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Download The Winter Queen: A Novel Audiobook

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: Campbell Scott Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Erast Fandorin Series Release Date: April 2004 ISBN: 9780739310632
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Mystery readers should enjoy this story. It is as Russian, and as international, as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action. I look forward to hearing more about the young detective Erast Fandorin. Anne Perry
  • Elaborate, intricate, profoundly Czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery and came out with The Winter Queen. A wondrous strange and appealing novel, and not quite like anything you’ve read before. Alan Furst
  • Atmospheric and engrossing, The Winter Queen is a historical thriller from the world of the czar. Boris Akunin is Russia's answer to Caleb Carr. Kevin Baker

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Griffiths | 2/18/2014

    " At times predictable, this is definitely a good old fashioned detective romp. Sure, the setting isn't quite what you'd expect, and neither is the main antagonist, but the misdirection, the adventure, the romance...it all rounds out a good read. Highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodi | 2/1/2014

    " I enjoyed the descriptions in this book, they made me think about the visualizations (example "poisonous pink"). It was a good story too, except at the end I was a rather disturbed and upset. I enjoyed the main character, especially that he still has a lot to learn. It will be interesting to see how Erast Fandorin progresses in the next books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 1/20/2014

    " I loved the first book I read by Akunin, Murder on the Leviathan: a Novel but this one didn't appeal to me quite as much. I think it was because it was too much of a "spy thriller" which is not my favorite genre. This is the first appearance of the continuing character of Erast Fandorin who is in the first days of his career as a detective for the Russian police and is finding his legs as he goes in search of a group of anarchists. The story gets complicated as clues lead in many directions and after two life threatening events, it appears that he cannot trust anyone. Toward the end of the story, I identified the main villain but it was still somewhat shocking. The ending is extremely downbeat and came as a total surprise, at least to me. I would recommend this author and his work.........but this is not my favorite of his Fandorin series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 1/18/2014

    " First in the murder mystery series by the Russian author Boris Akunin. Made me pick up the next couple of books in the series as well - a nice change of writing style and location from typical mystery series set in US or UK. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 1/15/2014

    " I read this some years back and re-read it for a book group. I enjoyed it more the second time around. The mystery is not particularly deep, but the story is more about the characters and the setting and delivers very well in those areas. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorly | 1/10/2014

    " This book id nothing special, but the ENDING... So Russian! Made it for the third star! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Townsend | 12/29/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melinda | 12/21/2013

    " Really well-written, surprising and shocking resolution and then ending. I don't know if I'll read the next Erast mystery, though. It was a painful ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/7/2013

    " Enjoyable, but the ending sort of went off the rails. This was described to me as a 21st-century novel with Tolstoy-like prose--all I can say is that's not the case for the English translation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cat Skilton | 6/4/2013

    " A brilliantly written, tautly plotted mystery from a writer who knows how much is just enough. I wish I had the power over prose this man has. Stunning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vivienne | 5/18/2013

    " A great start to a series set in 19th century Imperial Russia. This was a delightful old fashioned read. Look forward to more of Fandorin's adventures. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Whitney | 2/11/2013

    " I liked the book until the ending. The ending spoiled the book for me, but oh well. It seems all Russian literature involves someone dying in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kandice | 1/27/2013

    " For a small book, I really enjoyed this. The characters were well-developed. The mystery was intriguing. And it was interesting how the main character developed over the course of the story. I will definitely read more of this series. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Clare | 8/9/2012

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael | 6/24/2012

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula Broderick | 9/7/2011

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maura | 8/9/2011

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ksenia | 8/7/2011

    " You can't help but fall in love with the main character- Fandorin! So many twists - I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Akunin writes beautifully. "

  • 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

Campbell Scott has, in addition to his numerous stage and film credits, narrated more than forty audiobooks, including This Boy’s Life and Into Thin Air, and won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards.