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Коронация, или Последний из романов

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Fandorin returns in a swashbuckling tale of abduction and intrigue, set during the build-up to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.


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Fandorin returns in a swashbuckling tale of abduction and intrigue, set during the build-up to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.

30 review for Коронация, или Последний из романов

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Set in turn of the century (1900) Imperial Russia. An Impressive start& a new twist as we have the story this time being narrated by the butler of the Imperial household with the Romanov's being front & centre of the mystery. As usual the master of disguise (former) state counsellor Erast Fadorin is the star of the show but it’s the butler who plays a great second fiddle to Erast on their romp across Moscow to foil a gang of villains. The opening scene revolves around the upcoming “Coronation”, Set in turn of the century (1900) Imperial Russia. An Impressive start& a new twist as we have the story this time being narrated by the butler of the Imperial household with the Romanov's being front & centre of the mystery. As usual the master of disguise (former) state counsellor Erast Fadorin is the star of the show but it’s the butler who plays a great second fiddle to Erast on their romp across Moscow to foil a gang of villains. The opening scene revolves around the upcoming “Coronation”, no surprise there really but from there on out there’s intrigue, plots, misdirection & subterfuge aplenty. That’s yer lot, no spoilers from me. This series gets better n better, a real gem for mystery lovers with a historical fiction leaning.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

    One of my absolute favourites in the series. The story is told in first person from the viewpoint of the majordomo to the imperial house. As with all butlers, he has very distinct view about his charges, about foreigners, and about the ceremonies and events that happen. The plot deals with both the coronation of Nikolai II and of the Khodynka Tragedy that followed. Part of what makes this a masterpiece is exactly the same reason that makes it frustrating at times. Our protagonist is observed by 3 One of my absolute favourites in the series. The story is told in first person from the viewpoint of the majordomo to the imperial house. As with all butlers, he has very distinct view about his charges, about foreigners, and about the ceremonies and events that happen. The plot deals with both the coronation of Nikolai II and of the Khodynka Tragedy that followed. Part of what makes this a masterpiece is exactly the same reason that makes it frustrating at times. Our protagonist is observed by 3rd parties, his actions described through their viewpoints. We, as readers, want to know so much more. What to Expect Each novel is written as a different type of mystery. Akunin set out to rectify the low-brow reputation of the mystery genre in post-USSR Russia by writing worthy literature and exploring the wide gamut of sub-genres. Each novel is therefore excellently written as a different type of detective case. While there is continuity in the protagonist's life between the novels, each is very different in themes and tones. I've written a condensed review of the whole series on my website. What I liked I like the writing style. The prose is intelligent and flowing, the mysteries are complex, and the cast is varied (though those that make repeat appearances tend to die). Fandorin himself is a great character, even though as a main character he still remains an enigma - a tantalising mystery in itself that keeps readers engaged and clamouring to know more. I love the historical background. Akunin has done his research into Russian culture, mannerisms, environment, personalities, etc. of the late 19th century / early 20th century. Most of the stories take place around Moscow, and Fandorin gets to meet and associate with the people of the times (from the low-life criminals of Khitrovka, to the grand-dukes of the imperial family). In a few cases, Akunin also has Fandorin active around notable events of the era, at times filling in details where history has left us stumped. Akunin is also a Japanophile, and has Fandorin spend a few years in Japan. While details are sketchy (and we want more! More!), it is clear that he has a great love and deep knowledge of that culture and times. What to be aware of Be aware that each of the novel is told in a different style. Besides the obvious (something new and different in each volume), one keyword  is 'told'. They are almost all in 3rd person perspective, and quite often not from the point of view of Erast Fandorin (which is both tantalising and frustrating at times). It's this distance that keeps Fandorin an enigma, and keeps us coming back to learn more. Fandorin has a Sherlockian intellect and impressive physical prowess. He is not without his faults (most notably hubris), but as a hero he is certainly a cut above the rest. He also tends to get involved with a different femme fatale in each book. This suits the detective genre perfectly, regardless of modern sensibilities. While the books are not really related and have few continuing characters, I'd still strongly recommend to read them in order. Lastly, and this has nothing to do with Fandorin, since these are professional translations (amazingly done by Andrew Bromfield) via a traditional publisher, the price of ebooks and hardcovers is almost the same. The ebooks are also missing some of the illustrations and other typographical effects that are present in the print. I'd definitely recommend reading the print edition, where possible. Summary Should you read these novels? Yes! By all means, if you love historical mysteries these novels are a must read. It is an intelligent, engaging, and just different enough series to be in a class of its own. It's not surprising that in his home country of Russia, Akunin out-sells JK Rowling. In fact, since it's been a few years since I've read them, I think I'll go back and re-read my favourites (Winter Queen, State Counsellor, and The Coronation). -- Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia: A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    At various times I've read the whole series that's been translated into English so far, and consider this episode the best so far. Narrated by the butler to one of the Romanov royal family, this tells of the coronation of Nicholas II--really, the kidnapping of one of the sons, a little boy, Mika, and the efforts of Fandorin, the butler, Afanasy, and others to rescue him and to keep out of the hands of the archcriminal, Dr. Lind, the Orlov diamond, which will play a part in the coronation. As ran At various times I've read the whole series that's been translated into English so far, and consider this episode the best so far. Narrated by the butler to one of the Romanov royal family, this tells of the coronation of Nicholas II--really, the kidnapping of one of the sons, a little boy, Mika, and the efforts of Fandorin, the butler, Afanasy, and others to rescue him and to keep out of the hands of the archcriminal, Dr. Lind, the Orlov diamond, which will play a part in the coronation. As ransom, Dr. Lind, asks for various Romanov jewels but consents to the family's "renting" the diamond until after the coronation then making the exchange. Incredible unexpected developments all through the story keep up the non-stop action. The conclusion came completely out of the blue! Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kateryna Krotova

    Another grate work of Boris Akunin. What I really like in this book - that story is intertwined with history of the last tsar of Russian Empire. I love history and always was very interested in the Russian history. Although this book is a fictional.. But a lot of things were described true.. Like last tsar was really weak person. It was obvious from the beginning.. He had an affair with ballerina (name was changed). His famous words: "I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. Another grate work of Boris Akunin. What I really like in this book - that story is intertwined with history of the last tsar of Russian Empire. I love history and always was very interested in the Russian history. Although this book is a fictional.. But a lot of things were described true.. Like last tsar was really weak person. It was obvious from the beginning.. He had an affair with ballerina (name was changed). His famous words: "I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling." And lastly coronation tragedy- a crowd crush during which more than thorns people died and a lot more were injured..

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katerina

    I could enjoy so much more this story and even give it a higher rating if it wasn't for the character of Afanasi Zioukin, what an infuriating person, I disliked so much that I wanted to finish as soon as possible the book in order not to read more about him! I liked the plot of the book and final twist which I didn't saw coming even if it was clear after a small detail! Though it's the seventh book in the Erast Fandorin serie it's the first story I read with him and I liked it very much so I gue I could enjoy so much more this story and even give it a higher rating if it wasn't for the character of Afanasi Zioukin, what an infuriating person, I disliked so much that I wanted to finish as soon as possible the book in order not to read more about him! I liked the plot of the book and final twist which I didn't saw coming even if it was clear after a small detail! Though it's the seventh book in the Erast Fandorin serie it's the first story I read with him and I liked it very much so I guess it won't be the last and with the hope to not cross roads with Zioukin ever again!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    Book seven in the Erast Fandorin series brings us to 1896 and the coronation of Nicholas II as the last Russian czar. Like its predecessor The State Counsellor, The Coronation is steeped in accurate historical detail, from the name of the new Czar's horse to the horrible events that occurred in the field at Khodynka. Unlike The State Counsellor, Fandorin is acting as a lone wolf here, no longer holding his previous position as Deputy for Special Assignments to the Governor General of Moscow. The Book seven in the Erast Fandorin series brings us to 1896 and the coronation of Nicholas II as the last Russian czar. Like its predecessor The State Counsellor, The Coronation is steeped in accurate historical detail, from the name of the new Czar's horse to the horrible events that occurred in the field at Khodynka. Unlike The State Counsellor, Fandorin is acting as a lone wolf here, no longer holding his previous position as Deputy for Special Assignments to the Governor General of Moscow. The story is told through the eyes of the head butler at the Hermitage in Moscow, temporary home to the St. Petersburg contingent of the Romanov family and its retinue. His narrative spans two weeks, beginning with Fandorin's death. What???? The coronation is imminent, and the family of the czar's uncle Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich is settling into its Moscow lodgings. There's a great deal to do before the big event, but there's plenty of time to take the Grand Duke's little son Mikhail Georgievich on a walk through the park. Out of nowhere, Xenia, grand princess and daughter of the Grand Duke, is snatched up, but the attempt at a kidnapping is thwarted. But sadly, while Xenia is being rescued, even though the little boy is moved away for his safety, the whole thing is only a clever ruse, with Mikhail Georgievich as the real target. A shaggy-looking gentleman, along with an ice-cream seller in the park reveal themselves to the family as (who else!) Erast Fandorin and his Japanese servant Masa, and thus Fandorin is launched into the effort to gain Mikhail's safe release. His opponent is one Dr. Lind, someone with whom Fandorin has scores to settle, and someone who demands something no less than the Orlov diamond, the key jewel of the coronation ceremony. But this is not going to be an easy task -- Lind holds all the cards, Fandorin is not trusted by many in the household, and the family, while concerned with little Mikhail, still have duties to perform to ensure that the coronation goes off without a hitch. After all, nothing can be done to get in the way of the Romanov destiny -- and rumors of a royal kidnapping might undermine the stability of Nicholas' rule even before it is officially acknowledged. There are several moments to divert one's attention away from the main action of the novel. Some are humorous, for example, the butler's undercover adventures in a club for gay men is only one pleasant diversion to be found. Some are darkly serious and based on a terrible reality where over 1300 people were trampled to death at the Khodynka field on a day when the royal family set up food and drink for their citizens and rumors escaped that there wasn't enough for everyone. And then Akunin offers insight into how the Imperial family views its common citizens, and just how far the family is willing to go to hide anything even remotely detrimental to its image -- a factor that later is going to help bring down the house of Romanov in terms of Nicholas' only son and his hemophilia. I'll admit to not having figured out the kidnapper's identity in this hostage mind-boggler of an adventure, and I got very caught up in the story while trying to do so. I think, though, that knowing the sad story that's yet to play out with the Romanovs, the history took me in more than the mystery, although it was quite enjoyable and very fast paced. Akunin's sense of place is undeniably vivid, as is his knowledge of detail of the period, more fully fleshing out the events going on around the story of the kidnapping. The Coronation may be my favorite of the Fandorin novels so far, with The State Counsellor a close second. There's a big leap in quality between these two books and the earlier ones, and I hope the remaining three (She Lover of Death, He Lover of Death and The Diamond Chariot) are just as good as these two have been. Anyone who enjoys hostage and kidnapping stories will like this, as well as cozy readers who want a bit more of a challenge than the usual fare. Readers of this series will also enjoy it, and I think readers of historical crime fiction will do well with this book. Again -- some of the scenes are just completely over the top, but it still a very good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kyoko

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Slightly disappointed as I could identify the villain right from the start... which is usually not the case as I get side-tracked or most of the times am just plain wrong! :) So that leaves me the question: can this mystery book be given four stars still? I can't sadly... As much as it describes the relationship and loyalty of the butler to the Romanov dynasty in an engaging way, as well as the traditions and the society of Tsarist Russia to a smaller degree, deep down it is a crime-mystery book Slightly disappointed as I could identify the villain right from the start... which is usually not the case as I get side-tracked or most of the times am just plain wrong! :) So that leaves me the question: can this mystery book be given four stars still? I can't sadly... As much as it describes the relationship and loyalty of the butler to the Romanov dynasty in an engaging way, as well as the traditions and the society of Tsarist Russia to a smaller degree, deep down it is a crime-mystery book. And it failed to live up to the genre. Or at least to my expectations as it has been compared to Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, James Bond and alike. Don't get me wrong, Erast Fandorin is an adorable charming detective. Stutter, eccentric, handsome, a bit arrogant, witty - just like the characters mentioned above, he's got interesting adjectives adorning him. The flaw was in the plot that did not make him justice. Take for instance the scenes below. There were just too many of them and nothing would point my poor deduction skills to any other direction... - Mlle Declique is late for the fateful promenade - Mlle leaves the child behind when he is abducted - Only Mlle is sent for as the intermediary (although she is helpful in the investigation and eventually leads Fandorin to the hiding place) - Mlle is found beaten in the cellar (right after the tragedy at Khodynsk Field? come on!) - False beards on the desk of the Postman's house - Even her attempt to mislead Fandorin (accusing Lord Banville) is feeble... Nevertheless if I come across another Fandorin adventure again I would like to give it another try.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    A little slow to get into because of the narrator Butler Ziukin’s insufferable character, but fantastic story. Fandorin as awesome as ever. Echoes of Holmes and Moriarty throughout.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Another great historical mystery featuring the flamboyant Fandorin seen through the eyes of the punctilious butler Ziukin. It has many interesting twists, but is rather longer than needed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Another excellent mystery novel in the Fandorin series, while not my favourite there is still enough here to enjoy and I finished it in a fairly short time which usually means it was a good read. I won't say too much about the plot as others have done so but there are a lot of great moments in this book and I have already ordered the next in the series. Another excellent mystery novel in the Fandorin series, while not my favourite there is still enough here to enjoy and I finished it in a fairly short time which usually means it was a good read. I won't say too much about the plot as others have done so but there are a lot of great moments in this book and I have already ordered the next in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Raigo Loide

    The writer has done a good research on Russian high society`s butlers and other servants, so the best part of this book is the narrator. His very conservative thinking is sometimes hilarious, so it`s the funniest book in Fandorin series so far. Otherwise it`s again not much different from the previous books and so it feels that the writer is repeating himself. The writer has done a good research on Russian high society`s butlers and other servants, so the best part of this book is the narrator. His very conservative thinking is sometimes hilarious, so it`s the funniest book in Fandorin series so far. Otherwise it`s again not much different from the previous books and so it feels that the writer is repeating himself.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    May have laughed out loud (quietly though) in flight on this one, a little hard to keep track of all the royalty.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maria Thermann

    What a brilliant read! I can't wait to get my hands on another one of Akunin's novels. Extremely well written, funny to the point where I laughed out loud, and thought-proving at the same time, the novel is set against the backdrop of the last Russian Tsar's coronation (Nicholas II). It also attempts to explain how the Russian public's perception of their monarchy began to change at that time. These are the years leading up to the last Tsar's murder and the slaughter of his immediate family memb What a brilliant read! I can't wait to get my hands on another one of Akunin's novels. Extremely well written, funny to the point where I laughed out loud, and thought-proving at the same time, the novel is set against the backdrop of the last Russian Tsar's coronation (Nicholas II). It also attempts to explain how the Russian public's perception of their monarchy began to change at that time. These are the years leading up to the last Tsar's murder and the slaughter of his immediate family members in the Russian revolution. Told from the perspective of the Green Court's (St. Petersburg's court) butler, the emotionally stunted and ultra-correct Afanasii Stepanovich (also called Zuikin), the novel begins with the arrival of the Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich and members of his family in Moscow. The preparations for his nephew's coronation, His Majesty Tsar (Emperor) Nicolai, are in full swing. What appears at first as a slight against Grand Duke Georgii, namely the housing of His Highness the Grand Duke, his family and servants in the dilapidated Small Hermitage Palace, later turns out to be part of a cunning plot to kidnap the youngest son of the Grand Duke. Not content with extorting enormous sums of money from the ruling Romanov family, the mysterious villain Dr Lind's real motive is to force the Romanovs to part with many of the Empress's crown jewels and, worse than all of that put together, to hand over a famous 200-carat diamond called the Count Orlov. Giving up the life of the little prince is now being openly discussed among the Romanovs as a real possibility, for how could they possibly hand over the diamond that graces the top of the imperial sceptre? At coronation time? Unthinkable! What's the life of one little princeling compared to the honour and reputation of the Romanovs as a whole? The diamond's absence would not just be noted by the entire Russian court - it would send international tongues wagging and be a huge embarrassment to the Russian monarchy. Moscow is crawling with foreign guests invited to the coronation - how can anyone find the four-year-old princeling and prevent a political disaster at the same time? Enter Erast Fandorin, the former State Counsellor of Moscow. He's an adventurer, private detective and man of extraordinary powers. He has absented himself from his home country for a number of years and doesn't have many friends among the Muscovite authorities any more. However, when the two most senior policemen of Moscow fail to apprehend Dr Lind, the Tsar decides that Fandorin has a far better chance of discovering the whereabouts of the little prince - and appoints Fandorin as the man in charge of the whole operation. Together, butler Afanasii and Fandorin have many thrilling encounters with the diabolic Dr. Lind, an old adversary of Fandorin's. Who is the mastermind criminal behind this latest outrage? Gradually, we see starched and cosseted Afanasii unbend a little and rediscover his emotions. But will they lead him astray in a world he doesn't really understand and a city that is rapidly changing its mood? We learn more and more about the way the Romanov household views the world and their subjects and what the Russian people's perception is of their monarchy. The choices asked of Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich are monstrous. The fact that the father of a four-year-old defenceless child should even contemplate choosing an alternative to handing over money and jewels for the safe return of his son, is even more so. It is hard to envisage a family less in touch with their own feelings than the Romanovs, a group of individuals so removed from the real world, they are no longer capable of understanding their true place in history, their role in international politics and what their subjects expect of them. What befell the family - and the country as a whole - seems inevitable. Akunin's mention of "Granny", an aged Queen Victoria of Britain only vaguely known to some members of the Romanov family, is dripping in irony. History will later show that the British "granny" state won't lift a finger to save the Russian contingent of Victoria's clan from certain death. Although I did guess the identity of Dr Lind before the end of the novel, it is an ingenious plot and a surprising twist on conventional historic adventure stories. The comedy moments in the book, particularly the events of the costumed ball which butler Afanasii and the Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Endlung, attend, are utterly hilarious. The scene where Georgii Alexandrovich and his son discover they both share the same mistress is equally priceless. Verdict: couldn't put it down until I reached the final page. And then I wanted to read it all over again! Five stars are not enough to describe how much I enjoyed reading Erast Fandorin and Afanasii's adventures!

  14. 4 out of 5

    M M

    This is Akunin's attempt at the high-society detective (recall that he writes each novel according to some stereotype of the genre), and in this novel, Erast Fandorin is as high-society as high-society can be - beloved of a Russian princess and investigating the kidnapping of a cousin of the newly crowned Czar. Nicholas II is a weak man and needs his coronation to complete without a hitch, but the kidnappers promise to deliver pieces of the little boy if their demands are not acceded to, and the This is Akunin's attempt at the high-society detective (recall that he writes each novel according to some stereotype of the genre), and in this novel, Erast Fandorin is as high-society as high-society can be - beloved of a Russian princess and investigating the kidnapping of a cousin of the newly crowned Czar. Nicholas II is a weak man and needs his coronation to complete without a hitch, but the kidnappers promise to deliver pieces of the little boy if their demands are not acceded to, and the Czar finds himself torn between regal duty (the Imperial diamonds absolutely should be present during the ceremony) and love for family. The story is related by a family retainer, a butler, and the story is deeply reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, wherein loyalty to the family is the man's creed, and he is willing to sacrifice everything at the altar of duty, including his happiness and the happiness of the princes and princesses he has taken care of since their childhood. This is a reflective novel, elegiac in tone - Nicholas II is, after all, the last of the Czars, although nobody knew this at the time he acceded to the throne. It is quite different from the humorous and over-the-top and bombastic tone of the earlier episodes in Fandorin's career; it is clear that a coldness has entered Russia's heart, and Fandorin feels it, and even if he saves the Romanovs, it is at terrible cost and ends in tragedy for everyone concerned.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris McCracken

    The seventh novel of the Erast Fandorin series, we fast forward to 1896 Moscow, just prior to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. It does wonderfully well in capturing the atmosphere of late-nineteenth century Russia and the decline of the 'great' houses and families of the empire. This time, the narrator is Afanasi Ziukin, head butler to the family of one of the new Tsar's uncles. Drawn into events after the kidnapping of a young prince, Ziukin presents a flawed vision of events and tense relati The seventh novel of the Erast Fandorin series, we fast forward to 1896 Moscow, just prior to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. It does wonderfully well in capturing the atmosphere of late-nineteenth century Russia and the decline of the 'great' houses and families of the empire. This time, the narrator is Afanasi Ziukin, head butler to the family of one of the new Tsar's uncles. Drawn into events after the kidnapping of a young prince, Ziukin presents a flawed vision of events and tense relationship with our hero. In terms of Akunin's ticking off of crime sub-genres, this one represents the hostage thriller. As usual, we have a mysterious evil genius and a couple of romantic plotlines. As with earlier novels, the we remain hopeful of a happy ending that is teased throughout. You wouldn't think it possible, but the Fandorin books just keep getting better and better with each one. The novels are supremely literate and balance the laughs, excitement, romance and general clever tone. It also furthers the exploration of the political fortunes of Russia as it lurches towards revolution. Laced with nostalgia for the Romanov dynasty (thanks to our narrator), Akunin beautifully unpacks the decline. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Each of Akunin's Erast Fandorin novels evokes a different classic detective writer (The Winter Queen – Wilkie Collins, Leviathan – Agatha Christie) but I'm struggling with this one: I'm seeing Conan Doyle – it feels very Holmes-like except Fandorin is more of a rake in this one than ever, and than Holmes. A strapping and entertaining tale (based around the coronation of Nicholas II – the last Tsar) of kidnap, murder, assorted skulduggery, romance, and Moscow's gay underground: all the key items o Each of Akunin's Erast Fandorin novels evokes a different classic detective writer (The Winter Queen – Wilkie Collins, Leviathan – Agatha Christie) but I'm struggling with this one: I'm seeing Conan Doyle – it feels very Holmes-like except Fandorin is more of a rake in this one than ever, and than Holmes. A strapping and entertaining tale (based around the coronation of Nicholas II – the last Tsar) of kidnap, murder, assorted skulduggery, romance, and Moscow's gay underground: all the key items of a good mystery. The novel's narrator, a Court butler, loathes Fandorin as untrustworthy and in doing so belies his class outlook and his deep attachment to 'respectability', making for an entertaining set of historical subtleties and careful insights into Akunin's view of Imperial culture. What is more, there are some juicy twists and turns in the plot. It'll be intriguing to see where Akunin will take the character from here – bring on the next Fandorin tale!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna Bergmark

    I would ptefer Fandorin to be not only the hero but the main character as well, but this worked out just fine. The first person narrator is a head butler to a branch of the imperial family. He's very, very stiff and outrageously loyal (both Downton Abbey and The Reamains of the Day springs to mind), but he's also privy to all the backstage dirt and is so secretly in love with a governess in the household that he hardly knows it himself. All this gives ample opportunities for humour and in the en I would ptefer Fandorin to be not only the hero but the main character as well, but this worked out just fine. The first person narrator is a head butler to a branch of the imperial family. He's very, very stiff and outrageously loyal (both Downton Abbey and The Reamains of the Day springs to mind), but he's also privy to all the backstage dirt and is so secretly in love with a governess in the household that he hardly knows it himself. All this gives ample opportunities for humour and in the end when he gets hitched up with Fandorin (a gentleman that he dislikes intensively!) in a wild action packed and unauthorized chase for the evil mastermind criminal of the story, you don't just laugh at him but like him as well. Great entertainment with plenty of fun and twists and turns and a stunning atmosphere of time and place.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Suspenseful literary historic comedy of manners and a fun read! It is May, 1896, and all of Russia is excitedly preparing for the coronation of a new Tsar, Nicholas II. No one is more excited or busier than Afanasii Stepanovich Ziukin, butler in the imperial household and the narrator of The Coronation. The excitement takes a very different turn, however, when Afanasii goes on a walk in the park with Nicholas’ cousins, Mikhail and Xenia, and 4-year-old Mikhail’s French governess. Little Mikhail i Suspenseful literary historic comedy of manners and a fun read! It is May, 1896, and all of Russia is excitedly preparing for the coronation of a new Tsar, Nicholas II. No one is more excited or busier than Afanasii Stepanovich Ziukin, butler in the imperial household and the narrator of The Coronation. The excitement takes a very different turn, however, when Afanasii goes on a walk in the park with Nicholas’ cousins, Mikhail and Xenia, and 4-year-old Mikhail’s French governess. Little Mikhail is kidnapped, and Xenia is saved from a similar fate only by the sudden appearance of two strangers, Erast Petrovich Fandorin and his Japanese manservant Masa. Fandorin, a former state counsellor and private investigator, is on the trail of an international criminal mastermind known as Dr. Lind, who appears to be behind the kidnapping. Lind has a reputation for ruthlessness and a cavalier attitude towards mutilation and murder, and the investigators are faced with competing objectives as they try to get little Mikhail back safely…without interfering with the coronation festivities. The situation gets worse when the ransom note arrives and demands part of the crown jewels. The Coronation, like Boris Akunin’s Erast Fandorin series in general, is a delight on a number of fronts. First, and most important, it is a good read, keeping the reader on edge and in suspense and delivering a denouement I confess I did not anticipate! Second, the society of nineteenth-century Russia is one probably few non-Russians are familiar with outside the works of Russian novelists rarely read except in literature classes. The upper classes and nobility are reminiscent of their European equivalents but with their own Russian character. Many sections of the book read like a comedy of manners very familiar to anglophile readers. I chuckled aloud at Afanasii’s complaint “Naturally, I could not count on being able to manage with only eight servants, and so I sent a special telegram requesting the Moscow Court Department to appoint a capable local man as my assistant and also to provide two postilions, a ‘black chef’ for the servants, a footman to serve the senior servants, two junior footmen for cleaning, a maid for Mademoiselle Declique and two doormen.” There are a number of homosexual characters and exploration of the homosexual social scene in the book, and I wonder whether that aspect was an accurate portrayal of the royal family. The family relationships within the Russian nobility and across national borders are intriguing and hard to keep straight! Most English-language readers are probably not well-versed in the history of Russia during the last part of the 19th century, and there are some historical events in the book that are probably new to most of us, such as the Khodynka tragedy, about which I shall say no more because it is vividly described on the book. Third, Boris Akunin is a wildly popular writer in Russia, and he writes for a popular audience, but he is a lover of good mystery writing. Each book in the series explores and pays homage to some classic mystery subgenre, and they differ more in style than you would find in most series. As a result, readers will probably like some better than others, because the underlying type of mystery will appeal to you more or less. Fandorin is a distinctive if somewhat enigmatic character. He is a master of elaborate disguise, makes keenly perceptive observations and interpretations, and characteristically lays out his reasoning in numbered points (as I have done above!). But in the appropriate books he shows certain characteristics appropriate to the subgenre that do not appear in the other books. The Coronation opens with an attention-grabbing scene that will ring immediate bells for any fan of nineteenth-century detective fiction. Since the book is narrated by Afanasii, the reader probably gets less insight into Fandorin’s thinking than in most of the books, but to me this was more than compensated for by the portrayal of the imperial household seen through a butler’s eyes. The books can be read in any order with full enjoyment, although I suspect the meticulous Erast Petrovich would prefer you proceed in an orderly manner. Speaking of Erast Petrovich, the long foreign Russian names and the Russian habit of addressing each other by the first name plus the patronymic and rarely using the person’s last name can be somewhat challenging to an foreign reader. The challenge is exacerbated in an audio book, as I discovered when I listened to another in this series, so I would probably not recommend you listen to The Coronation. When it was first published in Russia in 2000 The Coronation won the Anti-Booker Prize, a short-lived Russian literary award that existed between 1995 and 2001 and was created as a protest against the Russian Booker Prize, which had been established by an Englishman, Sir Michael Harris Caine. Both prizes seem to have some interesting history; I confess I had never heard of either until I read about The Coronation. The Coronation, like the other books in the series, has been beautifully translated by Andrew Bromfield. The only suggestions I could make for improving the experience for a foreign audience would be an Afterword- Notes on the History to let the reader know what events were real and which were fictitious and perhaps a cast of characters, with comments on their resemblance to real-life persons, since the royal family in the book is similar but not identical to the historic one. The Coronation is well-deserving of its popularity in its home country and worth your time no matter where you read! NOTE: I received an Advance Review copy of this book from Edelweiss.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Akos Toth

    Another good read on goodreads! My all-time favourite Erast Petrovich Fandorin is back in The Coronation through the very precious eyes of a servant of the Tsar family accidentally finding himlself in a kidnapping and the 19th century investigation of police special forces vs. professional investigation of Fandorin himself. Very well detailed background of every day life of the Russian Tsar family, noble Russians and late 19th century Moscow by Boris Akunin. Liked the investigation line a lot, h Another good read on goodreads! My all-time favourite Erast Petrovich Fandorin is back in The Coronation through the very precious eyes of a servant of the Tsar family accidentally finding himlself in a kidnapping and the 19th century investigation of police special forces vs. professional investigation of Fandorin himself. Very well detailed background of every day life of the Russian Tsar family, noble Russians and late 19th century Moscow by Boris Akunin. Liked the investigation line a lot, however the badguy was on my list of potentional suspects since the early pages.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jesper

    It's a good book, but Boris Akunin is less successfull in his pastiche of The remains of the day/Classical butler story than he has been in the other Fandorin books. The historical and cultural insight is however still immense, and the portraits are as usual painted with a nice broad palette. It's a good book, but Boris Akunin is less successfull in his pastiche of The remains of the day/Classical butler story than he has been in the other Fandorin books. The historical and cultural insight is however still immense, and the portraits are as usual painted with a nice broad palette.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Golan Schzukin

    One of the better ones in the series

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rik Brooymans

    This is my first try of a Fandorin mystery and, while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to dip back in for another volume. The novel is beautifully constructed and profoundly well-written. Kudos to the translator for a version so melodic that you could imagine it was originally written in English. The prose is slow and descriptive, but in an interesting way. I liken it to floating down an extremely scenic stretch of a slow-moving river. While some people might get more enjoyment out This is my first try of a Fandorin mystery and, while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to dip back in for another volume. The novel is beautifully constructed and profoundly well-written. Kudos to the translator for a version so melodic that you could imagine it was originally written in English. The prose is slow and descriptive, but in an interesting way. I liken it to floating down an extremely scenic stretch of a slow-moving river. While some people might get more enjoyment out of the white-water rapids of a Lee Child novel, I quite liked watching the scenery go by. The fact that it is unfamiliar scenery, late-nineteenth century Moscow, filtered through the profoundly rigid eyes of a royal family butler, certainly helps. And early on in the novel, Akunin had a knack for moving things on just as they started to tire. I also quite liked that he didn't hide any aces. The mystery is quite solvable, should you pay adequate attention. No last minute, new information, Agatha Christie cheating here. The only thing really standing in the way of a better review was the narrator, that rigid, class-sensitive butler, Afinasi Ziukin. While his unique perspective and view on the days social and class mores is initially interesting, as the book progresses it only serves to make him a plot device - someone who is so incapable of seeing what's right in front of him that he needs to have everything explained to him in detail, which gives Akunin the opportunity to explain it to the reader. The book is otherwise so well constructed that this was entirely unnecessary. Most reasonable people would have been able to follow and draw the correct conclusions without the explicit pointers. The other drag on a better review were the sections of the book dealing with the homosexual characters. Charged with additional meaning due to the current situation with regards to LGBTQ rights (or lack thereof) in Russia, it was, in places, offensive, even with the caveat that it may well have represented the way it was discussed in that particular time and place.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "The Coronation" is a mystery set in May 1896 in Moscow. It's the seventh book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous novels. The viewpoint character was a butler for the Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich. He spent a lot of time thinking about his butler duties in the first part of the book. While interesting, that did slow the pacing for the suspense and mystery. The series heroes are not viewpoint characters, so we "The Coronation" is a mystery set in May 1896 in Moscow. It's the seventh book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous novels. The viewpoint character was a butler for the Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich. He spent a lot of time thinking about his butler duties in the first part of the book. While interesting, that did slow the pacing for the suspense and mystery. The series heroes are not viewpoint characters, so we only learn what the butler sees or is told. And he's a fool who keeps messing things up because he has no faith in the hero's abilities. After the kidnapping, the story was a race to find and save the child mixed with events related to the coronation and various romances of all types. I guessed who the mastermind, Dr. Lind, was shortly after the kidnapping. Someone made a comment that made me think "oh, I bet that character is the mastermind." It's extremely rare that I'll jump to the back of the book, but I did so in this case and it turned out I was correct. However, it was realistic that the characters in the story didn't catch on until the very end. Don't expect a happy ending – even the butler wasn't happy, and things turned out well for him. There were no graphic sex scenes. There was some bad language. I'd recommend this mystery to those interested in the Russian setting. I received an ARC review copy of this book from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darrell Woods

    Fandorin 7 finds us at the Coronation of the Tsar in Moscow in 1897. There are enough historical facts in the novel (a throne made of diamonds wow!) but they are merely a backdrop to a game of cat and mouse between the arch criminal mastermind Doctor Lind and our hero. Lind appears out of nowhere and it’s a shame the Doctor wasn’t alluded to in some way in previous books - but then that never harmed Moriarty, and there are parallels to that confrontation. There is quite a lot of humour running t Fandorin 7 finds us at the Coronation of the Tsar in Moscow in 1897. There are enough historical facts in the novel (a throne made of diamonds wow!) but they are merely a backdrop to a game of cat and mouse between the arch criminal mastermind Doctor Lind and our hero. Lind appears out of nowhere and it’s a shame the Doctor wasn’t alluded to in some way in previous books - but then that never harmed Moriarty, and there are parallels to that confrontation. There is quite a lot of humour running through this, much due to the narrator being the stuffy Head Butler struggling to make sense of the nightmare he is unwittingly drawn into, and by the end he has replaced Masa as Fandorin’s foil. The action is pretty relentless - there is little flab in this instalment, and some nice twists to confound the reader. This is definitely one of my favourites so far. Fandorin is a little more rounded than in some earlier tales - fallible, human, as vulnerable as everyone else to emotions. The poignant sense of loss and regret within the regulated confines and strata of the upper classes definitely adds more depth to the detective aspects. Each time I finish one, I just want to race on to the next! Go Erast Go!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is an interesting blend of history and fiction. The mystery is set against the backdrop of the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. The story, oddly, was told not from the point of view of the detective, Erast Fandorin, but through the eyes of the very irritating butler Anafasii Zuikan. For the first 50 pages I was determined not to read any more mysteries in the series. I warmed up to the story and enjoyed it very much. It contained intricate twists and turns. I found the unmasking of Dr. Lind, This is an interesting blend of history and fiction. The mystery is set against the backdrop of the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. The story, oddly, was told not from the point of view of the detective, Erast Fandorin, but through the eyes of the very irritating butler Anafasii Zuikan. For the first 50 pages I was determined not to read any more mysteries in the series. I warmed up to the story and enjoyed it very much. It contained intricate twists and turns. I found the unmasking of Dr. Lind, the villain to be a complete surprise. I understand the comments on reviewers who found him to be Russia's answer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The interactions of Fandorin and Zuikan were similar to those of Holmes and Watson. I have always been a fan of Russian Fiction. I picked this book up in mid-series to see if I liked the author. I have decided that the author is interesting enough for me to go back to the beginning of the series and read the rest of it in order. I recommend the book for those who are fans of Conan Doyle or for those who like European mysteries in general. Keep in mind, the Zuikan characters is both insufferable and central to the plot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is a good mystery, because every time that you are led through the solution of part of the mystery, another element remains to be solved - all the way through to the very very end! The narrator’s voice is the most memorable feature of this book for me. He is so obsequious!!! But he is a very proud member of the 19th century servant class. His identity comes from serving his masters well, according to rules made by others far removed. But he is also loyal, lonely, and not at all lovable. Thi This is a good mystery, because every time that you are led through the solution of part of the mystery, another element remains to be solved - all the way through to the very very end! The narrator’s voice is the most memorable feature of this book for me. He is so obsequious!!! But he is a very proud member of the 19th century servant class. His identity comes from serving his masters well, according to rules made by others far removed. But he is also loyal, lonely, and not at all lovable. This is his humanity. The mystery is set during the coronation of Nicholas II in Moscow. His nephew is kidnapped and jewels are demanded. The butler becomes part of the team endowed with this secret information ( no one must know!) as well trailing and tailing the clever detective Fandorin. Did you know that 1500+ people died during the coronation celebrations at a stampede for free food and drink for commoners? I didn’t until I read this book ( and verified it online). Yet another bad omen for those Romanovs...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    This book is wonderful and it made me work to fact check what things were like in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution. As for the detective Fandorin, he is resourceful, athletic, a master of disguises, insightful, is plagued by a nemesis, is a master of logic, and has a very useful sleuthing partner. Sound somewhat familiar? But he is definitely his own character, just as Russia is quite dissimilar from England even in this time of the final days of the tsars. The investigation of the kidnapp This book is wonderful and it made me work to fact check what things were like in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution. As for the detective Fandorin, he is resourceful, athletic, a master of disguises, insightful, is plagued by a nemesis, is a master of logic, and has a very useful sleuthing partner. Sound somewhat familiar? But he is definitely his own character, just as Russia is quite dissimilar from England even in this time of the final days of the tsars. The investigation of the kidnapping mastermind, evil as he is, is full of twists and red herrings as well as action and adventure and is related by the chief butler to the royals who involves himself even more than he expects to. This is one in a series ably translated by Andrew Bromfeld, but any floundering by this reader is not the fault of the author or translator, but my own ignorance of Russian history. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Grove Atlantic via NetGalley. Thank you!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Darn those russians & their melancholy endings!!!! i wasn't too keen on the ending. i like the Erast Fandorin character & his sidekick Masta. and the mystery was well done. the bad guy slips up w/a tiny clue which i caught at the same time as the detective in the story so that was cool. I did most of the previous ones in this series on audio which helped b/c of the Russian names & all the details in them. there were alot of characters, I found myself getting lost as to who was who. The writer does Darn those russians & their melancholy endings!!!! i wasn't too keen on the ending. i like the Erast Fandorin character & his sidekick Masta. and the mystery was well done. the bad guy slips up w/a tiny clue which i caught at the same time as the detective in the story so that was cool. I did most of the previous ones in this series on audio which helped b/c of the Russian names & all the details in them. there were alot of characters, I found myself getting lost as to who was who. The writer does each of his books in the series in a different style (ie. christie, doyle, fleming, etc.) but w/the same detective. This one is a high society murder. The other different thing the writer does, is Fandorin isn’t always the primary narrator of the stories as in other detective mysteries. I’m really glad I discovered this writer & series 2 yrs. ago. I did most of them on audiobook I hope more of the books will be translated & released in the states.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Fans of this series are in for a treat in this latest installment told by the Butler at the Hermitage. Set at the time of the Coronation of Nicolas II and awesomely filled with fun details, it's once again a mystery solved by Erast Fandorin, a truly cool detective. If you haven't read these before, don't worry- Akunin gives you enough details to fully engage you and I don't think you'll miss anything. The kidnapping of a child sets off this latest foray into the machinations of the bad guys of T Fans of this series are in for a treat in this latest installment told by the Butler at the Hermitage. Set at the time of the Coronation of Nicolas II and awesomely filled with fun details, it's once again a mystery solved by Erast Fandorin, a truly cool detective. If you haven't read these before, don't worry- Akunin gives you enough details to fully engage you and I don't think you'll miss anything. The kidnapping of a child sets off this latest foray into the machinations of the bad guys of Tsarist Russia, notably Dr. Lind, who wants more than just ransom. In some ways the mystery is second in interest for me, at least, to the details about the royal family and the politics of the time. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This is a complex (but never incomprehensible) tale with some truly fascinating information about Imperial Russia.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Ann

    I just did not like the tone of the book; all the pomposity bored me as did the all of the lengthy erudite first person narratives of Afanasi Ziukin, the majordomo of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich. Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich arrives in Moscow with three of his children for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas. During an afternoon stroll in the park, Georgii’s daughter Xenia is dragged away by bandits, only to be rescued by Erast Petrovich Fandorin and his Japanese sidekick, Masa. Then the grou I just did not like the tone of the book; all the pomposity bored me as did the all of the lengthy erudite first person narratives of Afanasi Ziukin, the majordomo of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich. Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich arrives in Moscow with three of his children for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas. During an afternoon stroll in the park, Georgii’s daughter Xenia is dragged away by bandits, only to be rescued by Erast Petrovich Fandorin and his Japanese sidekick, Masa. Then the group realizes that the four-year-old, Mikhail, has been taken in the ruckus. A ransom letter arrives from the kidnapper demanding ransom in form of the Count Orlov Diamond from the royal coronation scepter.... and so the adventure begins.

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