The bestselling historical mystery from Australia's favourite novelist, author of the Scarecrow series and the Jack West Jr series with new novel The Three Secret Cities out now.
"Reilly's concoction makes for a cracking read." Sun Herald
"a fast-paced and exhilarating romp" Weekend Australian
"... the best novel that Reilly has written" The Age
Even a pawn can become a queen.
The year is 1546. 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.
The English delegation - led by esteemed scholar Roger Ascham - journeys to the glittering city of Constantinople. Accompanying Ascham is his pupil, Bess, who is about to bear witness to events she never thought possible.
For on the first night of the tournament, a powerful guest of the Sultan is murdered, and against the backdrop of the historic event, Ascham is tasked with finding the killer.
Barbaric deaths, unimaginable depravity and diplomatic treachery unfold before Bess's eyes, indelibly shaping her character and determining how she will perform her future role...as Queen Elizabeth I.
Shortlisted for the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2014
MORE ROGER ASCHAM IN: ROGER ASCHAM AND THE KING'S LOST GIRL
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In his latest book, Reilly takes a detour from his heart-pumping thrillers. The Tournament is the utterly compelling story of a fictitious international chess tournament organised by the ruler of the Ottoman Empire in 1546. The author of The Five Greatest Warriors does a brilliant job speculating on (among many other things) the formative childhood years of Queen Elizabeth I.
The 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth Tudor, the narrator of this delightful, well-crafted thriller set in 1546 from Reilly (The Great Zoo of China), accompanies her tutor, Roger Ascham, to Constantinople, where the sultan Suleiman is hosting a tournament to determine the world's chess champion. As part of her political education, Elizabeth has a memorable encounter with arrogant young Ivan, "grand prince of the Duchy of Muscovy" and future Ivan the Terrible, but her life lessons turn to the deductive when Suleiman puts brilliant Ascham in charge of investigating the murder and mutilation of an anti-Islamic cardinal just before the tournament's start. She also gains a better understanding of man's carnal nature from hearing about the Ottoman crown prince's after-hours parties and spying on drunken priests cavorting with teenage boys in the priests' chambers. Reilly remains true to the realities of his historical characters and effectively communicates Elizabeth's feeling of being an inquisitive stranger without falling into undue exoticism.