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BOOK REVIEW: The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

Sunday, July 02, 2017



The Tournament – Matthew Reilly

The Blurb (from GoodReads):

The year is 1546.

Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities.

Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other.

We follow the English delegation, selected by King Henry VIII himself, to the glittering city of Constantinople, where the most amazing tournament ever staged will take place.

But when the stakes are this high, not everyone plays fair, and for our team of plucky English heroes, winning may not be the primary goal. As a series of barbaric murders take place, a more immediate goal might simply be staying alive…


My Thoughts
Best known for his fast-paced contemporary thrillers, The Tournament is a real departure for Matthew Reilly. 

Told by Queen Elizabeth I on her death-bed, the action of the book is set in 1546 when the young princess was only thirteen years old. She accompanies her tutor, Roger Ascham, to Constantinople to attend a chess tournament. Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, had issued an invitation to every king in Europe, ‘to determine the champion of the known world’. 

Soon after their arrival, a powerful cardinal is found brutally murdered. Roger Ascham – known for his brilliant mind and incisive logical skills - is asked to find the killer. Bess, of course, is drawn into helping him. 

Other murders follow, and soon Bess and her tutor find themselves and the rest of their party in ever increasing danger.

I love books set in Elizabethan times, and I am a chess addict, and so this book was always going to appeal to me.  Of course, you need to suspend your disbelief at the young Princess Elizabeth as a sleuth, and I have to say the book is surprisingly sexy, but I enjoyed the story immensely and have to say The Tournament is now my favourite Matthew Reilly book. I hope he writes another just like it! 


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