The Death of Achilles (Erast Fandorin Series #3)

( 7 )

Overview

In 1882, after six years of foreign travel and adventure, renowned diplomat and detective Erast Fandorin returns to Moscow in the heart of Mother Russia. His Moscow homecoming is anything but peaceful. In the hotel where he and his loyal if impertinent manservant Masa are staying, Fandorin’s old war-hero friend General Michel Sobolev (“Achilles” to the crowd) has been found dead, felled in his armchair by an apparent heart attack. But Fandorin suspects an unnatural cause. His suspicions lead him to the boudoir of...
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The Death of Achilles (Erast Fandorin Series #3)

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Overview

In 1882, after six years of foreign travel and adventure, renowned diplomat and detective Erast Fandorin returns to Moscow in the heart of Mother Russia. His Moscow homecoming is anything but peaceful. In the hotel where he and his loyal if impertinent manservant Masa are staying, Fandorin’s old war-hero friend General Michel Sobolev (“Achilles” to the crowd) has been found dead, felled in his armchair by an apparent heart attack. But Fandorin suspects an unnatural cause. His suspicions lead him to the boudoir of the beautiful singer–“not exactly a courtesan”–known as Wanda. Apparently, in Wanda’s bed, the general secretly breathed his last. . . .
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Akunin’s] novels feature a Slavic Sherlock Holmes who speaks Japanese and English, is skilled at martial arts and has ladykiller good looks. . . . Millions of readers have been seduced.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“[Akunin] writes gloriously pre-Soviet prose, sophisticated and suffused in Slavic melancholy and thoroughly worthy of nineteenth-century forebears like Gogol and Chekhov.”
–Time

“Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have praised [Akunin’s] clever plots, vivid characters and wit as sharp as the sword hidden in Fandorin’s walking stick.”
–Baltimore Sun

“Akunin’s wonderful novels are always intricately webbed and plotted.”
–The Providence Journal

Marilyn Stasio
In Andrew Bromfield's exuberant translation of The Death of Schilles, this "young Adonis" applies his investigative skills to the politically awkward death of a beloved war hero, earning gasps of admiration for his piercing intelligence, athletic prowess and, above all, dashing style.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Akunin has embarked on a unique concept for a mystery series: he uses the same protagonist in various mystery genres. Fans of his detective Erast Fandorin will be delighted with this work. Here, Erast is attempting to solve the mysterious passing of a national hero who was in the process of changing the course of the Russian empire of the late 19th century. His primary adversary is a professional assassin, a man portrayed with unusual sympathy. Petty thugs, crooked officials, courtesans, and various connivers are all part of this intriguing tale, and narrator Paul Michael makes each one uniquely memorable. His presentation is rich in aural ambience and has an engaging cadence. For lovers of sophisticated mysteries, this is very highly recommended.-Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Collegiate Assessor Erast Petrovich Fandorin meets his match when he investigates the death of a beloved Russian general. Adjutant-General Michel Sobolev was so popular-the closest thing to a national hero Russia could boast in 1882-that he was nicknamed "the White General." By a series of coincidences, his old acquaintance Fandorin (The Turkish Gambit, 2005, etc.) is on hand to assist the legions of official authorities when the 38-year-old general is suddenly found dead. Despite obvious indications of skullduggery, Sobolev apparently died of natural causes while he was in the throes of passion. So why has his death unleashed such violence? Avenging an attack on Masahiro Sibata, his Japanese manservant, by killing several lowlifes, Fandorin finds himself on the trail of a mysterious briefcase that's disappeared from Sobolev's hotel. He also becomes seriously at odds with the Tsar's police and in the middle of some deep-laid political intrigue. His investigations in the first half of the novel are complemented by a long narrative that shows how a criminal mastermind came of age and accepted a commission to kill Sobolev. As the two adversaries draw closer to each other, Akunin also pauses long enough for nods to Gogol, Conan Doyle and The Pink Panther. This time, however, the author's trademark playfulness is subordinated to a relatively sober account that makes this the most straightforward, even conventional, of Fandorin's adventures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812968804
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/18/2006
  • Series: Erast Fandorin Series , #3
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 384,401
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

BORIS AKUNIN is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who was born in the republic of Georgia in 1956. A philologist, critic, essayist, and translator of Japanese, he published his first detective stories in 1998 and quickly became one of the most widely read authors in Russia. He has written ten Erast Fandorin novels to date, which have sold more than eight million copies in Russia and been translated into nearly two dozen languages. He lives in Moscow.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Afabulous Russian historical police procedural

    Renowned Russian war hero General Sobolev is found dead in his room at Moscow¿s Dusseaux Hotel, a victim of a heart attack. Prince Fandorin, just back from six years of diplomatic duty in Japan to take the job of Deputy for Special Assignments, is stunned to learn of the death of his friend.----- Even more shocking is that he learns that the ¿Russian Achilles¿ as the General was affectionately known had not died in the room where the body was found and he was in the throes of passion so had not been alone. Fandorin obtains reluctant permission from his superior the Governor of Moscow Prince Vladimir Andreevich Dolgoruski to investigate. With his Japanese manservant Maso assisting him, Fandorin makes inquires into the final days of his mentor only to find himself pitted against a diabolical opponent with no scruples and the strong backing of the leaderships of government, the military and the underworld to stonewall him.------ THE DEATH OF ACHILLES is a fabulous Russian historical police procedural that besides entertaining the reader will stun fans as the key viewpoint shifts from Fandorin to the killer about half way into the exciting story line. The mystery is first rate, the deep look at late nineteenth century Moscow is superb, Fandorin is his usual amusing aside self and the killer first rate. The translation of Boris Akunin¿s excellent thriller is a winner.----- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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