The State Councellor by Boris Akunin

Many thanks go to Net Galley and to the publisher, Mysterious Press, for letting me read an advance readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest, open review.

Another new author for me and, living in Moscow, I've heard a lot about Akunin. Some of my students recommended him in the past and, in fact, I think I owned copies of some of his books in the past. All I know is that I had never read him before, and presented with this opportunity, I couldn't say no!

Erast Fandorin is framed for the murder of a government official by a terrorist group who want an end to the way things are done in Russia in the 19th Century. However, when he is identified by a witness as the wrong man, Fandorin sets out to try to catch the mysterious Green from the CG, whose initials are found on the knife that killed the victim. Lead from danger to danger, all the time trying to close the circle on the killer, his steps and those of his colleagues and rivals are tracked by the illusive TG. Is there a traitor in the ranks? Fandorin must find out, before it's too late!

This book was truly excellent. A bit like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, Fandorin is a very engaging figure who is no superhero, just a man doing his job in Tsarist Russia. I love the writing and I found it very hard to put down at times. The master criminal, Green, is also an excellently formed character with a backstory to explain his position. As for the plot, it is cleverly crafted and complicated enough to make you think, but not too much so you lose the enjoyment and the sense of danger. I especially enjoyed the way the plot gradually escalated into the final scenes.

The one thing I didn't enjoy was that it wasn't longer. This truly was a good read if you like action, adventure and mystery books, and if you like reading about times past in places like Moscow, where the book is mostly based. I will certainly read more books about Fandorin in the future, and also others by Akunin.

Star rating: 4/5
The State Counsellor: A Fandorin Mystery
This book is due to be published on 4th July 2017