"(An) elegantly spun yarn... Akunin's wonderful novels are always intricatly webbed and plotted."
- The Providence Journal
It Is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its diffıculties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has disguised herself as a boy in order to reunite with her respected comrade and fıance. Even after Fandorin saves her life, Varya can hardly bear to thank such a "lackey of the throne" for his efforts.
When Varya's fıance is accused of espionage and faces execution, however, she must turn to Fandorin to fınd the real culprit - a mission that forces her to reckon with his courage, deductive mind, and piercing gaze.
"This sophisticated mystery is a marvel."
- The Boston Globe
"Akonin's mystery (series) is wildly popular in his homeland, and deservedly so. His plots are intricate... Impressive."
- The Hew Yorker
"Fandorin delves with his customary mix of taciturn superiority and apparent bewilderment. He is a delightful character like no other in crime fiction."
- The Times (London)