“[An] elegantly spun yarn... Akunin’s wonderful novels are always intricately webbed and plotted.”
–The Providence Journal
It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has disguised herself as a boy in order to reunite with her respected comrade and fiancé. Even after Fandorin saves her life, Varya can hardly bear to thank such a “lackey of the throne” for his efforts. When Varya’s fiancé is accused of espionage and faces execution, however, she must turn to Fandorin to find the real culprit... a mission that forces her to reckon with his courage, deductive mind, and piercing gaze.