The Tournament

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The Tournament

As a fan of anything about English history, especially Elizabeth Tudor, I was excited to pick up this book taking place in 1546. Matthew Reilly’s book imagines a trip to Constantinople by Elizabeth with her tutor, Roger Ascham, to witness a chess tournament hosted by Suleiman the Magnificent. A death on the first night results in Ascham being asked to investigate, with Elizabeth quickly drawn in. The court of Suleiman is filled with sexual depravity, treachery and murder, with Elizabeth and her tutor walking a fine line to bring justice for the victims while maintaining their safety. It quickly becomes apparent that the chess tournament isn’t the only game being played, except the stakes are much higher for the pair.

While the book has some issues with historical accuracy, it is an interesting read. I did have a hard time with the fact that Princess Elizabeth would have been allowed to travel to Constantinople with only two other females for chaperones and the amount of time she spent wandering around on her own, but the book was interesting enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the book. “The Tournament” by Matthew Reilly is action-packed, with intrigue and suspense galore. After reading this book I’m interested in learning more about Roger Ascham and I’m tempted to pick up more of Matthew Reilly’s books.


Book Blurb for The Tournament

From the New York Times bestselling author of Temple and The Great Zoo of China comes a gripping historical thriller featuring a young Queen Elizabeth I thrust into a web of treachery, power, and lust at the height of the Ottoman Empire.

The year is 1546, and Suleiman the Magnificent, the powerful and feared Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, issues an invitation to every king in Europe: You are invited to send your finest player to compete in a chess tournament to determine the champion of the known world.

Thousands converge on Constantinople, including the English court’s champion and his guide, the esteemed scholar Roger Ascham. Seeing a chance to enlighten the mind of a student, Ascham brings along Elizabeth Tudor, a brilliant young woman not yet thrust into royal duties.

Yet on the opening night of the tournament a powerful guest of the Sultan is murdered. Soon, barbaric deaths, diplomatic treachery, and unimaginable depravity—sexual and otherwise—unfold before Elizabeth and Ascham’s eyes. The pair soon realizes that the real chess game is being played within the court itself…and its most treacherous element is that a stranger in a strange land is only as safe as her host is gracious.


Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2015 4.00