Author says he wrote vicious reviews, not his wife

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There may be some marital tension in the home of Orlando Figes, a celebrated author and Russian scholar embroiled in a scandal involving vicious reviews posted on Amazon's website.

The anonymous reviews attacked books written by Figes' rivals, and last week his wife, law professor Stephanie Palmer, said she was responsible. But now Figes admits he actually wrote the nasty putdowns, which built up his reputation at other authors' expense.

Figes specifically apologized to his wife, his lawyer — who was misled about the source of the reviews — and to the authors he trashed on Amazon, including Rachel Polonsky, Robert Service and Kate Summerscale.

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