Fandorin returns in a swashbuckling tale of abduction and intrigue, set during the build-up to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.
Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich arrives in Moscow for the coronation with three of his children. During an afternoon stroll, daughter Xenia is dragged away by bandits, only to be rescued by an elegant gentleman and his oriental sidekick. The passing heroes introduce themselves as Fandorin and Masa, but panic ensues when they realise that four-year old Mikhail has been snatched in the confusion.
A ransom letter arrives from an international criminal demanding the handover of the Count Orlov, an enormous diamond on the royal sceptre which is due to play a part in the coronation. Can the gentleman detective find Mikhail in time?
Fandorin is there to provide the solution, rescue the missing child and - in common with the reader - have a lot of fun. - The Times.
Erast Petrovich lives to fight another day and for his many aficionados that can only be a good thing. - New Statesman.
Akunin's brilliance lies in taking the elements of a classic detective story and imbuing them with a poignant emotional complexity. - Sunday Times.
A novel as crammed with delights as the Tsarina's jewel box. - Daily Telegraph.