The State Counsellor

Written by Boris Akunin

Moscow, 1891: On a secret train, passing through snowy wastes, an assassin claiming to be State Counsellor Erast Fandorin stabs the new Governor General of Siberia to death. The dagger has the initials “CG” carved into the ivory hilt. The real Fandorin seeks to clear his name and investigate the shadowy group responsible—the revolutionary Combat Group. This quest leads Fandorin into an underworld of squabbling revolutionaries, official corruption, femme fatales, mysterious veiled informants, and brilliant adversaries, in this action-packed and intellectually stimulating novel.

Akunin writes literate and thrilling mysteries. This latest Fandorin book, the first available to American readers in a decade, proves no exception to that rule. Fandorin’s adversary, the revolutionary Green, is a remarkable person whose synesthesia marks him as an unforgettable character. The other players are equally well drawn. A list of names would have been a help to me, as I confess that the Russian naming system, veering from surnames to patronymics to first names in a single paragraph, challenged me. I finally made my own list. Still, that proved a trifling inconvenience. This is an intelligent and stimulating mystery, filled with action, entertaining and unexpected plot twists, and peopled with fascinating characters, and I highly recommend this book.