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Turkish Gambit (Erast Fandorin Mysteries #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,471 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Russian author Boris Akunin clearly delights in literary experimentation. The Winter Queen, his first novel to win U.S. release, was a police procedural, introducing a young but brilliant detective named Erast Petrovich Fandorin, serving in 1876 Moscow. However, Murder on the Leviathan (actually the third entry in the Fandorin series, but published second in the States) wa ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2005 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 20, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, audio-book, war, turkey
I enjoyed listening to this as I drove to and from work. However, toward the beginning I had trouble remembering who was who among the more secondary characters and found myself wishing I could flip back to earlier pages to remind myself. There were also a few times that I thought something was so beautifully written (or translated) that I wanted to stew over it for a bit. I think I'll eventually end up buying this in actual book form, so I can do just that.
So far I've enjoyed Akunin's Fandorin
Nov 19, 2011 Noce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dalla Russia con amore.

Si può civettare in un accampamento militare?
Si può fare spionaggio col sorriso?
Si può investigare balbettando?
Si può far capitolare un giovane vecchio?

Se esiste un modo per vedere una guerra con occhi naif, questo libro spiega come.
Not being well-versed in Russian history (which may actually help), this story based on the siege of Pleven during the Russo-Turkish war (well, one of the many) didn't have the appeal that the next book in the series did. There wasn't enough Fandolin (which is a shame because he is such fun), just the whole story from the point of view of Varvara, a "modern" woman who has romantically run off to join her fiance, a cryptographer. Varya is annoying in her fickleness, which she cops to at the very ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third according to the publisher of Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin Russian detective stories, however I think they must have them out of sequence as he departs on the trip covered in the second novel at the end of this story.

Akunin is quite interesting in that he looks at the narrative in each of these books in a different way, in this case we follow Varvara Suvorova as she journeys to the front line in the Russo-Turkish war of the 1870s to be with her cryptographer boyfriend. On the
Richard Derus
Jan 25, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book Report: Erast Petrovich Fandorin, titular counsellor of the Tsar's Special Branch (secret police, ugh), finds himself in the thick of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In a manner very like that of a skinny, stammering love-child of James Bond and Nero Wolfe, Fandorin arranges things so that the party responsible for the sudden and inglorious halt of victorious Russian armies to Constantinople, long the most urgent desire of Imperial Russian froeign policy, comes inevitably to light. ...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2nd in the Erast Fandorin series.[return][return]Set during the Russo-Turkish War, this installment features not so much Fandorin himself, but a modern (1877 style) liberated Russian woman, 22 year old Varvara Andreevna Suvorova, an emancipated Muscovite (kissing a woman s hands is so 18th century), who is following the Russian army to Bulgaria in order to be reunited with her grass husband, Pyotr. A guide leaves her stranded at an inn, stealing her horse and her money, an emancipated damsel in ...more
Emin Kiraz
A spy-story taking place during the Turkish-Russian War of 1877-78. The story is far from being well-established, but still has enough surprises at the end :)) Interesting to read historical events, in this story the famous battle at Plevne, in a fictitious framework. We might have not known the geniune causes and maybe we'll never learn. Comments and observations made by the characters are also interesting and usually in compatible with those in history books.
Michinio Camorelli
აკუნინის 2 წიგნი ერთდროულად ჩამივარდა ხელში: ეს და Любовница смерти. წიგნებს ეწერა რიგითობაც (#2 და #8) და ცხადი იყო, რომ თურქული გამბიტით უნდა დამეწყო, მაგრამ იყო ერთი ნიუანსი, რის გამოც მეორეთი დავიწყე - ადრე ნანახი მაქვს აკუნინის რომელიღაც წიგნის ეკრანიზაცია, რომელშიც ბევრი კი არაფერი მახსოვს, მაგრამ "ნა ზლო" რაც მახსოვს არის მთავარი რაზვიაზკა. შესაბამისად, ნუ გასაგებია. Любовница смерти-ს წაკითხვის შემდეგ, ვიფიქრე რომ ეს რადგან ისეთი კარგი ვერაა, იქნება ის იყოს კარგი-თქო, გავრისკე და როგორც ...more
Igor Tsinman
Jun 15, 2011 Igor Tsinman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Достойный автор!!!
Friederike Knabe
Feb 12, 2012 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ce-europe
"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 a ...more
During the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1877, Boris Akunin's eccentric and brilliant detective, Erast Fandorin, finds himself yet again at the center of the action. While attempting to return home to Russia after being a prisoner of the Turks, he rescues a rash young Russian woman trying to join her true love stationed at the Front. Since the woman has been robbed and needs transportation, he joins a poker game where wagers this damsel in distress against a donkey. Fortunately fo ...more
Perry Whitford
Oct 07, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it liked it
Enjoyable yet strangely tensionless espionage mystery featuring 19th century Russian super-sleuth Erast Fandorin, set during the Russio-Turkish war.

Somehow, the defending Turkish forces seem to know exactly what the advancing Cossacks are up to, leading to a protracted and bloody siege at the city of Plevna, thwarting the progress of the superior Russian army hoping to make it all the way to Constantinople - an eventuailty against the wishes of the majority of European nations.

Akunin has achie
Mar 07, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to be honest, this is the first Fandorin book that I've read, but not the first in the series (obviously). I saw it in a second-hand bookstore and thought it looked interesting.

Unfortunately, not so much.

The setting is interesting. I got the book because I enjoy reading historical novels set during times I didn't learn much about in school. So I can give it that! And while a little expected, I did like when everything started becoming a real pop-mystery novel.


Varya is a caricature o
Diana Vassileva-ditsy
Привлича с това, че действието се развива изцяло на българска земя. Освен това го има и историческия елемент - поставих си за задача да търся исторически несъответствия, но такива не открих. Акунин е изпипал всичко, до последния детайл, което си е впечатляващо.

Проблемът с тази повест е следния: действието се развива от гледна точка на жена. Което означава неизбежен анализ на всякакви чувства, емоции и женски позиции. Когато тези неща са представени от гледната точка на мъж е някак...мило. Липсва
Kimmo Sinivuori
This is the second book in the Erast Fandorin series of historical detective novels. I really liked the first one The Winter Queen but this one fails to impress. Although this is a very well written story, it doesn't spark and has the feel of the difficult second novel. The setting is excellent, the Russo-Turkish war, and the period is well evoked and there are some nicely sketched characters. While The Winter Queen was a detective story in the Conan Doyle style, this one owns more to George Mac ...more
May 20, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good read. I loved it! It helps if you have read some Turgenev or Lermontov's "Hero..." but you would enjoy even if you hadn't. Interesting narrative in that the "hero" Fandorin is never given a voice and we are never taken into his confidence. This works really well as his detachment remains absolute and in keeping with the Byronic type although there is a warmth about him which does make him
appealing.I loved the humour and the characters were wonderful, in particular Zurov.I will defin
Nov 19, 2010 Valissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I am opposed to democracy in general. One man is unequal to another from the very beginning, and there is nothing you can do about it. The democratic principle infringes the rights of those who are more intelligent, more talented, and harder working; it places them in a position of dependence of the foolish will of the stupid, talentless, and lazy, because society always contains more of the later. Let our compatriots first learn to rid themselves of their swinish ways and earn the right to bea ...more
Apr 30, 2016 Nirit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
לקח לי המון זמן לזכור את כל השמות המסובכים של דמויות המשנה ולזכור מה תפקידו של כל אחד מהם.
גם פחות אהבתי את הבחירה לספר את הסיפור דרך עיניה של ווריה ולא דרך עיניו של פנדורין. אבל עדיין הספר הוא מרתק.
Nina Ivanova
Dec 21, 2014 Nina Ivanova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review (including movie and spoilers alert)/Цялото ревю (плюс филм и спойлери) - click, click


С удоволствие се потопих в стила на Акунин. Той пише много леко, достъпно и увлекателно - поне в тези му книги. Скоро ми стана ясно, че това няма да ми стане любимата негова книга, но и също така, че ще е приятна за четене и много по-добра от историите за Пелагия или за Магистъра. Тук се плетат и нищят политически интриги, което не ми е любимата част при кримки и трилъри - аз предпочита
Listened to it from MyiLibrary, actually. Which was so easy: way faster and simpler than burning books on CD to the iPod.

I'm no expert on audiobook narration, and David Foster Wallace may have spoiled me for less-ideal narrators. I think this fellow is trying to be dry but sometimes just sounds blase, or limp. His voice differentiation is clever and useful but his accents are of mixed quality. The Irish is pretty good, the French eh, the Russian eh. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, he mispronounce
Jul 14, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Translated by Andrew Bromfield. In 1877, war wages between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Diplomat and police agent Fandorin is recruited to find the identity of and capture the mysterious Anwar, a Turkish spy who is intervening with the course of war in the middle of the operations. A young, headstrong and beautiful woman, Varya, whose fiancé is arrested for espionage himself, is pressed upon him as an unwilling assistant. She is pressed on all sides by gallant generals, war heroes, a dashing F ...more
Melissa McShane
I'm really starting to love this series. In a departure from The Winter Queen, in this book the POV character is a woman named Varya who has traveled across Europe to the Turkish front to find her fiance. Abandoned by her guide, she's rescued by Erast Fandorin and then appointed to be his assistant (Fandorin manipulates this as a favor to her, since she would otherwise be shipped back to Russia). Fandorin is there because an old enemy seems to have surfaced as advisor to the Sultan, but his brie ...more
Nancy Oakes
really, a 3.5 stars rating

Just in case you're interested, this may be the 3rd book in the series in order of release in the United States, but it follows shortly after The Winter Queen in chronology.

I do recommend it, but probably only if you've at least read The Winter Queen and enjoy the character of Ernst Fandorin. This book is not quite as good as Winter Queen or Murder on the Leviathan, so you may not enjoy it as much.

The story is set in 1877, while Russia is doing battle with the Ottoman
Mar 12, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit confusing since this book was more about Varya than the "detective" Fandorin...and several of the characters had nicknames along with their names...not to mention with several of the names were Turkish or Russian, I found this book just ok. I am going to read another Fandorin mystery since his character is intriguing in that he similar to Sherlock Holmes (even though I haven't read too much Arthur Conan Doyle, another author to be added to my to-read-list). However, Varya was an interestin ...more
This is, chronologically, the second of the Fandorin mysteries, although they weren't translated into English in the right order, and the title refers to the Russian-Ottoman Empire war of 1876-78. After the personal tragedy that ended the first Fandorin novel, in which he foiled an international conspiracy, Fandorin becomes a bit rootless, volunteering for military service in Serbia at a time when the Russians were trying to push the Ottoman Empire back from Muslim enclaves in Eastern Europe.

Second title in Akunin's Erast Fandorin series. We find Fandorin again after the tragic ending of his first real case. He's become more detached, older despite his very young age. Less vain, less social. Which is the perfect backdrop for this tale of life, intrigue and heroism in the War between Russian and Turkey in the 1887. Fandorin is not much there, except for the high points of the mystery. We see life with the army, on the edge of the battlefield through the eyes of Varya. A young Russian ...more
russell barnes
Another one for you Paul!

It's much better second time around. I think I panic read it immediately after Murder on the Leviathan (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #3) by Boris Akunin last time, so didn't really absorb all the subtle nuances pointing to the spy. Also, call it being more used to the myriad patronymic Russian names, this time I was less confused/bogged down by people being called different things.

To the story though! As ever it's a neat mix of Holmes, Tolstoy and my A-Level history teacher Mr Hydes. Strangely Fandorin takes a backseat to lady-lead Varvara
Picked this one up at a used book sale because I read The Winter Queen years ago for a Russian culture class and enjoyed it.
It has been several years since I read The Winter Queen, and I'd forgotten some of the characters, also there was apparently another book in between that one and this, which I missed. Still, it stood well enough on its own, and did a plot twist I was not expecting. I am, of course, sad at the characteristic callousness with respect to the lives of appealing characters, but
I enjoyed the second* of the Erast Fandorin mysteries more than the first. Unlike the first novel, we're never inside Fandorin's head; instead, we follow the picaresque adventures of Varya Andreevna Suvorova, a well-bred young revolutionary, who runs away from home to follow her fiance, serving in the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish war of 1876. Through a series of circumstances, Varya ends up as Fandorin's "assistant" and so takes part in a plan to unmask a Turkish spy in the Russian rank ...more
Rafal Jasinski
Dec 15, 2011 Rafal Jasinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Akunin, po raz kolejny, nie zawodzi! "Gambit turecki" ma wszystkie cechy, które tak sobie chwaliłem w pierwszej powieści z cyklu o Fandorinie, "Azazelu". Ponownie więc świetna narracja, utrzymana w stylu retro-kryminału, jest idealnie kontrapunktowana przez całkiem nowocześnie prowadzoną fabułę - masa tu naprawdę zaskakujących zwrotów akcji, niespodziewanych "zejść" bohaterów i mylenia tropów. Intryga, co prawda nieco mniej skomplikowana, ale za to dużo bardziej prawdopodobna a do tego akcja osa ...more
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Real name - Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (see Grigory Chkhartishvili), born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1956. Since 1958 he lives in Moscow. Writer and translator from Japanease. Author of crime stories set in tsarist Russia. In 1998 he made his debut with novel Azazel (to English readers known as The Winter Queen), where he created Erast Pietrovich Fandorin.

B. Akunin refers to Mikhail Alexandr
More about Boris Akunin...

Other Books in the Series

Erast Fandorin Mysteries (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #1)
  • Murder on the Leviathan (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #3)
  • The Death of Achilles (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #4)
  • Special Assignments (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #5)
  • Статский советник (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #6)
  • Коронация, или Последний из романов (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #7)
  • Любовница смерти (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #8)
  • Любовник смерти (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #9)
  • Алмазная колесница (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #10)
  • Нефритовые четки (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #11)

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“The double-headed eagle that serves the Russian Empire as its crest illustrates quite magnificently the entire system of government of that country, where any matter of even the slightest importance is not entrusted to a single authority but at least two,” 1 likes
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