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Turkish Gambit

(Erast Fandorin Mysteries #2)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  7,125 ratings  ·  298 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
Paperback, 254 pages
Published October 5th 2005 by PHOENIX (ORIO) (first published 1998)
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Saba You don't necessarily need to read the first books to understand this one. This books is not a direct continuation of the first one.
There are, howeve…more
You don't necessarily need to read the first books to understand this one. This books is not a direct continuation of the first one.
There are, however, ties between the books. Two characters from the first book will reappear and both will mention stuff that happened in the first book. A thrid character will be mentioned quite cryptically. You won't understand this books any less but a detail or two may leave you a bit puzzled. (Like: Who is x? Why are z and y friends?) (less)
Konstantin Kostiuchenko It's better to start from the first book in the series to understand who the main character is. …moreIt's better to start from the first book in the series to understand who the main character is. (less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  7,125 ratings  ·  298 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
DNF. I did not finish this book so I’m not giving it a rating. I can see that some might enjoy this book, so I’ll give a brief summary of what I read. (See the punch-line at the end of my review.)

It’s fast-paced with a lot of action and just-in-time rescues of a damsel always in distress. As an example of the writing style, we learn on page 6 that our heroine has been abandoned in a roadside tavern by her male companion and left “alone in this dim, dirty, and distinctly malodorous sink of iniqu
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the Ottoman-Russian War in 1877, and a young liberated woman travels from Russia to the front lines to be with her soldier fiance. Along the way, she meets up with Erast Fandorin, a talented young man with a stammer.

Fandorin is put in charge of a project to identify and neutralize a master spy that no one has ever actually seen. He sets to work with a vengeance.

Highly recommended.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started this series a long time ago. I really enjoyed the The Winter Queen. Somehow, I managed to skip this second book and read all the other translated stories. This is a solid, old-fashioned, Victorian historical fiction, detective/spy thriller mashup. It’s very much in the vein of Jason Goodwin’s Yashim the Eunuch series, but Russian and set in the mid-1870s (mid-Victorian period).

Writing is good. Oddly, the POV did not include that of the protagonist (Erast Fandorin), which gave the b
Richard Derus
Jan 25, 2011 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
Katerina  Kondrenko
8.5 out of 10

I feel like this installment was slightly better than the first one and I hope for further improvement since there a LOT of books in this series. Here we witness real historical events that the author entwine with fiction in an intricate manner. Fandorin opens up from new angles, and, finally, I know what happened with him after the creepy final of Azazel. Almost 20 years of waiting, as I mentioned before xDD

I loved Varya's character. So sincere, strong, and funny. And despite
Assaph Mehr
Fandorin finds himself on the front lines of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 in the Balkans (at the siege of Plevna). This is a war story, as Fandorin unravels a spy-vs-spy style of behind-the-lines intrigue and espionage.

What to Expect

Each novel is written as a different type of mystery. Akunin set out to rectify the low-brow reputation of the mystery genre in post-USSR Russia by writing worthy literature and exploring the wide gamut of sub-genres. Each novel is therefore excellently written as a
Feb 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am bored!!!
Feb 26, 2012 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
Feb 20, 2012 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
May 14, 2008 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
Friederike Knabe
Nov 24, 2008 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
Mar 08, 2009 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
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
Stephanie Jane
I had quite high hopes for Turkish Gambit and had looked forward to a swashbuckling historical tale. Unfortunately I found the book rather dull. There are lots of lengthy conversations, but little in the way of descriptive writing about the country and period. I found it difficult to keep track of who everyone was too. Our heroine Varvara is well defined, but sleuth Erast Fandorin mostly kept himself to himself and it wasn't until the latter stages of the book that I thought the many other men i ...more
Nov 19, 2010 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
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perry Whitford
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
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
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
Azita Rassi
I liked it but not as much as Winter Queen. Why? Varvara annoyed me to no end and the book was all about her. Erast had become a marginal character. I dreaded a romance developing between her and Erast. I'll continue with the series, but I hope Erast regains his central position in the next book.
The part I loved the most was where Erast said that a state is more like a tree than a building. It cannot be rebuilt. It grows and it needs a gardener. This organic interpretation is what I believe in a
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. ...more
Andrew Orange
May 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-russian, mystery
The author is a schizophrenic. His books are the combination of liberal ideas with Russian imperialism and the cult of death. This is typical for most Russian intellectuals, but the rest of the readers don't understand it. B. Akunin is too liberal for some readers, and too repulsive (too Russian) for others. The double-headed eagle is the right crest of Russia. Yep. ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in Russian, and had a great time!
Again, very entertaining, twisty and fun.
However, this is more based on history, the Russo-Turkish wars if 19th century.
Funny aside. When I was studying Russian history and preparing for the oral college entrance exam in 1975,
my stepfather was helping me to practice. The night before the exam I was exhausted, and told him that I was as ready as I could ever be, and to leave me alone. He convinced me to try to answer just one more "ticket" (topic) at r
Ed Mestre
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ed by: Edward
I seem to be reading these Erast Fandorin mysteries out of order. First I read "The Death of Achilles", which was book #4 in the series. Somehow, I got it in my head that this was book #1 when it's actually #2. It's sort of like watching Star Wars in the movie release order rather than the "episode"order. But I did learn Achilles back story in this one. I guess I'll eventually read book one since I've enjoyed the series quite a bit so far. With it's stuttering intelligence agent in 19th century ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second reading - read it during the Christmas holidays at my niece's from her copy, and determined to get hold of the video. This turned out to be a problem that was neatly solved by an American friend of my niece and her husband who brought it over from the USA. One problem: although the menu page comes up with "Play___. Subtitles Off", and although I can move the cursor under "Off", nothing happens and I had to watch it in Russian. Perhaps this is why Amazon charges $14 for the DVD ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 2 of the Erast Fandorin series and it is quite different from the first, and as a matter of fact Erast barely appears in this book, but eventually comes to the rescue of the Russian army at the Siege of Plevna (historically accurate event) as well as when exposing the spy who was leaking secrets to the Turkish Army. The entire book is built around the Russian effort to recapture and free those good Christians who lived in Bulgaria, and was part of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. The book ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small jewel of a book. I marveled about Akunin's skill for character building. Varvara Sukorova was the eternal woman, whether you liked her or not. She likes her fiance more than she loves him and is wondering if it is OK to marry someone for pity sake. She also likes many a character in the book and she would not be able to decide whom to marry, would someone else offered for her. And yet, she is loyal in her friendship, eager to learn new things and fair to all.
I would have liked more of
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those, who are already introduced with The Adventures of Erast Fandorin, Turkish Gambit is the must-read one. Every book in the cycle is written in different styles of a detective novel, where Turkish Gambit is an espionage detective. Akunin published the first four books about Fandorin in 1998, including Turkish Gambit, which is the second book in the cycle. Main hero – Erast Fandorin is a 21 years old agent of the Russian secret police. The plot turns around the Turkish spy in the Russo-T ...more
phil Bentley
Not bad but not up there with Sharpe and Flashman. I bought it as was looking for a new series like the aforementioned characters. Will try the next in the series to be fair. But felt there was a lack of momentum in the story and the action when it did happen was quite quickly over. Still an interesting story about a Russian campaign that I didn’t know much about and was good to read about a n Wikipedia as well.
فریبا ارجمند
I did not like the book. I don't know why the author introduced a character like varia. she was more an object to be liked by men, a mere decorative thing, than a person, and her contribution to "the cause" was negligible. She was more a cliche than a character.
even the hero, Erast Fandorin was not as brilliant as he was in Winter Queen.
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Real name - Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (Russian: Борис Акунин; Georgian: გრიგოლ შალვას ძე ჩხარტიშვილი; Аlso see Grigory Chkhartishvili), born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1956. Since 1958 he lives in Moscow. Writer and translator from Japanese. 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 crea ...more

Other books in the series

Erast Fandorin Mysteries (1 - 10 of 16 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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