Matthew Reilly

The Tournament

"The entire plotting was faultless as the author drove the story forward with his trademark pace."


England, 1546, A young Princess Elizabeth is surrounded by uncertainty. Not yet in line for the throne, she still remains a threat to her brother and sister.

In the midst of this fevered atmosphere comes an unexpected invitation from the Sultan in Constantinople. He wants to assemble the finest chess players in the world for a tournament. Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's tutor and mentor in the art of power and politics is determined to keep her out of harm's way, so he resolves to take her with him to the Ottoman capital.

Once there, the two find more danger than they left behind. There's a killer on the loose who's mutilating the bodies he leaves behind. Ascham is asked by the Sultan to investigate, but as he and Elizabeth delve into the crimes they find dark secrets, depraved actions and horrible crimes.

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As a long time fan of Matthew Reilly's adrenaline fuelled adventures, I was rather taken aback by 'The Tournament' which is totally different from any of his previous novels. Instead of the usual gung-ho action, Reilly has penned a traditional whodunit which is far more Poirot than Rambo. I always knew Reilly had a quiver full of arrows, I just didn't know he had this string to his bow. The novel is all about intelligent deduction and I loved the way suspicion was shifted around making it impossible for me to second guess the author's next move. The entire plotting was faultless as the author drove the story forward with his trademark pace. Ascham and Elizabeth are drawn with an expert eye and the supporting cast were all created with an equal attention to detail. A particularly entertaining facet of the novel was the way Elizabeth's experiences would shape her later life. Yet it was Ascham's stolid personality and ready intelligence which sculpted the novel into a fantastic shape. All in all, 'The Tournament' was a fine journey into different territory for an author who never fails to entertain.

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