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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Especially satisfying
This is an unusually long book for Akunin, and the tone is generally direct and serious rather than whimsical - not too much of that Russian verbal humour that is so tricky to translate. As a result it is also exceptionally satisfying, whether for an established Akunin fan or someone dipping into the saga of Fandorin, the Russian Sherlock Holmes-equivalent, for the...
Published on 2 Oct 2011 by Alyson BAILES

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Akunin's chosen writing style for this novel obviously aims at explaining Japanese culture for the Russians and others. I certainly don't know whether he does it accurately, but he certainly creates an interesting pair of plots out of it. The book is too long and, in the end, I came away thinking that the economic (and for a while military) success enjoyed by the Japanese...
Published 14 months ago by Graham R. Hill


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Especially satisfying, 2 Oct 2011
By 
Alyson BAILES (Reykjavik) - See all my reviews
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This is an unusually long book for Akunin, and the tone is generally direct and serious rather than whimsical - not too much of that Russian verbal humour that is so tricky to translate. As a result it is also exceptionally satisfying, whether for an established Akunin fan or someone dipping into the saga of Fandorin, the Russian Sherlock Holmes-equivalent, for the first time. Running from the time of the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 (with the first Russian revolution peeping over the horizon) back to the young Fandorin's first experiences in Japan, it is full of colour and incident as well as insights into the hero's formative experiences. It is also a cracking detective story with a kind of 'Chinese boxes' construction that reveals twist after twist - with the best and most shocking on the final page. Thoroughly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Schoolboy romp or enlightened myth?, 12 Nov 2011
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Geoff Crocker (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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Boris Akunin's latest Erast Fandorin saga is a gripping read, at whatever level it is taken. On a straight reading, it is a vintage schoolboy romp through Russian and Japanese spies' and agents' plots and intrigues, with ninja figures displaying fantastical magical powers pitted against the illustrious detective who deploys intelligence, courage and physique. Exaggeration certainly produces effect. A string of characters meet gruesome deaths by exotic means. Fandorin is frequently saved miraculously. National characteristics, Russian, Japanese and British, are totally stereotyped. So don't expect an accurate historical novel.

Whether Akunin intends or allows a second level reading, where the tale becomes myth of the type exemplified by Hindu religion's Ram and Sita myth, is not clear. But there are sufficient hints in the closing sections to suggest some reflection on motivation in life, whether love, patriotism, `honour' which can be distorted to frequent suicide as an evasion of responsibility, self, friendship, tradition, tribe etc. As myth, the story generates potential deep debate, but perhaps that would spoil the hugely enjoyable escapist schoolboy romp?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 24 Sep 2011
I have loved this series since seeing recomended in The Times a few years back. From the first book I have fell in love with the style of writing, the variety of storylines and the great character development. Watching Mr Fandorin develop as a character has been a true pleasure though I must admit to falling slightly out of love with the character the more analytical, cold and clincial that he becomes.

The first third of the book is the story of modern day Fandorin in a new case, based in and around the Russo Japanese war it is both engaging and interesting. It is exciting, well paced and whilst not a mystery the steps taken are thoroughly enjoyable.

Then came the real pleasure, the other two thirds of the book are set in the earlier life of our hero back when he visited Japan, something which has always been aluded too but never examined and what a great tour de force this is! It was a trip down memory lane and a real joy, like bumping into an old friend you expected never to see again, seeing young Fandorin once again. The analytical yet socially awkward youngster, the great mind without the self confidence to follow, the slightly unsure and reserved air of the character is truly great to behold once again. It took me back to a, what was for myself, perfect time in the series, a time of the series that I loved the most and I thank the author for allowing us back in.

The story itself is very good. Well paced with the intricate twists and turns that you expect from the greatest Akunin novels. The characters are all well portrayed the villans are dastardley, the dames are delicious and the scenes the author paints are both believable and magnificent. The book kept me guessing until the very end and the end itself, it was a truly heart rending moment. A moment that has defined the character throughout the series, a glimpse of what could have been.

Mr Akunin has the ability to produce such masterpieces as this and I can only hope he continues to do so for the final 4 books of the series. Bravo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fandorin at his finest!, 19 Jan 2013
By 
Wizzard (Carms, Wales) - See all my reviews
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I have read all the Fandorin tales and always look forward with great anticipation to each new release. This latest novel explains all of Mr F's back story. Now we understand his interest in all things Japanese and the explanation does not disappoint. We also learn how Masa came to share his adventures. It has been a thrilling journey so far and I hope this is not the last outing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tad too long, 16 Jan 2012
This was my first encounter of Boris Akunin and what a pleasant surprise.

The cover didn't really grip me when I first saw it but now see it through different eyes.

The book is split mainly into thirds with the first third showing Fandorin in the modern day whilst the remaining two thirds visit the younger Fandorin.

Set in the late 1800's Russian born writer Akunin sets Fandorin off on a trial of adventure visiting settings, beautifully described, as far a field as opium dens and gambling houses. The characters throughout the book are well described and you seem to get to know them quite well.

A book with an immense amount of twists and turns that kept you going right up until the very end without being able to predict the outcome.

My only regret... that I hadn't read the earlier books in the saga and gotten to know the character a little better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent installment of the Fandorin series, 6 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Diamond Chariot: The Further Adventures of Erast Fandorin (Erast Fandorin 10) (Paperback)
This is an excellent read for all of us who love Erast Fandorin and his amazing adventures. In the first part we see the hero as a middle aged man attempting to foil a series of attacks on Russian railroads during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-1905. His enemy is formidable and their battles, both physical and of wits, are a real joy to read. However there is more, much more, to this book than just that.
It flips back in time some twenty years or so and details a youthful Fandorin arriving in Japan and attempting to solve an intricate mystery. In so doing it explains something of the older Fandorin and his attributes. These were mentioned in the earlier volumes but how he came by them never revealed. This is interesting in itself, but Akunin’s exploration of elements of Japanese culture are fascinating in themselves. All the wonderful fundamentals of the series are there as is a beautiful depiction of the Russian’s falling in love.
The story itself is well paced with the intricate twists and turns that you expect from this series, and the characters are all well portrayed. The book keeps you guessing until the very end when a real twist to the story is revealed.
I have loved this series from the very first book and am a great admirer of the author. His style of writing (at least in translation) makes them easy to read and his variety of storylines and character development are fascinating. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Akunin is a Master Wordsmith, 1 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Diamond Chariot: The Further Adventures of Erast Fandorin (Erast Fandorin 10) (Paperback)
I particularly liked this instalment of Erast Fandorins shenanigans because it details his earlier years and his meeting with faithful Masa and has quite a poignant ending
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5.0 out of 5 stars Akunin, 18 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Diamond Chariot: The Further Adventures of Erast Fandorin (Erast Fandorin 10) (Paperback)
The master takes us
On a journey of learning
Now to be revealed

a must read for Erast Petrovich Fandorin afficionados
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5.0 out of 5 stars Erastus lives, 15 Jan 2014
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What an amazing book, full of light hearted humour and explanations of ancient Japanese magic. Almost impossible to put down, with a great love story too.
The ending is an eye opener!
The author deserves to be feted; such an imagination. And a brilliant translation which retains all the irony and humour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Diamond Chariot: The Further Adventures of Erast Fandorin, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Diamond Chariot: The Further Adventures of Erast Fandorin (Erast Fandorin 10) (Paperback)
Fantastic as usual. I haven't quite finished the book and as usual it is really difficult to put down. It is interesting to read about Erast's previous life.
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