Book Preview: The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

The Tournament Book CoverI have to be honest. I haven’t come across many ‘well known’ Aussie authors? Or have I – I’m not entirely sure. Of course, in the past year and a half, I’ve awarded three 5 star reviews to Dianne Gray and Dionne Lister, who are both from down under, but they are more indie authors. When I read about Matthew Reilly’s latest offering however, I thought maybe things are about to change.

I have ‘heard’ of Matthew Reilly though. In fact I own one of his books! Seven Ancient Wonders, but I’m almost embarrassed to admit, I haven’t read it yet. In fact, according to some other websites, Matthew Reilly actually started off as a self-published author, buying 1,000 copies of his own book and distributed it around Sydney bookshops, where fate took over and it landed in a publishers lap.

I grew up fascinated by the Tudor period. That and Ancient Civilisations took my interest out of school and into the library, where I read anything I could get my hands on. Well, Matthew Reilly’s upcoming novel The Tournament features the infamous Queen Elizabeth herself as she ventures across the water to attend a chess tournament. Now chess may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it were, but here’s the blurb:

England, 1546. A young Princess Elizabeth is surrounded by uncertainty. She is not currently in line for the throne, but remains a threat to her older sister and brother.

In the midst of this fevered atmosphere comes an unprecedented invitation from the Sultan in Constantinople. He seeks to assemble the finest chess players from the whole civilised world and pit them against each other.

Roger Ascham, Elizabeth’s teacher and mentor in the art of power and politics, is determined to keep her out of harm’s way and resolves to take Elizabeth with him when he travels to the glittering Ottoman capital for the tournament.

But once there, the two find more danger than they left behind. There’s a killer on the loose and a Catholic cardinal has already been found mutilated. Ascham is asked by the Sultan to investigate the crime. But as he and Elizabeth delve deeper, they find dark secrets, horrible crimes and unheard-of depravity. Things that mark the young princess for life and define the queen she will become.

To me, this sounds fantastic. Of course it’s complete fiction, but that doesn’t stop my Tudor sense from tingling. Regular visitors to my blog will know that I’m a huge fan of Deborah Harkness, who in her second novel, Shadow of Night, the same Queen appears again.

Matthew Reilly, however, is more of a Historical Thriller writer, a genre I have a guilty pleasure for. I’m hoping that this book is Dan Brown meets Laurence O’Bryan. Although being Fiction, I bet the author has done a ton of research into Elizabeth’s younger life and has portrayed the famous Queen brilliantly, as there is bound to be some of Reilly’s poetic licence thrown in for good measure. This is one title I’m eagerly awaiting.

About Matthew Reilly:

Matthew Reilly wrote his first book, Contest, in 1994 whilst attending the University of Matthew ReillyNew South Wales. It was rejected by every major publishing company.
This caused Reilly to self-publish 1,000 copies using money borrowed from his family.

Reilly went to a bookstore in Sydney and asked if he could place the copies on one of their book shelves. They accepted the offer. Very shortly after, the books had sold out and the owner of the bookstore called Reilly to order more books.

One copy was read by Pan Macmillan, who immediately signed Reilly up to write Ice Station, which became an international bestseller.

Since then, he has been published in over fifteen countries, including Norway, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, Japan and China.

Reilly’s main influences include Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and possibly Art Bell.

The Tournament is already available in Australia, but can also be bought or pre-ordered in Hardback from:


It is also available in eBook from:



Matthew Reilly’s Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


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