The Tournament – #AtoZChallenge 2019

It’s nice when an author manages to surprise me with a book. There are authors I turn to time and time again when it comes to certain genres. Matthew Reilly is one author I love for thrillers. I thought this book might be the same, but it turned out to be a crime fiction that I just loved reading, and based on characters from history.

The Sultan has organized a chess tournament, and invited renowned chess players from around the world to take part in it. Roger Ascham accompanies Britain’s representative to the event, and in his charge is Elizabeth Tudor, the Princess of England. But things are not as they seem. A murder happens, and that is set to disturb the tournament. The Sultan has heard of Ascham, and calls upon him to solve the case before it snowballs. As the tournament continues, it is upto Ascham and Elizabeth to unravel the mystery amid the dangers of Constantinople.

Crime fiction in the 16th Century…

This is definitely one of Reilly’s best books. It’s different from his on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of thrillers for sure, and it takes time to develop and dig into the plot. One might even think this book is just about chess and a tournament, but that’s how the author might be reeling you into the book itself. I loved it because of a few reasons. it’s a book set in the sixteenth century, during a time of war. It meant that the way the crime was solved would have to be different, and it was. It was about intelligence and action on that intelligence. In trying to escape danger, Elizabeth was running into it too, so it added another layer of suspense.

Very interesting character sketches…

Roger Ascham’s character was brilliant. He knows who he is mentoring, but he doesn’t hold back on certain things just because Elizabeth is royalty. And the experience definitely had repercussions on her character. Another character I was intrigued by was Elsie, and one doesn’t understand the need for her character till almost the end of the book. From first page to last, this book was gripping and well plotted! I couldn’t guess the killer either. There’s a lot of sex, details are shared with much description. Not sure if that level of detail was necessary but it paints characters in a certain color. If you’re a fan of thrillers and/or crime fiction, this book is worth a try.


This is the 10th year of the #AtoZChallenge and my tenth year attempting it. My theme this year is Books – Read and Loved. As evident by the theme, I am going to write on books I’ve read and loved.


Liked this? Read some of my earlier posts written about Books.


Vinay Leo R.
23. 04. 2019

Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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