Review: The Tournament by Matthew Reilly
Publication date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
About the book:
The year is 1546.
Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities.
Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other.
We follow the English delegation, selected by King Henry VIII himself, to the glittering city of Constantinople, where the most amazing tournament ever staged will take place.
But when the stakes are this high, not everyone plays fair, and for our team of plucky English heroes, winning may not be the primary goal. As a series of barbaric murders take place, a more immediate goal might simply be staying alive…
I had only recently realized I missed this book and The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly and since I love his other books I had to rectify this. Like The Great Zoo of China this book felt very different from his other books. In the case of The Tournament I don’t feel like he quite pulled it off. This was a historical fiction book and therefore was missing a lot of the fantastical explosions and fire fights that are present in his other books. I enjoy a good historical fiction read so that wasn’t an immediate turn off but I didn’t feel like Reilly pulled off a strong historical story. There were little things here and there that just didn’t feel right and didn’t draw me in.
I really enjoyed Ascam’s character though some of his investigative deductions seemed quite a stretch even for someone as brilliant as he was supposed to be. Sadly he was the only character I really felt a connection with. It would have been nice to see more development of side characters like Giles and Elsie. Even Bess as the main character didn’t truly capture my heart. Yes, she’s central to everything going on but it really felt like she was just being swept along vs carrying the story.
The story itself wasn’t bad but was missing the zing of his other books and while it was interesting it wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down.