“A complete success…action fans and PBS types can share their enthusiasm” (Booklist, starred review) when a young Queen Elizabeth I is thrust into a gripping game of deception and lust at the height of the Ottoman Empire in this edge-of-your-seat historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Great Zoo of China and Temple.
The year is 1546, and Suleiman the Magnificent, the 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 consumed by royal duties in Henry VIII’s court.
Yet on the opening night of the tournament, a powerful guest of the Sultan is murdered. Soon, barbaric deaths, diplomatic corruption, and unimaginable depravity—sexual and otherwise—unfold before Elizabeth’s 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.
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.
I already bought this once!
This is a 5 star novel, but I don't understand why it's being released AGAIN. It's already out, has been for a year...