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Boris Akunin books in order

Boris Akunin is the pseudonym of Russian-Georgian journalist, essayist, literary translator and author Grigori Chkhartishvili.

Known for using various pen names, including Anatoly Brusnikin, Anna Borisova, and Akunin-Chkhartishvili, he uses the name Boris Akunin when writing detective and historical fiction novels.

Born in the Republic of Georgia, he was an expert on Japan at the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University, where he was involved in the translation of literature from both Japanese and English languages.

As an author, Boris writes all his books in his native Russian before they are later translated to other languages, including English.

His best work remains The Winter Queen (1998), The Turkish Gambit (1998), and The State Counsellor (2008), which have all been adapted into Russian movies.

More about Boris Akunin

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery

Born: 1956

Russian Federation

Pseudonym: Boris Akunin


Erast Fandorin

  1. The Winter Queen - Азазель (1998)
  2. The Turkish Gambit - Турецкий гамбит (1998)
  3. Murder on the Leviathan - Левиафан (1998)
  4. The Death of Achilles - Смерть Ахиллеса (1998)
  5. Special Assignments - Особые поручения (2007)
  6. The State Counsellor - Статский советник (2008)
  7. The Coronation - Коронация, или Последний из романов (2009)
  8. She Lover of Death - Любовница смерти (2009)
  9. He Lover of Death - Любовник смерти (2010)
  10. The Diamond Chariot - Алмазная колесница (2011)
  11. All The World's A Stage - Весь мир театр (2017)
  12. Black City - Черный город (2018)
  13. Not Saying Goodbye - Не прощаюсь (2019)


  1. To Kill a Serpent in the Shell - Убить змею в яйце (2018)

Sister Pelagia

  1. Pelagia and the White Bulldog - Пелагия и белый бульдог (2006)
  2. Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk - Пелагия и черный монах (Провинциальный детектив) (2007)
  3. Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel - Пелагия и красный петух (2008)

Detailed book overview

Erast Fandorin

The Winter Queen

Moscow 1876.

A young law student commits suicide in broad daylight in Moscow's Alexander Gardens. But this is no ordinary death, for the young man was the son of an influential industrialist and has left a considerable fortune. Erast Fandorin, a hotheaded new recruit to the Criminal Investigation Department, is assigned to the case. Brilliant, young, and sophisticated, Fandorin embarks on an investigation that will take him from the palatial mansions of Moscow to the seedy backstreets of London in his hunt for the conspirators behind this mysterious death.

Azazel (Russian miniseries)
Director: Aleksandr Adabashyan
Cast: Ilya Noskov, Sergey Bezrukov, Marina Aleksandrova, Oleg Basilashvili, Sergei Chonishvili, Marina Neyolova, Yuri Avsharov , Felix Antipov
Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Азазель
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0753817599
Publisher: Phoenix Press
The Turkish Gambit

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.

The Turkish Gambit
Director: Dzhanik Fayziev
Cast: Egor Beroev, Olga Krasko, Marat Basharov, Vladimir Ilyin, Dmitry Pevtsov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Aleksandr Baluev, Gosha Kutsenko, Andrey Krasko, Leonid Kuravlyov
Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Турецкий гамбит
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0812968781
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Murder on the Leviathan

Paris, 1878: Eccentric antiquarian Lord Littleby and his ten servants are found murdered in Littleby’s mansion on the rue de Grenelle, and a priceless Indian shawl is missing. Police commissioner "Papa" Gauche recovers only one piece of evidence from the crime scene: a golden key shaped like a whale. Gauche soon deduces that the key is in fact a ticket of passage for the Leviathan, a gigantic steamship soon to depart Southampton on its maiden voyage to Calcutta. The murderer must be among its passengers.

In Cairo, the ship is boarded by a young Russian diplomat with a shock of white hair—none other than Erast Fandorin, the celebrated detective of Boris Akunin’s The Winter Queen. The sleuth joins forces with Gauche to determine which of ten unticketed passengers on the Leviathan is the rue de Grenelle killer.

Tipping his hat to Agatha Christie, Akunin assembles a colorful cast of suspects—including a secretive Japanese doctor, a professor who specializes in rare Indian artifacts, a pregnant Swiss woman, and an English aristocrat with an appetite for collecting Asian treasures—all of whom are contained together until the crime is solved. As the Leviathan steams toward Calcutta, will Fandorin be able to out-investigate Gauche and discover who the killer is, even as the ship’s passengers are murdered, one by one?

NB: This book is also known as Leviathan.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Левиафан
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0753818435
Publisher: Orion
The Death of Achilles

In 1882, after six years of foreign travel and adventure, renowned diplomat and detective Erast Fandorin returns to Moscow in the heart of Mother Russia. His Moscow homecoming is anything but peaceful. In the hotel where he and his loyal if impertinent manservant Masa are staying, Fandorin’s old war-hero friend General Michel Sobolev (“Achilles” to the crowd) has been found dead, felled in his armchair by an apparent heart attack. But Fandorin suspects an unnatural cause. His suspicions lead him to the boudoir of the beautiful singer–“not exactly a courtesan”–known as Wanda. Apparently, in Wanda’s bed, the general secretly breathed his last. . . .

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Смерть Ахиллеса
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0812968804
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Special Assignments

Erast Fandorin, nineteenth-century Russia’s suavest sleuth, faces two formidable new foes: One steals outrageous sums of money, the other takes lives. “The Jack of Spades” is a civilized swindler who has conned thousands of rubles from Moscow’s residents–including Fandorin’s own boss, Prince Dolgorukoi. 

To catch him, Fandorin and his new assistant, timid young policeman Anisii Tulipov, must don almost as many disguises as the grifter does himself. “The Decorator” is a different case altogether: A savage serial killer who believes he “cleans” the women he mutilates and takes his orders from on high, he must be given Fandorin’s most serious attentions.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Особые поручения
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0812978605
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
The State Counsellor

Russia, 1891. The new governor-general of Siberia has been secreted away on a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow. A blizzard rages outside as a mustachioed official climbs aboard near the city; with his trademark stutter, he introduces himself as State Counsellor Erast Fandorin. He then thrusts a dagger inscribed with the initials CG into the governor-general's heart and, tearing off his mustache, escapes out the carriage window. 

The head of the Department of Security soon shows up at the real Fandorin's door and arrests him for murder. The only way to save his reputation is to find CG―and the government mole who is feeding the group information. Can Fandorin survive corruption among his fellow officials, the fearlessness of an unknown enemy, and the advances of a sultry young nihilist with his morals intact?

The State Counsellor (Russian Movie)
Director: Filipp Yankovsky
Cast: Oleg Menshikov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Konstantin Khabensky, Igor Yasulovich, Vladimir Mashkov, Emilia Spivak, Oksana Fandera, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Oleksiy Gorbunov, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Oleg Tabakov, Maria Mironova, Alexander Strizhenov, Pavel Belozerov
Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Статский советник
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0802127822
Publisher: Mysterious Press
The Coronation

After five years spent abroad building up a business as something of a private investigator, the handsome, stuttering Fandorin is back in Moscow―and in for a case that entangles him with the highest echelons of Romanov royalty.

Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich arrives in Moscow with three of his children for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, who is fated to become the last Emperor of Russia. During an afternoon stroll in the park, Georgii’s daughter Xenia is dragged away by bandits, only to be rescued by an elegant gentleman and his Japanese sidekick. The passing heroes introduce themselves as Erast Petrovich Fandorin and Masa, but panic ensues when the party realizes 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 scepter which is due to play a part in the coronation. Can the gentleman detective find Mikhail in time? The Coronation is a fantastically entertaining and deftly plotted take on the hostage novel, not to be missed.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Коронация, или Последний из романов
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0802148407
Publisher: Grove Press
She Lover of Death

Naive young Masha Mironova arrives in Moscow at the turn of the century determined to shed her provincial Siberian upbringing. Reinventing herself as the reckless and daring Columbine, she soon falls in with a subversive group of poets known as the Lovers of Death. At the home of their leader, the Doge, these seductive bohemians conduct nightly séances to determine who shall be Death’s next lover. Once named at a séance, the chosen member must await three signs from Death before taking his or her own life.

The resulting string of suicides have drawn media attention and sparked widespread hysteria in Moscow. As the group’s numbers dwindle, the dashing investigator Erast Fandorin goes undercover to join their ranks. But will the gentleman-detective be able to stop Columbine from taking fatal action when she receives her three unmistakable signs?

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Любовница смерти
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0802148568
Publisher: Mysterious Press
He Lover of Death

Senka Skorikov, orphan and urchin, has been abandoned to the murky world of Moscow's gangster district. While picking a pocket or two, he glimpses the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and joins the gang of her overlord lover, The Prince, so desperate he is to meet her. 

Senka climbs the criminal ranks, uncovering a stash of precious metal, and gradually capturing the heart of his beloved Death - so named for the life expectancy of her lovers. But as the bandit community balks at his success on both fronts, threats on his life begin to pour in. A dandy and his 'Chinese' sidekick seem to be taking an inordinate interest in Senka's welfare, and it becomes clear that those threatening Senka are linked to a spate of murders, grizzly even by underworld standards. 

Fandorin must unweave a tangled web of narcotics, false identities and organized crime - but can he survive an encounter with the ever-alluring Death unscathed?

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Любовник смерти
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0753828069
Publisher: Phoenix Press
The Diamond Chariot

An Erast Fandorin Mystery. Russia, 1905. Russia is locked in a bloody war with Japan. As enemy spies converge on St. Petersburg, Fandorin is called to investigate an explosion on a railway bridge. Trailing a suspect to Moscow, the detective comes face to face with more adversaries than he's ever met with before. But can he prevent murder on the Trans-Siberian Express?

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Алмазная колесница
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0753828199
Publisher: Phoenix Press
All The World's A Stage

Eliza Altairsky-Lointaine is the toast of Moscow society, a beautiful actress in an infamous theatre troupe. The estranged wife of a descendant of Genghis Khan, her love life is as colorful as the parts she plays: her ex-husband has threatened to kill anyone who courts her. He appears to be making good on his promise. 

Fandorin is contacted by concerned friend - the widowed wife of Chekhov - who asks him to investigate an alarming incident involving Eliza. But when he watches Eliza on stage for the first time, he falls desperately in love...Can he solve the case - and win over Eliza - without attracting the attentions of the murderer he is trying to find?

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Весь мир театр
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1474604413
Publisher: Orion
Black City

Crimea, 1914.  

When the Tzar's head of security is assassinated, Erast Fandorin is called to investigate: the killer has been overheard mentioning a 'black city' so Fandorin and his trusty companion, Masa, head to Baku, the burgeoning Russian capital of oil.

But from the moment they arrive in the city - a hotbed of corruption and greed by the Caspian Sea - they realise someone is watching their every move, and they will stop at nothing to derail their investigation.  

Having suffered a brutal attack and with Masa's life hanging by a thread, Fandorin is forced to rely on the help of an unexpected new ally, and he begins to suspect the plot might be part of something larger - and much more sinister.  

With war brewing in the Balkans, a Bolsheviks strike threatening the nation's oil supply and Europe's empires struggling to contain the threat of revolution, Fandorin must try to solve his most difficult case yet - before time runs out.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Черный город
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1474604444
Publisher: W&N
Not Saying Goodbye

RUSSIA, 1918

The young Soviet state is in turmoil. Chekists walk along the streets. Hunger, cold and mud crawl away in the former aristocratic quarters of Moscow. The old order has been turned upside down, leaving room for political infighting and dark subterfuge.

This is the world Erast Fandorin - the celebrated detective - wakes up to after three years in a coma. His faithful assistant Masa might have nursed him successfully back to life, but there is no guarantee that the old Fandorin, with his razor-sharp intellect and superhuman strength, will ever be back.

Determined to leave behind Moscow - a city he doesn't recognise anymore - Fandorin embarks on one last great adventure. But who can he trust in a country torn apart by civil war?

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Не прощаюсь
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1474610995
Publisher: W&N


To Kill a Serpent in the Shell

To Kill a Serpent in the Shell dramatizes the final year of Tsarevna Sofia’s regency, interrogating Russia’s history while subtly confronting the Russia of today. The play, both a riddle and a fantasy, depicts the political rivalry between the regent and her lover, Vasili Golitsyn, on the one hand, and the young Tsar Peter on the other.

The regency’s incipient humanism, espoused in Golitsyn’s consideration for the well-being of the Russian people, conflicts with the autocratic leanings of the young Tsar Peter. Boris Akunin shows us a pivotal time in Russian history, immediately preceding the reign of Peter the Great, and invites us to imagine what future rulers of Russia might have been like if the events of 1689 had had a different outcome.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Убить змею в яйце
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1628973204
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press

Sister Pelagia

Pelagia and the White Bulldog

In a remote Russian province in the late nineteenth century, Bishop Mitrofanii must deal with a family crisis. After learning that one of his great aunt’s beloved and rare white bulldogs has been poisoned, the Orthodox bishop knows there is only one detective clever enough to investigate the murder: Sister Pelagia.

The bespectacled, freckled Pelagia is lively, curious, extraordinarily clumsy, and persistent. At the estate in question, she finds a whole host of suspects, any one of whom might have benefited if the old lady (who changes her will at whim) had expired of grief at the pooch’s demise. There’s Pyotr, the matron’s grandson, a nihilist with a grudge who has fallen for the maid; Stepan, the penniless caretaker, who has sacrificed his youth to the care of the estate; Miss Wrigley, a mysterious Englishwoman who has recently been named sole heiress to the fortune; Poggio, an opportunistic and freeloading “artistic” photographer; and, most intriguingly, Naina, the old lady’s granddaughter, a girl so beautiful she could drive any man to do almost anything.

As Pelagia bumbles and intuits her way to the heart of a mystery among people with faith only in greed and desire, she must bear in mind the words of Saint Paul: “Beware of dogs–and beware of evil-doers.”

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Пелагия и белый бульдог
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0812975130
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk

In the middle of the night, a disheveled and badly frightened monk arrives at the doorstep of Bishop Mitrofanii of Zavolzhsk, crying: “Something’s wrong at the Hermitage!” The Hermitage is the centuries-old island monastery of New Ararat, known for its tradition of severely penitent monks, isolated environs, and a mental institution founded by a millionaire in self-imposed exile. Hearing the monk’s eerie message, Mitrofanii’s befuddled but sharp-witted ward Sister Pelagia begs to visit New Ararat and uncover the mystery.

Traditions prevail–no women are allowed–and the bishop sends other wards to test their fates against the Black Monk that haunts the once serene locale. But as the Black Monk claims more victims–including Mitrofanii’s envoys–Pelagia goes undercover to see exactly what person, or what spirit, is at the bottom of it all.

NB: This book is also known as Pelagia and the Black Monk.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Пелагия и черный монах (Провинциальный детектив)
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0812975147
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel

The ship carrying the devout to Jerusalem has run into rough waters. Onboard is Manuila, controversial leader of the “Foundlings,” a sect that worships him as the Messiah. But soon the polarizing leader is no longer a passenger or a prophet but a corpse, beaten to death by someone almost supernaturally strong. 

But not everything is as it seems, and someone else sailing has become enmeshed in the mystery: the seemingly slow but actually astute sleuth Sister Pelagia. Her investigation of the crime will take her deep into the most dangerous areas of the Middle East and Russia, running from one-eyed criminals and after such unlikely animals as a red cockerel that may be more than a red herring. To her shock, she will emerge with not just the culprit in a murder case but a clue to the earth’s greatest secret.

NB: This book is also known as Pelagia and the Red Rooster.

Author: Boris Akunin
Original Title: Пелагия и красный петух
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0812975154
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks