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Turkish Gambit (Erast Fandorin, No. 2) (Erast Fandorin 3) Paperback – 5 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (5 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753819996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753819999
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'great entertainment.' -- OBSERVER

Book Description

Erast Fandorin returns in another thrilling Russian crime caper, from the bestselling author of THE WINTER QUEEN.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 July 2006
Format: Paperback
The plot is captivating. That is one. Erast Fandorin is one of the most likeable detectives ever. That is two. There's a host of other quixotic characters. That is three. The language is delightful (three cheers for the translator). That is four. The humour is at times hilarious. That is five.

Conclusion: by all means buy this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe on 30 April 2008
Format: Paperback
"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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 14 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
As with Murder on the Leviathan, I think that Erast's character comes across in a much more entertaining manner when he's viewed from the perspective of another character and here we have the somewhat naive, passionate and at times, coquettish Varvara Suvorova.

Suvorova starts the book in something of a predicament - having poorly disguised herself as a boy in order to travel from Russia to Bulgaria she is betrayed by her guide who leaves her in a pub and makes off with her money, passport and possessions. It is only due to Fandorin's timely arrival (he is heading to the front line to give the General Staff some urgent intelligence on troop movements) and his uncanny luck at games of chance that she is rescued and together they head to the Russian camp.

As the story continues, Suvorova begins to have second thoughts as to whether she is right to marry her beleagured fiancé and has her head turned by the many brave journalists and dashing Russian officers who take note of her and of course, also the brilliant young Fandorin. As a character, I found that I quite liked her and Akunin makes good use of her naivete and at times, contrary nature. There's a constant undercurrent that her feelings for Fandorin are growing, even if she doesn't understand it and at times, Akunin hints that he could reciprocate.

The actual mystery element to the story is deftly handled in such a way that whilst you have your suspicions as to who the spy is, it's not so obvious that you can't enjoy the denouement. Akunin's skill at pacing the plot definitely helps in this regard - as a reader you feel catapulted along with events and he constantly throws up new twists to keep you guessing.

I do however have two criticisms of the book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think I know why they translated this novel (chronologically, the second of the series) third. It's demands a kind of prior appreciation of what Akunin can do, a knowledge of how good he is, before you can fully appreciate it. Turkish Gambit is, without doubt, as good as last year's Murder on the Leviathan, a wickedly witty, masterfully observed - and also reverent - pastiche of the Christie style crime genre. However, it's superior to the first, The Winter Queen. Anyone who read and liked either of those novels will not be disappointed by this.
As a background, the Russo-Turkish war is obscure. That's both a benefit and a drawback. The fact that you'll rarely have read a centring on that period makes this completely original, but given that you've probably no knowledge of it at all, it requires a bit of effort to get straight. It's a challenge, perhaps, but it is without doubt a rewarding. It's a very effective setting, in the end, for this war-based pastiche.
I entirely enjoyed this novel. I dock a star only because Leviathan was so utterly superb. It's exciting, very funny indeed, twisty, and Akunin's writing is as tart and sly as ever. I love it. With every book, Fandorin seems to become even more of an enigma, which is a nice trick to pull off. By all means, buy this book if you've enjoyed either of his others: it's more of the glorious same, and yet is entirely original as well.
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