The Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 March 2017

The Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin

The Turkish Gambit is the third novel by Boris Akunin to be translated from Russian to English. It is also the second novel among the Erast Fandorin detective-fiction masterpieces written by Akunin. This novel is set during 1877-1878 when the Russian-Ottoman war was marking its place in World History. It revolves around the search of protagonist Erast Petrovich Fandorin for a Turkish spy among the ranks of Russian soldiers. In his plight, he was accompanied by a female sidekick named Varvara Andreevna “Varya” Suvorova who has gone in Bulgaria to find her fiancé.

The novel involves the death of Russian hussar officer Count Zurov and Officer Ivan Kazanzaki.

Apparently, these deaths are very much planned by the Turkish- secret agent Anwar Effendi disguised as the French journalist Charles Paladin.

Paladin’s story that he was able to see that the Turks were smaller in number may have been his chance to talk to this army and tell them that he was about to convince the Russians to attack Plevna with smaller troops. Thus, the Russian army attacked Plevna with no exact knowledge of the Turks’ strength.

The death of Zurov occurred when he was ordered by Russian General Sobolev to fetch reinforcements from their headquarters as they were being beaten by the Turks during their battle at Plevna. This attack was lead by incorrect information from Paladin who said that the Turks were already on the losing end when in fact, they were gathering more strength against the Russian army. Zurov may have been killed on his way to their headquarters by Paladin as he was still in Bucharest where he killed Colonel Lukan (Lukan may have also been able to find out that Paladin was the spy) so as not to be able to call the said reinforcement.

            In Akunin’s novels that feature Fandorin, there is always a homosexual character that is usually blamed of a crime but ends up innocent. In The Turkish Gambit, this character is portrayed by a Russian Greek gay officer named Ivan Kazanzaki who was accused of treason. He was sent to jail and suffered because of this accusation.

            But as Fandorin relayed what he found out about Paladin, Kazanzaki was proven innocent. The detective said that all along, it was Paladin who was causing so much trouble on the Russian army because of severe treachery. He revealed that no one from Paladin’s paper has ever seen him and why Paladin’s stories were filled with information at cities where Anwar was said to be located. He was also the one who changed Plevna to Nikopol on the telegram by distracting Peter Yablokov telling him that Varvara was at their place. It was Paladin who was supposed to be accused of treason and not Yablokov or Kazanzaki.

            And as the novel ended, with the problem on the espionage resolved, Akunin imparts another predicament to his readers as Fandorin was able to predict that although Russia was able to win over Turkey, they are still up to a new set of problems. And that is for sure is another installment of the Fandorin series that should be anticipated.


Kiem, Elizabeth. “The Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin: Random House”. Flak Magazine 1999-2006. 10 December


Weidenfeld & Nicolson. “The tsar’s Man”. The Guardian 29 Jan. 2005. 10 December 2006. <,6121,1400851,00.html>

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