Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Tournament

Yesterday's post was written a while ago, so I've had time to read the missing book, namely The Tournament. This is not your standard Matthew Reilly. It's set in 1954, it's about a chess tournament, and it goes into the politics (including the sexual proclivities) of the time. Not exactly a fast paced action piece about random places around the world.

Queen Bess, or rather just Bess as she is 13, is taken to Constantinople as part of a chess tournament. (No, she's not participating in it, and there's no action scene where everything depends on her taking a rook.) But while she is there with her tutor and others, there's a murder, and she (via her tutor) gets swept up in events. There's a lot going on, and she is under threat more than once, but when the threads unravel there are machinations going to the highest levels in the city.

Although this isn't his usual reckless action work, this still works as a murder mystery. Reilly can tell a good story, and other than initially mentally changing reading gears, I got into this easily enough. And yes, there are descriptions of the actual chess tournaments (although described lightly because he isn't a chess master, and they are really only backdrop items). There is a lot of sex, as was the style at the time, and I kind of feel like he falls into the common trap of people writing historical novels, to whit throwing in explanations, people and references to later events because he can. That sort of thing always feels gratuitous. (And Sleepy Hollow, I'm glaring at you too.)

Still, decent read, go pick it up and you too might want to learn more of the history of the immortal game.


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