The Russo-Turkish war is at a critical juncture, and Erast Fandorin, broken-hearted and disillusioned, has gone to the front in an attempt to forget his sorrows. Captured by the Turks, he wins his freedom in a game of backgammon, before finding himself the unlikely rescuer of Varvara Suvorova - a 'progressive' Russian woman trying to make her way to the Russian headquarters to join her fiancé.
Fandorin's efforts to steer clear of affairs of state are thwarted when a traitor is discovered within the Russian camp. Within days, Varvara's fiancé has been accused of treason, a Turkish victory looms on the horizon, and there are rumours that one of Lady Astair's Azazel orphans may be making his own bid for power.
Our reluctant gentleman sleuth will need to resurrect all of his dormant powers of detection if he is to unmask the traitor, help the Russians to victory and smooth the path of young love in the third sparkling page-turner from Boris Akunin.
'Akunin...seems able to carry off whatever detective genre he turns to, and makes no bones about incorporating his diverse knowledge into his books' plots. The result is a barnstorming success.' Time Out
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