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The State Counsellor (1999)

by Boris Akunin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Erast Fandorin (6)

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403761,799 (3.96)7
Russia, 1891. The new governor-general of Siberia has been secreted away on a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow. A blizzard rages outside as a mustachioed official climbs aboard near the city; with his trademark stutter, he introduces himself as State Counsellor Erast Fandorin. He then thrusts a dagger inscribed with the initials CG into the governor-general's heart and, tearing off his mustache, escapes out the carriage window. The head of the Department of Security soon shows up at the real Fandorin's door and arrests him for murder. The only way to save his reputation is to find CG--and the government mole who is feeding the group information. Can Fandorin survive corruption among his fellow officials, the fearlessness of an unknown enemy, and the advances of a sultry young nihilist with his morals intact?… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is the latest entry I could find in the series by Akunin that features Ernst Fandorin, a gifted and sometimes cursed detective operating in old Russia before WWI. I think the first of these occurs during the Crimean War, or at least a war with Turkey.

In this one, Fandorin has signed on as a Counsellor with a prince who also runs the various police departments in Moscow, just as the anarchist movement is blowing things up. The dual track of the anarchist leader and Fandorin is well managed, and the subtle politics is definitely worth the read.

note: Fandorin has spent time in the East, and has a Japanese manservant and physical trainer who could have been the straightfaced basis for Inspector Clouseau's manservant in the Peter Sellers movies. Fandorin's guests are inevitably surprised by the man and the physical training they witness.
  ffortsa | Nov 8, 2018 |
Another tour-de-force from Boris Akunin! At first glance, the opening sequence -- with its quick revelation that all was not as it appeared -- seemed a miscalculation, but further reading indicated that chapters would be alternating between State Counsellor Fandorin's point of view and that of the lead anarchist, code-named Green. This proved to be an effective device, as the parallel timelines interweave and backtrack, serving to heighten the plot tension. -- Erast Petrovich quickly finds himself investigating the activities of a lethal group of nihilists and soon discovers he must ferret out the identity of a mole within the ranks of law enforcement. Plots and counterplots swirl, and our hero (as well as the reader!) is never quite certain who is trustworthy and who is not. The tangle of Russian bureaucracy (to say nothing of the various patronymics) is a bit difficult to keep straight in one's mind, but the effort is well worth it. The conclusion to the plot satisfyingly ties up all the loose ends, but the epilogue is sufficiently ambiguous as to make one wonder if this might not be the final Fandorin adventure. (I, for one, hope NOT!) ( )
  David_of_PA | Jul 14, 2018 |
Another tour-de-force from Boris Akunin! At first glance, the opening sequence -- with its quick revelation that all was not as it appeared -- seemed a miscalculation, but further reading indicated that chapters would be alternating between State Counsellor Fandorin's point of view and that of the lead anarchist, code-named Green. This proved to be an effective device, since the timelines interwove and backtracked, which served to heighten the plot tension. -- Erast Petrovich quickly finds himself involved with the activities of a lethal group of nihilists and soon discovers he must ferret out the identity of a mole within the ranks of law enforcement. Plots and counterplots swirl, and our hero (as well as the reader!) is never quite certain whom is to be trusted and whom is not. The tangle of Russian bureaucracy (to say nothing of the various patronymics) is a bit difficult to keep straight in one's mind, but the effort is well worth it. The conclusion to the plot satisfyingly ties up all the loose ends, but the final epilogue is sufficiently ambiguous as to make one wonder if this might not be the final Fandorin adventure. (I hope not!) ( )
  DavidMD | Jul 29, 2017 |
State Counsellor Erast Fandorin in his role as detective is charged not only to protect but also to bring to justice revolutionaries who are assassinating key political figures in the Tsar’s regime. The lengthy novel deftly moves the reader within the historical background of Imperial Russia and all its foibles and greedy intrigues. It is an excellent translation. ( )
  mcdenis | May 22, 2017 |
Always the same, always different. Every Fandorin mystery is unique but easily recognisable. WOnderful storytelling, revealing, deep but with an overwhelming sense of fun also. Anyone who loves a good mystery will lap this stuff up. Fandorin is a legendary character. ( )
  polarbear123 | Oct 19, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boris Akuninprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bauer, JerryPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bromfield, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nikkilä, AntonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tretner, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van der Ent, ArieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The windows on the left bank were blank, sightless wall eyes, crusted with ice and wet snow.
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Russia, 1891. The new governor-general of Siberia has been secreted away on a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow. A blizzard rages outside as a mustachioed official climbs aboard near the city; with his trademark stutter, he introduces himself as State Counsellor Erast Fandorin. He then thrusts a dagger inscribed with the initials CG into the governor-general's heart and, tearing off his mustache, escapes out the carriage window. The head of the Department of Security soon shows up at the real Fandorin's door and arrests him for murder. The only way to save his reputation is to find CG--and the government mole who is feeding the group information. Can Fandorin survive corruption among his fellow officials, the fearlessness of an unknown enemy, and the advances of a sultry young nihilist with his morals intact?

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