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Extended Audio Sample The Winter Queen: A Novel Audiobook, by Boris Akunin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,372 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Boris Akunin Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Erast Fandorin Series Release Date: September 2003 ISBN: 9781415901311
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Moscow, May 1876. What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more information. 


Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done—and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed firsthand by Fandorin. There are many unresolved questions. Why, for instance, have both victims left their fortunes to an orphanage run by the English Lady Astair? And who is the beautiful “A.B.,” whose signed photograph is found in the apparent suicide’s apartment? Relying on his keen intuition, the eager sleuth plunges into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at the deadly center of a terrorist conspiracy of worldwide proportions.

In this thrilling mystery that brings nineteenth-century Russia to vivid life, Akunin has created one of the most eagerly anticipated novels in years.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As international as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action.”

    Anne Perry

  • A galloping story of murder, suicide, deception, and disguise. Entertainment Weekly
  • As international as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action. Anne Perry
  • Marries old-fashioned manners to a nonstop array of plot twists to rival the best detective tales . . . The Winter Queen is an energetic hands-down winner. People
  • There are secret panels, hidden tunnels, a false mustache, intercepted letters, gunfights, and a glamorous female villain. . . . Akunin knows how to build suspense. The Boston Globe
  • A wondrous strange and appealing novel . . . Elaborate, intricate, profoundly czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery. Not quite like anything you’ve ever read before. Alan Furst, author of The Foreign Correspondent
  • “Marries old-fashioned manners to a nonstop array of plot twists to rival the best detective tales…The Winter Queen is an energetic hands-down winner.”

    People

  • “A galloping story of murder, suicide, deception, and disguise.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “There are secret panels, hidden tunnels, a false mustache, intercepted letters, gunfights, and a glamorous female villain.…Akunin knows how to build suspense.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A wondrous strange and appealing novel…Elaborate, intricate, profoundly czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery. Not quite like anything you’ve ever read before.”

    Alan Furst, author of The Foreign Correspondent

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hilary | 2/19/2014

    " Fun. Makes more sense to start from the beginning of the Fandorin books than to start in the middle -- they really are sequential and include character development. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Clare | 2/13/2014

    " Can't help but feel this has lost something in translation. It should be charming, quaint and a lot of fun. Sadly it just comes across a bit silly and the pacing is slightly strange. I don't think I will read others in the series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/11/2014

    " Very cute, fast read, but at points the narrative and characters are dishearteningly naive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bookworm | 1/30/2014

    " A good read. The mystery follows young Russian detective, Erast Fandorin as he investigates a suicide and then discovers an international conspiracy. I'll read more books by Boris Akunin. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sandra Strange | 1/30/2014

    " This mystery feels Russian, with its bleak psychological focuses and historically accurate, oppressive social hierarchy. I'm sure it gives the reader an accurate picture of what czarist Russia was like, with its strangling, bored bureaucracy and ineffectual social conventions. I hated the ending of this (up to the ending) intriguing puzzle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia | 1/8/2014

    " Clever, clever mystery. Didn't love the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 White-orchids | 1/5/2014

    " Hey! It's russian mystery. End of 19th century russian mystery! What more do you need? Eraste Fandorine's also a very interesting and complex character... Perfect mix. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael | 12/7/2013

    " I loved this book! A Russian Mystery, it was very intriguing, even if it was a little hard to grasp at parts. There are many more books by this author, in this series, and I have loved them all, except for one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maura | 11/24/2013

    " The first in a series of mysteries with a young Russian guy as the least character. Good but at times predictable. However, the ending was not. This Russian writer doesn't seem to like happy endings or even one that has a clear conclusion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica Copeland | 6/9/2013

    " This book suprised me, being a mystery I actually enjoyed. I liked the quirky humor of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Akemi | 2/14/2013

    " Fandorin is quite an endearing protagonist, which really made this book for me. The plot took a few unexpected twists and turns, so you're on your toes right to the end. Sadly, I don't have the next book of the series on hand, but I strongly advise that you do if you enjoy reading the first one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 11/3/2012

    " This mystery was written in Russian and translated for the English speaking market. Fun reading a whodunnit from another perspective. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alex | 10/26/2012

    " Feather-light faux-nineteenth century pastiche. Ye Olde Mother Russia, if you will. Leonid Yuzefovich does it better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 9/26/2012

    " An engaging story, though I found the part I liked the most was the name of the main character: Erast Fandorin. What a great name! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Flora | 8/23/2012

    " Splendid. A Russian girlfriend recommended this author. What a great mystery! I love the descriptions of Moscow. Am planning to visit St. Petersburg and the book sets up the rivalry between the two cities nicely. This has whet my appetite for more Erast Fandorin mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 6/13/2012

    " Very good mystery. Ending was a bummer. This is the third Erast Fandoran mystery I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia Powell | 2/6/2012

    " This was a wonderful story told in beautiful prose. It's being made into a movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula Broderick | 1/9/2012

    " Finding those long Russian names a bit of a struggle but I am enjoying the story more and more "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suziqoregon | 9/22/2011

    " My blog post about this book is here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vaashti | 9/14/2011

    " A charming mystery with a not so charming ending. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jonfaith | 6/14/2011

    " I had read Turkish Gambit just before and I appreciated the layered intrigue. This was a steampunk kettle of revisionist bullshit. I loathed this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 6/8/2011

    " Competent but the faux 19th Century style was a little tedious. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maura | 5/15/2011

    " The first in a series of mysteries with a young Russian guy as the least character. Good but at times predictable. However, the ending was not. This Russian writer doesn't seem to like happy endings or even one that has a clear conclusion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan | 4/17/2011

    " Cute fluffy mystery/adventure. Good for a very light read, without feeling like you are reading something totally vapid. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 2/20/2011

    " An interesting book but I have to say that the ending disturbed me. If you like 19th period mystery, you should give it a try. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 2/13/2011

    " Not really my thing. Very linear plot, no investigating, just bumbling from one really simple clue to the other. No sense of danger, as you knew the main character had a series to complete. I steal from a book club reviewer, 'I never thought being a detective would be so easy'. Dull. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elena | 2/9/2011

    " a nice quick read, very entertaining, like watching a movie "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 2/7/2011

    " Fun little mystery in czarist Russia and an adorably naive, yet intuitive and effective, young police investigator named Fandorin. I'd definitely read more in this series. "

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About the Author
Author Boris AkuninBoris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who was born in the republic of Georgia in 1956; he is a philologist, critic, essayist, and translator of Japanese. He published his first detective stories in 1998 and in a very short time has become one of the most widely read authors in Russia. He has written nine Erast Fandorin novels to date, and is working on two other series as well. Akunin enjoys almost legendary popularity in Russia. He lives in Moscow.
About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.