From the New York Times best-selling 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.
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While not the breakneck pace that fans of Reilly may be accustomed to, this little piece of historical fiction is quite enjoyable. The nerdy professor is a type we've seen before, but this one is no less enjoyable and his student - I won't spoil anything - but you'll get a serious kick out of her.
Recommend for Reilly fans who don't mind something a bit, just a bit, slower than scarecrow. Think Indiana Jones with a hint of Angels and Demons thrown in.
What I like about Matthew Reilly's stories are the fast paced non-stop action. I kept waiting for some edge of your seat type action to take place. For awhile I thought maybe I might just return the book because my lust for action was not being met. I kept reading and the story, although still lacking the action I wanted was interesting enough to hold my attention. In the end, even though the reviews all said this was not the breakneck - hold on to your pants action some of us have become accustomed to with Matthew's stories - (obviously I did not pay attention to them) this was a good story worthy of my five stars. This is a well thought out, well written and entertaining story about a chess tournament and a who dun-it murder mystery. It does keep you wondering who the murderer was all the way up until the end. It is well worth the credit.
I liked the story. It mixed religion and True Believers with a dose of reality and how things sometimes work in practice.
This is an historical novel that offers intrigue, suspense, mystery, betrayal, redemption and loyalty. It depicts an era where truth and honor are contrasted with debauchery and deceit. As always, the truth does prevail!
Not a bad story but not what I'd expect from Matthew Reilly. If you read his books because you love the scarecrow series I would pass this one up especially if your short on credits. Reader was good just didn't really like the book
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
I've read the book before but was excited to have it in audio form. I was so glad that the narrator chosen did a fantastic job!
I don't think I could compare it to other books. I'd probably compare it to the film Elizabeth (1998) starring Cate Blanchett. There's mystery and intrigue and murders to be solved in Elizabethan times, set in the Ottoman Empire.
I have not listened to other of Katie Firth's narrations, but I'll be checking them out now.
I love historical fiction and this is one of the best I've read. I'm really hoping that Audible will get more audiobooks of his and hope that he writes more historical fiction, since he's mainly an action novelist.
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