The year is 1546, and by invitation of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, a young Elizabeth I accompanies her teacher Roger Ascham and England’s best chess player Gilbert Giles to Constantinople, where they are to take part in a chess tournament that will determine the champion of the world. In the midst of this magnificent and opulent landscape, a horrific murder takes place and soon Elizabeth and Mr. Ascham find themselves unwittingly thrown into a web of intrigue and treachery to rival any chess game, with mystery and danger at every turn.
Having garnered much of his success with high intensity, action-adventure novels, Matthew Reilly has switched gears with The Tournament to try his hand at historical fiction, with great success.
Although subdued in the action and adventure department, The Tournament is not for the faint at heart and delivers an excellent dose of mystery, intrigue and subterfuge. Mathew Reilly has seamlessly blended fact and fiction together, and has captured the beauty as well as unimaginable horrors and brutality of 1546 Constantinople perfectly, with such enthralling and vivid prose that the reader is transported to this wondrous time if only in his or her imagination.
The characters are well thought out and researched, described in the same vivid manner used throughout the book that they seem to come alive before your eyes. Whether intentional or not, and adding to the books appeal tremendously, The Tournament reads as a non-fiction account of the time and quite often I wondered (and often hoped) that some of the events described actually took place.
Overall, another great success for the talented Matthew Reilly. An excellent read, highly recommended to lovers of both the action and historical fiction genre. The Tournament has it all!
Thank you to NetGalley, Goodreads First Reads and Gallery Books for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.