Excerpt from The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Winter Queen

A Novel

by Boris Akunin

The Winter Queen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2003, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2004, 264 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Take a look at that now, young Mr. Fandorin, right up there on the front page, where you can't possibly miss it!

The latest American corset

LORD BYRON

constructed from the most durable of whalebone

for a truly manly figure

An inch-thin waist and yard-wide shoulders!


"And yard-high letters to suit. And way down here in tiny little print we have:

The Emperor departs for Ems

"But of course, how could the person of the emperor possibly rival the importance of 'Lord Byron'!"

Xavier Grushin's entirely good-natured grousing produced a quite remarkable effect on the young clerk. He became inexplicably embarrassed; his cheeks flushed bright red, and his long, girlish eyelashes fluttered guiltily. While we are on the subject of eyelashes, it would seem appropriate at this point to describe Erast Fandorin's appearance in somewhat greater detail, since he is destined to play a pivotal role in the astounding and terrible events that will shortly unfold. He was a most comely youth with black hair (in which he took a secret pride) and blue eyes (ah, if only they had also been black!), rather tall, with a pale complexion and a confounded, ineradicable ruddy bloom on his cheeks. We can also reveal the reason for the young collegiate registrar's sudden discomfiture. Only two days previously he had expended a third of his first monthly salary on the very corset described in such vivid and glowing terms and was actually wearing his Lord Byron for the second day, enduring exquisite suffering in the name of beauty. Now he suspected—entirely without justification—that the perspicacious Xavier Grushin had divined the origin of his subordinate's Herculean bearing and wished to make him an object of fun.

Grushin, however, was already continuing with his reading.

Turkish Bashi-Bazouk atrocities in Bulgaria

"Well, that's not for reading just before lunch. . . .

Explosion in Ligovka

Our St. Petersburg correspondent informs us that yesterday at six-thirty in the morning a thunderous explosion occurred at the rental apartment house of Commercial Counselor Vartanov on Znamenskaya Street, completely devastating the apartment on the fourth floor. Upon arrival at the scene the police discovered the remains of a young man, mutilated beyond recognition. The apartment was rented by a certain Mr. P., a private lecturer at the university, and it was apparently his body that was discovered. To judge from the appearance of the lodgings, something in the nature of a secret chemical laboratory had been installed there. The officer in charge of the investigation, Counselor of State Brilling, conjectures that the apartment was being used to manufacture infernal devices for an organization of nihilist terrorists. The investigation is continuing.

"Well, now, thanks be to God our Moscow's not Peter!"

Judging from the gleam in his eyes, the youthful Mr. Fandorin would have begged to differ on that score. Indeed, every aspect of his appearance was eloquently expressive of the idea that in the real capital people have serious work to do, tracking down terrorist bombers, not writing out ten times over papers which, if truth were told, contain nothing of the slightest interest in any case.

"Right, then," said Xavier Grushin, rustling his newspaper. "Let's see what we have on the city page.

First Moscow Astair House

The well-known English philanthropist Baroness Astair, through whose zealous and unremitting efforts the model refuges for boy orphans known as Astair Houses have been established in various countries of the world, has notified our correspondent that the first institution of such a type has now opened its doors in our own golden-domed city. Lady Astair, having commenced her activities in Russia only last year, and having already opened an Astair House in St. Petersburg, has decided to extend her support and assistance to the orphans of Moscow . . .

Excerpted from The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin Copyright© 2003 by Boris Akunin. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.