Book Review: The Tournament – Matthew Reilly


In later life, Elizabeth would rarely lose at chess. And on the far more dangerous chessboard of her life- at court in London and on the high seas against the House of Castille – she never lost.

 I had visited a friend a few months ago and in due course of conversation she handed me The Tournament by Matthew Reilly. I love historical fiction and soon found myself borrowing the book to read.

The year is 1546 and the young Princess Elizabeth is third in line to the throne. After a sudden burst of plague in England, she is taken to Constantinople by her tutor Roger Ascham to attend a chess tournament hosted by the Sultan. What follows is an exciting tale of murder, mystery and above all, chess.

The balance between the two major plot-lines ties up beautifully and there isn’t a moment when the reader can loose focus. On one side, we have the chess tournament where players from around the world compete against each other for the title of the “best player in the world” and on the other, we have the investigation of the murder of a cardinal. All together it makes a brilliant historical thriller. The tournament scenes keep you at the edge of your seat and the whole investigation keeps you hoping our main characters make it out alive.

Though it starts a little slow, The Tournament gains pace as you progress through the pages and is guaranteed to keep you hooked until the last page.

My copy is 410 pages long and ends with a short interview with the author. It also has a map of the city of Constantinople and of the Sultan’s palace. It is an easy read for any type of reader. The book does contain some strong adult themes (sexual and abuse) so I wouldn’t recommend it for young readers as it may cause some distress.

So what is real? Did Princess Elizabeth really travel to the Ottoman Empire in her childhood? As far as being historically accurate, The Tournament is purely fiction. Apart from a few of the major historical characters mentioned in the book who did exist in the past, everything else is pure imagination and is meant for our enjoyment.

The Tournament is a great read and has introduced me to the works of Matthew Reilly. I can’t wait to read more.

About the Author

Matthew Reilly is an internationally bestselling author who’s books have been published in more than twenty languages and sold nearly five million copies worldwide. His works include Contest, Temple, Area 7 and Hover Car Racer among others.





Book Review: Fall of Giants (Part 1 of the Century Trilogy) – Ken Follett



Five families are brought together through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for votes for women. FALL OF GIANTS combines richly developed historical detail with fast-moving action and powerful emotion to deliver this absorbing narrative. 

Fall of Giants is the first book in the Century Trilogy written by Ken Follett. Set between 1911 and 1924, it follows the lives of five families through the shattering events of the early century. I love historical fiction. The events that took place in the past century have changed the course of history and of mankind forever. I remember learning about the First World War in high school. Never did any event in history captivate me as much as it did. Ken Follett has once again proven himself as a master in writing and this book only increased my interest in the subject. He has written the events in such detail, you will find yourself googling places and events to help you along the book. 

FALL OF GIANTS will captivate you and amaze you. There are many instances in the book where you will find yourself gasping in horror, crying in disbelief and sighing in despair. It is a book that will take you to the Battle of Somme, on a walk through London demanding for votes for women and onto the streets of Russia during the Revolution. It is a history lesson in itself and you will never want to put the book down. The book will take you from the trenches in France to the poor neighbourhoods in Russia, from London’s high society to the White House. Every page leaves you wanting more. 

Each character relates the story through their point of view and in many situations two or more characters experience the same events. This way we get to know both the sides of the story. The book follows the storyline in a beautiful manner. Every character is somehow connected to the other and there is never a dull moment as there is never any chance for the plot to fall through. 

The book puts every thing revolving around WW1 in perspective. It makes it easy to understand even though it is a work of fiction. Ken Follett has tried to include every single possible explaination regarding the historical events of the time. There are many true historical characters and most of the events are not that much of fiction.

Being almost a thousand pages long( yes you read that right) Fall of Giants is a heavy read. My copy has 852 pages to be exact and that is not including the introductory pages of the book. The initial pages list down all the characters you will come across and how each are related. This comes in handy when you forget who’s who mid-way, and who can blame you? It is an epic read. I wouldn’t recommend for novice readers though, the sheer size of the book would scare anyone new away.  

 If you love history, this book is for you. If you love the early 20th century then this book is for you. Basically, if you have a passion for the past Fall of Giants should be on your reading list.

About the Author

Ken Follett is an award winning English author. Most notably known for his works in Thriller and Historical Fiction, many of his books are bestsellers worldwide.