Monday, January 23, 2012
The Winter Queen: a book review
I’ve just finished The Winter Queen (Азазель), the first Erast Fandorin novel by Boris Akunin (Борис Акунин)
The book is a detective thriller set in Russia in 1876, a decade after Dostoyevsky wrote Crime and Punishment. The main character is a Moscow policeman who stumbles on an international conspiracy, being promoted into the Third Section of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery (III отделение), the predecessor of the Okhrana, in the course of his not entirely successful efforts to thwart the fiendish plot. The action is set in Moscow, St Petersburg, and London.
I enjoyed this book, because I love historical detective fiction as a genre. Within the genre, I think I prefer the novels of C. J. Sansom and, even more, the superb The Name of the Rose. This may be because the translator didn’t quite do Akunin justice.