What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in the Alexander Gardens in front of a promenading public? Perhaps it might be the ennui and decadence so popular in France and now migrating over to the upper classes of Russia. The chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Moscow Police certainly thinks so, and paradoxically puts his newest recruit, Erast Fandorin, on the case.
"Sometime after Anna Korenina"
Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more information.
Welcome to the Land of Icy Darkness and the Land of the Flaming Sun. In this energy-charged tale about how the weather was made, King Icicle tries to challenge the radiance of Queen Goldenlight as he struggles to dominate the earth. But an important lesson of balance and compromise emerges from the storm, and the king and queen agree to work together to establish the rotating seasons of winter and summer.
"The effort involved is not proportional to outcome"
A 23-year-old law student commits suicide in broad daylight in Moscow's Alexander Gardens. Fandorin is put on the case to find out what drove him to it, a case that deepens as he discovers that the young man was the son of a rich and influential factory owner. The story is enhanced by its authentic backdrop of 19th century Russia. After all, it's difficult to keep your mind on a case when the new Dostoyevsky novel has just hit the shops.