Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel” as Want to Read:
Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel (Sister Pelagia Mysteries #3)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  918 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The ship carrying the devout to Jerusalem has run into rough waters. Onboard is Manuila, controversial leader of the “Foundlings,” a sect that worships him as the Messiah. But soon the polarizing leader is no longer a passenger or a prophet but a corpse, beaten to death by someone almost supernaturally strong. But not everything is as it seems, and someone else sailing has ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This book reminds me somewhat of a mayonnaise gone slightly wrong. It has all the required ingredients, many of which are of the highest quality, but their proportions, the way in which they have been added and the sequence of their incorporation and direction of 'stir' are not the best and the result lacks smoothness and satisfaction. If I were to rate this book on the basis of its last 2-3 chapters I would give it 5*****. They are striking in their intensity, imagination, profundity and audac
Inese Okonova
Ļoti grūti kaut ko uzrakstīt par šo līdz absurdam novesto postmoderno detektīvu. Ja (kā man brīžiem šķiet) tas bija nopietni domāts un mēģina izklāstīt autora morāli reliģiskos uzskatus, tad atliek saķert galvu un nošausmināties par nejēdzīgo pseidofilozofiju. Bet ticamāk jau tomēr, ka šī ir kārtējā rotaļa ar lasītāju un detektīva žanru. Un tad jāatzīst, ka bija jautri, lai gan vietumis pamatīgi pārsālīts.
Pareizticīgo mūķene-detektīve Pelagija šeit no savas izdomātās Aizvolgas aizkuļas līdz pat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite book on time travel ever! Reading all the negative reviews of the novel, I could understand because yes it is grisly, and yes the plot is crazy..... with time travel and armageddon mixd in with a boatload of religious fanatics, crazy converts and prophets... (both murdered and doubles alike)... Sister Pelagia is Miss Marple in the guise of an Orthodox nun and well..... her time travel back to the streets of Jerusalem, Sodom and beyond.. are all totally over the top. And yet I could not ...more
Jan 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Religious mysteries seem to be in vogue, but this was just stupid. I've never heard of "special caves" or their relationship to red roosters before, maybe it's a russian thing or completely from the author's imagination, but that plot point was so out-there it ruined the story for me. The strange town and castle with the psychotic russian nobleman were hardly believable, but the super-assassin and the graphic details of his kills were stomach-churning and ultimately unresolved. This is supposed ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I struggled through this one trying to decipher what was going on due to the various characters (all in love with the nun) and their investigations....should not have bothered since the ending was so sacrilegious for reasons nothing to do with the nun.
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Have rooster, will travel.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Russian mystery set vaguely in the 1880-1920s--hard to say, featuring lots of religious nuts. The focus in on a group of Russian Greek Orthodox trying to convert to Judaism. The detective is a nun and the plot is convoluted. It also involves special caves apparently capable of time travel--if you have a red rooster.
Questo libro conclude la trilogia delle avventure di Pelagija, ma al contrario dei due libri precedenti, credo che qui il mio amato Akunin abbia messo un po' troppa carne al fuoco, ed il risultato e' un minestrone abbastanza improbabile. Peccato.
PELAGIA & THE RED ROOSTER is the third book (and I believe the last) in this series by Russian author Grigory Chkhartishvili aka Boris Akunin. Readers may be more aware of the six Erast Fandorin novels, which I understand have sold over 18 million copies in Russia alone.

This is the first of the Pelagia novels I've read, having had the pleasure of a few of the Fandorin novels before, and I was reminded again of the absolute feeling of 19th and, in this case, 20th Century Russian sensibility
Сионисты, антисионисты, содомиты, евреи, арабы, русские, пророки и предатели, российская провинция, столица, Израиль - все собрано в один котёл, мистический и загадочный. На грани чуда и логики, сопровождаемое страстями и смертями, лицемерием и подвигами. Акунин попытался объять библейскую мораль в беллетристическом произведении, что само по себе, как и монашка-детектив, нонсенс.
Jim Leffert
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boris Akunin (the pseudonym of Georgian writer Grigory Chkhartishvili) has written 11 detective novels, taking place in the 19th century, which feature Russian secret agent and detective Erast Fandourin. Five of these novels have appeared in English. The present book is the third volume in a more recent series that takes place in the waning years of the Russian Empire—around 1910—and that feature an inquisitive and adventurous nun, Sister Pelagia, as the hero.

Having missed the first two install
Kris McCracken
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is most definitely the oddest of the Pelagia series, and the one with the highest (and gristliest) death rate!

In this novel, we follow the titular nun (and quite a few others) all over Russia, and across into the holy lands of the Middle East. Ultimately, this recaptures the ever-present tension in fin de siècle, pre-revolutionary Russia, where religious and political anxiety rule the day and conspiracies abound.

There is a very complicated, convoluted and heavily populated plot, made pleasu
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boris Akunin's last of his Pelagia trilogy - Pelagia and the Red Rooster - is out. I haven't taken to this intrepid nun as much as to Erast Fandorin, Akunin's other great hero. But Akunin's declared that he is done with this series, and its ending is more bitter than sweet, for Pelagia, with her red hair and freckled face, her keen mind and impetuous enthusiasm, is a sympathetic character, and perhaps I have developed an affection for her. This book is more serious and polemic than Akunin's othe ...more
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunnit
I don't know if I'd necessarily have someone start with Pelagia or recommend this series to friends. I think you'd have to be crazy not to like the Erast Fandorin books, but Pelagia is...different.

One of the recurring troubles for Pelagia in this book made me think of a parallel to myself as well. The first impression she gives off to people is a rather ungainly, overly curious, red-headed unnattractive nun, but then a few days in her company and they're madly in love.

So this happened to me too
Melissa McShane
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what I think about this book. On the one hand, Akunin is a master storyteller, and he keeps the tension high, alternating Pelagia's account of her journey through Russia and Palestine with that of the merciless killer stalking her. On the other, this mystery is very different from those of the first two books, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Pelagia is chasing a holy fool, a strange mystic with the power to read people's characters and change their behavior with a word. She's ...more
In this book, Sister Pelagia is asked to solve yet another strange murder. She leaves the monastery where she is a teacher intending to find the murderer of a man named Manuila, a charismatic Russian preacher. Is the murdered individual the preacher who established a sect of Russians whose goal is to live like Jews and travel to the Holy Land or is he not? When she discovers that the murdered man is a member of the group disguised as Manuila, she is determined to find the real Manuila. Obviously ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
On the surface, this book, part of a series by Akunin, is a mystery - a murder is committed, and the nun Sister Pelagia goes against her promises to her superiors to investigate. But the book is so much more than your typical mystery - it includes commentary by the author on Russian history, Orthodoxy, and religion in general. My only complaint is that, because of some of these off-shoots into commentary, one tends to have difficulty remembering the basic mystery's plot, characters, and clues.
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: russia, detectives
While finishing this book up, I was telling a friend about it. When you say it all aloud, this book sounds really off the rails. "It's about this nun who is also a detective. It starts on this steamer where a prophet is killed, which then turns out to be the prophet's double. The nun then heads to the Holy Land on a adventure to....I'm not sure why she went. On the way, between the various characters,there's a magic cave, a white supremacy cult, a aristocratic murder house, an Arab assassin, and ...more
Helen Farrell
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary book, with almost Dickensian characters. I haven't read the first two in this series, but certainly would like to. I wish I had more knowledge of Russian history, because this book, set just into the 20th century, refers to many religious developments in Russia that I simply had not been aware of. There are so many obscure religious groups and sects referred to, all of which help make up a massive beautiful patchwork of belief and experience. Even in translation, the pro ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Akunin's previous Pelagia novels have seemed a little Miss Marple, but in this he gets much more politically contentious and contemporary, and there are considerably more corpses than in either of the previous titles. Like all detective novels this is at heart conservative (the solution of the 'crime' means that order and stability are restored) except in this case we are not entirely sure what the result is: the conspirators remain concealed, Pelagia seems to have disappeared, central character ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ive long been a fan of the Fandorin books. The red rooster was the first Pelagia book ive read. it started off OK, I enjoyed the descriptions of all the strange groups on the ship and the inevitable murder, and the subsequent quests by various characters to determine the nature of the killer, but I thought it descended into a strange sort of mysticism. The red rooster seemed to be a sort of analogy for the red heifer - the harbinger of the messianic age for really orthodox Jews, when they will b ...more
M Rothenbuhler
Jan 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
AGGG! BLURG! UK! What a gross disappointment. I have gone from a huge fan of Boris Akunin to an absolute enemy with one horrid book.

Do not do yourself the misery of reading it.

Unless you enjoy such lunacies as pederasts with victims in tow, heading blithely to start a New Sodom in the Holy Land. Yes, they are just one set of terrible characters that I EXPECT to get unraveled in a genius manner by my formerly favorite author, but they end up as sort of HEROES.

Not to mention that complex and deli
Apr 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I waited a long time to read this book. I loved the other two and didn't want the series to end - so procrastinated, thinking I'd always have a great book to look forward to.

This one failed miserably.

Too many characters, too much supernatural, some bordering on heresy. At the beginning of the book, I had hopes for a different end - one that would have meant there would be no more Sister Pelagia, but a happy ending regardless.

I don't know if Sister Pelagia will return, but at this point, I reall
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
Whoa. A very strange Pelagia, but I liked it. Odd synchronicity as well, as we just saw the R. Crumb illustration of the Book of Genesis at the Hammer.

I'm still mulling over the ending, which I see as a departure from the previous Pelagia books. A nod to wonder and faith as opposed to rationalism.

SORT OF SPOILER: This seemed like the most gruesome of the Pelagias - much higher death count than most - and I was struck by how few of these murders Pelagia actually knew about. Almost all of them ha
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ma pole küll teisi Pelagia raamatuid lugenud, kuid see, seeria viimane osa, jättis sügava mulje. Tegu polnud klassikalise ja lihtsakoelise kriminaalromaaniga - mulle jäi mulje, et teised raamatud pigem on -, ja see võib kahetisi tundeid tekitada. Müstilised sündmused on aga esitatud omapärasel, pragmaatilisel kombel, mis mulle sümpatiseeris. Institutsionaalne religioon sai jällegi hillitsetut, kuid halastamatut kriitikat, ühtlasi leidsin raamatust enda jaoks täiesti vastuvõetavaa kristluse tõlge ...more
Catherine Woodman
The book is VERY Russian, which I would see as a plus, but the allegorical qualities morph into a full blown hallucinatory armageddon at the end, which seemd over the top, even for a Russina, especially in the genre of murder mystery--which is really not what this book is--like there is no murder that the book is centered on finding a solution to--which seems like the minimum criteria for a murder mystery. The writing is very Russian and nice to read in that respect. Nun gets lost in cave is tol ...more
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this series. I found them to be informative & interesting. However, the ending of this last book was a major letdown for me. There was a lot going on in this book, great insights into politics, culture, spiritual/religious debates, but the ending did not live up to the bar set by the rest of the story. For the last book of a series it felt very unfinished. I would still recommend this series. The characters are very interesting. They are beautifully written & are thought ...more
Deb Oestreicher
A stunning close to Akunin's Sister Pelagia trilogy, in which Akunin continues his shameless borrowing from Russian masterpieces like Anna Karenina and The Grand Inquisitor (and likely other places I'm not learned enough to catch) and transforms his mainly realistic historical detective series into something frankly fantastic (or at least mystical). The only drawback is that this is definitely the last of Sister Pelagia... I still anticipate further translations Akunin's Fandorin novels, though- ...more
Bonniecco cco
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I learned a bunch of history from this, history which I assume is true, about sects and mania in Russia before the revolution. Pelagia is an interesting character. I was not taken with the number of deaths, and the gruesome manners of some of them. I may try another Sister Pelagia story, but I won't be eagerly looking for it. The ending has religious mystery or miracle, and to me it was not credible.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Казус Кукоцкого
  • The Good Angel of Death
  • Dust and Ashes (Arbat tetralogy, #4)
  • Dead and Buried (Benjamin January, #9)
  • Легенды Невского Проспекта
  • The Last Days of Newgate (A Pyke Mystery, #1)
  • Мастер и Маргарита. Собачье сердце
  • Sandro of Chegem
  • The Railway Detective
  • Days of Atonement (Hanno Stiffeniis, #2)
  • Death of a Dissident (Porfiry Rostnikov, #1)
  • The Jupiter Myth (Marcus Didius Falco #14)
  • Valley of the Shadow (Sister Fidelma, #6)
  • The Gentle Axe (Porfiry Petrovich, #1)
  • The Holy Thief (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #1)
  • Тайна заброшенного замка (Волшебник Изумрудного города, #6)
  • Подстрочник: Жизнь Лилианны Лунгиной, рассказанная ею в фильме Олега Дормана
  • Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing
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

Sister Pelagia Mysteries (3 books)
  • Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog (Sister Pelagia Mysteries, #1)
  • Pelagia and the Black Monk (Sister Pelagia Mysteries, #2)

Share This Book

“Yakov Mikhailovich, as we have already said, believed fervently in the power of the human intellect. There are no insoluble problems, only incompetent problem solvers.” 2 likes
“Remember what it says in Matthew: And false prophets shall abound, and they shall deceive many’” “And from the multiplication of lawlessness, love shall grow cold in many,” said Pelagia, continuing the apostolic citation. Dolinin started and gave the nun a strange look, as if he had just heard those words for the first time, or perhaps had never really thought about their meaning before.” 0 likes
More quotes…