975, my stepfather was helping me to practice. The night before the exam I was exhausted, and told him that I was as ready as I could ever be, and to leave me alone. He convinced me to try to answer just one more "ticket" (topic) at random. It was "2nd Russo-Turkish War". By some strange coincidence, that was the ticket I pulled the next morning at the exam! I got 5 (the highest mark), which assured my admittance to college. So, in a way, I had a somewhat sentimental feeling about the events described in this novel. Although I had very little memory of the actual history, and had to periodically refresh it. Luckily, with an e-book it is easy: just click and the reference appears. Anyway, back to Akunin. This novel changed course yet again. There is a young lady protagonist. She is involved (married, engaged... or whatever - "it's complicated, like Facebook says), but gets thrown in Fandorin's orbit by complicated circumstances. All actors get involved in the War. The geopolitics of 1870s are complex and very dynamic. So, of course, Fandorin is involved. And Barbara (Варенька) becomes his assistance/secretary. Characters are multinational: Russian, Turks English, French, Greek.... The pace is breathtaking. I wonder whether a typical American reader can follow them easily, without a lot of cultural background. Just remembering that "Istanbul was Constantinople" is a start, but do you know that it was also "Tsargrad" and that a medieval Russian 🤴 Prince Oleg had at some point conquered it and hanged his shield on it's gate? There are so many references to such details, which may be obscure to anyone, who did not pass the exam on Russian History! Anyway, it is a terrific romp. Romantic, bloody, international, exotic (a great short aside about the actual daily life of concubines of a Turkish pasha - not at all what you imagine). So dive right in, if you dare.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ed Mestre

    I seem to be reading these Erast Fandorin mysteries out of order. First I read "The Death of Achilles", which was book #4 in the series. Somehow, I got it in my head that this was book #1 when it's actually #2. It's sort of like watching Star Wars in the movie release order rather than the "episode"order. But I did learn Achilles back story in this one. I guess I'll eventually read book one since I've enjoyed the series quite a bit so far. With it's stuttering intelligence agent in 19th century I seem to be reading these Erast Fandorin mysteries out of order. First I read "The Death of Achilles", which was book #4 in the series. Somehow, I got it in my head that this was book #1 when it's actually #2. It's sort of like watching Star Wars in the movie release order rather than the "episode"order. But I did learn Achilles back story in this one. I guess I'll eventually read book one since I've enjoyed the series quite a bit so far. With it's stuttering intelligence agent in 19th century Czarist Russia. The writing style, and even the chapter titles, evoke a 19th century book. Fascinating glimpse into that pre-revolution society that was even alien to much of the rest of Europe at the time. Plus, it's a damn good mystery.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This was my second reading - read it during the Christmas holidays at my niece's from her copy, and determined to get hold of the video. This turned out to be a problem that was neatly solved by an American friend of my niece and her husband who brought it over from the USA. One problem: although the menu page comes up with "Play___. Subtitles Off", and although I can move the cursor under "Off", nothing happens and I had to watch it in Russian. Perhaps this is why Amazon charges $14 for the DVD This was my second reading - read it during the Christmas holidays at my niece's from her copy, and determined to get hold of the video. This turned out to be a problem that was neatly solved by an American friend of my niece and her husband who brought it over from the USA. One problem: although the menu page comes up with "Play___. Subtitles Off", and although I can move the cursor under "Off", nothing happens and I had to watch it in Russian. Perhaps this is why Amazon charges $14 for the DVD in America, but $48 elsewhere! Anyway, my Russian isn't up to following a film, so I bought the book, read it again and watched the DVD again. Can't say I understood a lot more of the film, although I did notice a few major changes, but it was fun. Nevertheless, the book is better: exciting, interesting and funny, with a tantalising love interest.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Book 2 of the Erast Fandorin series and it is quite different from the first, and as a matter of fact Erast barely appears in this book, but eventually comes to the rescue of the Russian army at the Siege of Plevna (historically accurate event) as well as when exposing the spy who was leaking secrets to the Turkish Army. The entire book is built around the Russian effort to recapture and free those good Christians who lived in Bulgaria, and was part of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. The book Book 2 of the Erast Fandorin series and it is quite different from the first, and as a matter of fact Erast barely appears in this book, but eventually comes to the rescue of the Russian army at the Siege of Plevna (historically accurate event) as well as when exposing the spy who was leaking secrets to the Turkish Army. The entire book is built around the Russian effort to recapture and free those good Christians who lived in Bulgaria, and was part of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. The book is rather short on pages but very long on history and strategy and a lot of good stuff about the siege. Not sure if everyone would enjoy this book, but if you like good mysteries and learning a lot about history than this is a book for you. Lots to think about as we near the end of the book and the author proposes through a character that the USA is the light of the world and Russia is the worst there is in the way they were governed and ruled. I highly enjoy this series and will try to read one of these books each month until I am caught up!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    A small jewel of a book. I marveled about Akunin's skill for character building. Varvara Sukorova was the eternal woman, whether you liked her or not. She likes her fiance more than she loves him and is wondering if it is OK to marry someone for pity sake. She also likes many a character in the book and she would not be able to decide whom to marry, would someone else offered for her. And yet, she is loyal in her friendship, eager to learn new things and fair to all. I would have liked more of A small jewel of a book. I marveled about Akunin's skill for character building. Varvara Sukorova was the eternal woman, whether you liked her or not. She likes her fiance more than she loves him and is wondering if it is OK to marry someone for pity sake. She also likes many a character in the book and she would not be able to decide whom to marry, would someone else offered for her. And yet, she is loyal in her friendship, eager to learn new things and fair to all. I would have liked more of Fandorin - in this book he was not the central character; in fact, he was absent for quite a long time. All in all, Akunin is a enigma. Many readers are comparing him to Dostojevkis and Gogol, but I do not see the reason. In my opinion he is standing quite alone in his genre.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Malika

    For those, who are already introduced with The Adventures of Erast Fandorin, Turkish Gambit is the must-read one. Every book in the cycle is written in different styles of a detective novel, where Turkish Gambit is an espionage detective. Akunin published the first four books about Fandorin in 1998, including Turkish Gambit, which is the second book in the cycle. Main hero – Erast Fandorin is a 21 years old agent of the Russian secret police. The plot turns around the Turkish spy in the Russo-T For those, who are already introduced with The Adventures of Erast Fandorin, Turkish Gambit is the must-read one. Every book in the cycle is written in different styles of a detective novel, where Turkish Gambit is an espionage detective. Akunin published the first four books about Fandorin in 1998, including Turkish Gambit, which is the second book in the cycle. Main hero – Erast Fandorin is a 21 years old agent of the Russian secret police. The plot turns around the Turkish spy in the Russo-Turkish War, who altered the encrypted message that caused the Siege of Plevna. Certainly, Fandorin uses his keen mind and finds the spy. This is the short plot of the book, which seems like a trivial detective story in the postmodern literature. From the Soviet period, detective novels were often called as a “book for the train” that means they are easy to read and do not contain intellectual stuff. However, Turkish Gambit and the whole cycle about Fandorin breaks this stereotype, (which is probably tied to Dontsova) and presents the series of worthwhile intellectual detective novels. Turkish Gambit is very easy to read because the reader does not need to analyze the plot and search for the subtext. Moreover, it does not confuse the reader with the philosophy of “good and bad”, but draws the understandable line between these notions. It is still very intellectual since the events are taken from the real history and handled in the twisted plot masterfully. The story turns around the Russian-Turkish war, focusing on the Siege of Pleven. After the events in Azazel, Erast appears in the taverna, where he meets Varvara, who searches the road to the war zone after her fiancé. Their journey starts there. Turkish Gambit, in contrast to Azazel, is not Fandorin’s narration. If in Azazel the readers were excited to read his adventures from his own perspective, in Turkish Gambit the readers can enjoy his adroitness from Varvara’s side. Varya’s constantly changing impressions of Fandorin and his calm reaction are interesting to read because the readers can find their own impressions in her emotions. Fandorin rooted in the Russian culture very deeply and became a cult figure. Possibly, every detective writer wants their character to become the new Sherlock Holmes that anyone at least heard about. Akunin, surely, reached that goal in the post-soviet society, because Fandorin is the first character who comes to the minds of the majority when they think about the Russian analogy to Sherlock. Surprisingly, the book did not receive any awards, but it gained a huge popularity among the readers. There are TV series and films based on the adventures of Erast Fandorin, which shows how the society supports it. Akunin is one of the few writers who kept the character of the Golden Age literature, the one, who is high moral, valiant and modest. The book also contains many characters who are the prototypes of the Russo-Turkish War participants. For example, Russian General Skobelev, whose surname was changed to Sobolev, looks and acts like his character even in the film adaptation of the same name. Presenting the real historical figures in his book, Akunin makes it even more interesting to analyze the characters and probably search Russian history. The film adaptation has several important changes in the plot such as the main villain, but it does not reduce the atmosphere illustrated in the book. Despite the war going on, it is a beautiful world of ladies and gallant men. Fandorin is the idealized hero from the 19th century. It is easy to sympathize with Erast, because, except for his asociality, which I personally find attractive, it is impossible to criticize his point of view. Finishing Azazel in one breath, I wanted to continue the cycle immediately. Possibly, many other readers felt the same. Fandorin’s story entrances easily so that the readers fall in love with him and want to reveal the mystery together.

  27. 5 out of 5

    phil Bentley

    Not bad but not up there with Sharpe and Flashman. I bought it as was looking for a new series like the aforementioned characters. Will try the next in the series to be fair. But felt there was a lack of momentum in the story and the action when it did happen was quite quickly over. Still an interesting story about a Russian campaign that I didn’t know much about and was good to read about a n Wikipedia as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    فریبا ارجمند

    I did not like the book. I don't know why the author introduced a character like varia. she was more an object to be liked by men, a mere decorative thing, than a person, and her contribution to "the cause" was negligible. She was more a cliche than a character. even the hero, Erast Fandorin was not as brilliant as he was in Winter Queen. I did not like the book. I don't know why the author introduced a character like varia. she was more an object to be liked by men, a mere decorative thing, than a person, and her contribution to "the cause" was negligible. She was more a cliche than a character. even the hero, Erast Fandorin was not as brilliant as he was in Winter Queen.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    really, a 3.5 stars rating Just in case you're interested, this may be the 3rd book in the series in order of release in the United States, but it follows shortly after The Winter Queen in chronology. I do recommend it, but probably only if you've at least read The Winter Queen and enjoy the character of Ernst Fandorin. This book is not quite as good as Winter Queen or Murder on the Leviathan, so you may not enjoy it as much. The story is set in 1877, while Russia is doing battle with the Ottoman really, a 3.5 stars rating Just in case you're interested, this may be the 3rd book in the series in order of release in the United States, but it follows shortly after The Winter Queen in chronology. I do recommend it, but probably only if you've at least read The Winter Queen and enjoy the character of Ernst Fandorin. This book is not quite as good as Winter Queen or Murder on the Leviathan, so you may not enjoy it as much. The story is set in 1877, while Russia is doing battle with the Ottoman Empire. The author begins by introducing one Vavara Surovova, a young Russian woman who is traveling dressed as a boy to meet her fiance who is a Russian soldier. Sadly, she is duped by her driver, who takes her to an inn, tells her he's going out to answer the call of nature, and takes off with her luggage, including money and passport. While she IS disguised, she is surrounded by an entire inn full of boisterous men, and has no money to pay for her meal. Just as she's ready to go into hysterics, she meets the most unlikely of saviors -- our own Erast Fandorin, who is also traveling to the regimental headquarters where Varya's fiance is stationed. They continue their travels & upon arriving, there is a crisis: Varya's fiance has been instructed to send a telegram with instructions regarding troop movements; but the telegram is sent with the wrong place name, costing the Russians many lives. It becomes a case of sabotage & treason, and Erast must get to the bottom of the mystery before the tide turns against the Russian army. I liked it, and I've already read Murder on the Leviathan, so now it's The Death of Achilles.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I'm really starting to love this series. In a departure from The Winter Queen, in this book the POV character is a woman named Varya who has traveled across Europe to the Turkish front to find her fiance. Abandoned by her guide, she's rescued by Erast Fandorin and then appointed to be his assistant (Fandorin manipulates this as a favor to her, since she would otherwise be shipped back to Russia). Fandorin is there because an old enemy seems to have surfaced as advisor to the Sultan, but his brie I'm really starting to love this series. In a departure from The Winter Queen, in this book the POV character is a woman named Varya who has traveled across Europe to the Turkish front to find her fiance. Abandoned by her guide, she's rescued by Erast Fandorin and then appointed to be his assistant (Fandorin manipulates this as a favor to her, since she would otherwise be shipped back to Russia). Fandorin is there because an old enemy seems to have surfaced as advisor to the Sultan, but his brief soon becomes the investigation of treason within the Russian camp. Though Varya is at first only nominally involved, she soon becomes invaluable to Fandorin--and develops a more personal interest in him as well. I liked Varya even though she starts off selfish and frivolous. Seeing Fandorin at a remove, through her eyes, makes him into a more serious and competent investigator than he was in The Winter Queen, though he's only a year older; he's mysterious and clever and a very romantic figure. Again, Akunin's mystery is complicated and seems to be solved several times before it actually is, and the true villain was a surprise. This also made me wonder about the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1877; how much of this story was true, or did Akunin make this part of the campaign up? As before, I'm left wishing that Andrew Bromfield (again, an amazing translator) could translate faster, or that I could read Russian and be able to read all thirteen Fandorin mysteries at once.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.