Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tournament” as Want to Read:
The Tournament
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Tournament

(Tournament #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  7,443 ratings  ·  848 reviews
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 fol
Hardcover, 393 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Pan MacMillan Australia (first published November 7th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tournament, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tournament

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,443 ratings  ·  848 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Tournament
Jack Heath
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a teenager, my brother hated To Kill A Mockingbird but adored Matthew Reilly novels. This is interesting, because when you strip away the hovering cars, the doomsday devices and the maghooks, all Reilly’s books are a version of Harper Lee’s classic tale: one wise, kind man, surrounded by savagery and corruption, fights to protect the innocent.

His new hero, Roger Ascham, resembles Atticus Finch even more than usual. Ascham is a gentle, intelligent schoolmaster who leads Scout – I mean, teenage
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
In November of last year, I attended a local Dymocks Books event where Matthew Reilly was interviewed, promoting his new book, The Four Legendary Kingdoms. I was surprised by how enthralled I was by Matthew Reilly, as I had not read any of his books prior to the event and in general, the genres he tends to write for do not appeal to me. However, one audience member at this event asked Reilly about one his books written in 2011, The Tournament. This question related to whether Reilly was going to ...more
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I know a lot of people are going to consider this one of Matthew Reilly's weaker books, but I think it's one of his strongest.

With a far slower pace than what we can normally expect from a Reilly. The Tournament is no less gripping or thrilling than anything else Reilly has ever written.
Accurate historical details and a true murder mystery featuring some beautiful and horrific descriptions, this is a properly thrilling read.

The young Princess Elizabeth views the action with an innocent eye and w
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really felt a spectator throughout the whole story and I wasn't bored which I easily am!
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No guns. No electricity or even any form of advanced technology. No explosions. No high-octane action scenes. If someone told me Matthew Reilly had written a book like this I would have told them they were crazy. Surely he wouldn’t write a novel without some of the defining traits of his previous work? And yet, he has, and pulls it off masterfully.

The Tournament, set in the 1500s, is a historical thriller; a murder mystery novel that also chronicles a defining, albeit, fictional moment in Queen
The Tournament by Matthew Reilly
Published 2015(US), Gallery
Stars: ★★★★☆
Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry

Matthew Reilly is really good at thrillers. Like, super fun, crazy explosions, fast pace, unbelievable yet unputdownable thrillers. But then I attempted to read Troll Mountain, his foray into fantasy. No thanks. Not so good. So when I saw that Reilly had branched out into historical fiction and mystery, I was a little concerned... but since I love Reilly's work (other than Troll Mountai
Amy Norris
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I was given a copy of this book to read without a cover I never would have guessed this was written by Matthew Reilly. He has a very distinctive style of story and this is so very different but in a good way. If I had to describe it, I would say it is almost like a Sherlock Holmes-style narrative set in 1546 Constantinople at a chess tournament where a teenage Elizabeth the first plays the 'Watson' character. Also, throw in a lot of history and politics. I know a chess tournament may sound a ...more
Masrur Khan
Jun 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is another example of how authors misuse their creative freedom to tarnish a great historical figure's image in the name of fiction. Matthew Reilly had chosen to capitalize on the popular anti-Muslim sentiment in the western world and produced a work of fiction to reduce one of the greatest rulers of Islamic Ottoman Empire, Suleiman The Magnificent to a cheater and a murderer. Reilly has cleverly implanted in multiple places how cursed the city of Constantinople was, whereas in reality it w ...more
Graham Crawford
A friend slipped this one to me without it's dust cover - so I had no idea what i was getting into. By page 100 it was obviously brazen silliness - Young Elizabeth I playing Nancy Drew/Dr Watson in the harems of 16th Century Constantinople. I'm ashamed to say I finished it in one sitting - like scoffing a box or Turkish delights after midnight (I had to hide the evidence!!)

I laughed a lot - probably for all the wrong reasons - but I don't think this writer would care as long as you bought his bo
Tim The Enchanter
Matthew Reilly Steps out of the Box - 3.5 Stars

I am generally quite confident in my rating of book. I start formulating a rating halfway through. In this case, I vacillated greatly as I was reading this book and, ultimately, gave it a rating on the high end. In my rating system, three stars are average books that I neither hate nor love and usually feel indifference. If anything, The Tournament does not leave you feeling indifferent.

If, like me, you are a fan of Reilly's non stop action thri
Glenn T. Ryan
I admit it, It breaks my heart to give Rielly two stars. I have read everything he has written thus far, and I was hoping that The Tournament was something of a sequel to Contest. But it isn’t an intergalactic killing game that features here. Instead, it’s chess. That’s fine with me; I like chess. There is sex in this book too. Again, I’m good with that. What lets this book down, as far as historical fiction goes, is that it is boring.
The story follows Elizabeth the 1st (Bess) to Constantinople,
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: character, story, reread
This may initially seem a really different area for Matthew Reilly to explore, however, he has often used historical research in interesting ways. This is pacy, entertaining and at times very bleak story telling.
Carla Schodde
Dec 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a history enthusiast and a Matthew Reilly fan I'm very disappointed in this mediocre book. Matthew Reilly had successfully written novels set deep in historical times before, and generally they were a lot more fun to read than this. Because this book has very few fight scenes compared to Matt Reilly's previous books, all the faults which were but minor details in his other books became gaping chasms in this one.

In short, this is a Matthew Reilly book without chase scenes, count downs, explosi
Ben Lee
I have not read Matthew Reilly's books before. I picked this one up because it looked different to his usual techno-thrillers, and because I'm partial to historical fiction anyway.

This is a good airport novel. I think, however, that Reilly might have been aiming for loftier heights, and didn't quite make it.

On its surface, the novel is a pretty standard whodunit. Set against the backdrop of an international chess tournament in Constantinople, esteemed teacher and investigator, Englishman Roger A
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes all you need is an entertaining easy read, that amuses and compels you by turn, and I think that is what The Tournament achieves in spades! This is a romp in the truest sense of the word, with its easy style, interesting manipulations of historical figures, and more than a touch of sauce about it. Reilly creates an imaginary world filled with richness, colour and vitality, centring on a chess tournament held in the realm of Constantinople, and believe me, I saw the word ‘chess’ in the ...more
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tournament by Matthew Reilly is a departure from his normal thrill filled and action packed adventures. Instead Reilly has taken a step back and written a historical mystery that will surprise and delight his fans as well as stake his claim as more than a shoot them up writer. The Tournament is sleek and smart and moves at such a smooth pace that the events will literally surprise you as they unfold. At the center of this tale is a very young Princess Elizabeth of England.

"...How I came to b
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant change of setting from Matthew Reilly! Really enjoyed the medieval murder mystery (I love the Name of the Rose too) and even though I'm sure an historian might cringe at some of the historical largesse taken by the author it was rollicking fun as Reilly's books often are. Perhaps there was a little more moralising than I needed (promiscuous girls get their comeuppance, fanaticism not religion is the true enemy) but overall a fast-paced, thrilling, weekend read that will appeal to Reill ...more
Moshe Mikanovsky
What a wonderful book to complete my 2016 challenge! I enjoyed it so much that I didn't notice how time flew by while listening to it (mostly at the gym on the treadmill, so that's a great thing!)
Lucy Gaskell is such a talented narrator, she brings Queen Elizabeth I to life, with colorful characters, murders mysteries, enchanting settings and some games of Chess. Some passages felt like talking to the modern audience, and/or showing in hindsight how QE the I learned her life lessons for the futu
J.F. Penn
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
A very different book for Matt Reilly, more in the vein of The Name of the Rose. The young Princess Elizabeth I accompanies her tutor to a chess tournament in Constantinople, where a series of murders draw them into the investigation. Sexual politics, corruption and vice dominate the plot, illuminating the formation of the young Queen. Not what I was expecting, but an enjoyable historical mystery
Eunice Donovan
I really enjoyed the historical crime aspect of this novel. And I was impressed by the amount of research that seemed to be done to support the story. I was less impressed with the sex scenes which seemed rather unnecessary to the rest of the plot. This is my introduction to Matthew Reilly, though, and I will be seeking out others of his work. Overall, a good read.
There were about 6 or 7 people killed throughout and more than a few sexual crimes but the book was so lacking in tension or challenges to the main characters that I couldn't even bother.

I picked up this book at the exciting premise of a best-selling author I've never read before, and a mystery set in 16th century Constantinopole. The story coasted along like a ride on the gondola or the London Eye: you get to experience some pretty nice scenery but don't expect any gasps of wonder or enchantmen
May 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remember really enjoying Ice Station and Contest when I read them in my younger years. They were so full of action and adventure, books that took me on a great ride. I was expecting something similar with The Tournament, but I was sorely disappointed.

I found this to be a very underwhelming read. I was never really caught up in the story, I actually became quite bored with it at times. The development of the murder mystery is pretty ridiculous, and not a fun kind of ridiculous, more of a 'real
This is nothing like Matthew Reilly's other books and like all the rest, I absolutely loved it. This guy genre hops like it's a morning stroll in the park. From a creepy and nerve wracking alien match to the death, to a modern action packed search for the seven wonders of the ancient world, to a murder mystery surrounding none other than Queen Elizabeth I: Matthew Reilly knows how to deliver some captivating fiction.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was fun, but with more than a hint of intelligence in it. Matthew Reilly did his research and evidently maintains his knack for making simple yet intriguing characters. I loved the chess theme as well as the Turkish setting - anyone who's looking for an adventure in Constantinople should look here first. 4.25/5 stars.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Matthew Reilly is one of my favorite thriller writers; he's what one would refer to as brain candy. His books are filled with adorable, heroic characters, over-the-top & drawn-out action sequences and lastly memorable plots. His Shane Schofield series established his name and signature writing style. His second book "Temple" was a variant in his writing style that it featured a dual storyline and the second plotline was placed in the latter hal
Karen McMillan
Set in 1546, this is the fictional story of Queen Eliabeth I as a thirteen-year-old girl, long before she became queen, who goes on a journey with an English delegation to the glittering city of Constantinople. Suleimann the Magnificent, the feared Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, has issued an invitation to a chess tournament to every king in Europe.

The English delegation is led by Bess’s teacher, Roger Ascham, and his friend Mr Giles is selected as the best English chess player. But what starts o
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read anything by this author before, but this book has changed my mind! I really enjoyed the plot, and the fact it was based on real people and an event that it said to have happened, made it a very enjoyable read. I really liked Ascham's character, in fact I wanted to read more books featuring him! The sex scenes were not to my liking, but I suppose they were true to what happened in that time period. The twists and turns were good too, and I didn't manage to work out what really happ ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This is Reilly's masterpiece. I had no idea he could write like this and I am so glad I read this one. It was an incredibly rich story, and his penchant for visiting the places he writes about really shines through in this book. The depth of research is evident as well, but what I truly love are those trademark flourishes of genuine Matthew Reilly style peppered from page to page from beginning to end.
This book was one of few I will say was a privilege to read. Bravo Mr Reilly.
Tracy Smyth
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - I really enjoyed this book. Great story
D. A.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly had to slam this book shut the moment I realised Matthew Reilly was again writing nonsensical Muslim characters using nothing but popular tropes as his fact base. We really live in this man’s head rent free!! Imagine I opened a random page and the main character was lamenting men controlling women by forcing them to wear the hijab. Another page and they’re debating the shari’ah with no context whatsoever. Matthew if you’re reading this PLEASE STOP, your books stink of orientalism and ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Teen Aged Girl's Sexuality 2 20 Jan 21, 2016 05:55PM  
I was really torn over this one 7 57 Oct 10, 2014 08:38PM  
Something Old, So...: September 2014 - The Tournament by Matthew Reilly 3 5 Oct 03, 2014 03:57PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kingdom of Darkness (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase, #10)
  • The Revelation Code (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase, #11)
  • The Valhalla Prophecy (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase, #9)
  • The Reluctant Mage (Fisherman's Children, #2)
  • Mawson: And the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen
  • The Secret Agent And Other Spy Kids
  • The Executioner's Daughter (The Executioner's Daughter, #1)
  • The Pretender’s Gold
  • Sunset Ridge
  • EROTICA: HARD MENAGE - Explicit Short Sex Stories For Women
  • Undercover (Kensy and Max, #3)
  • Out of Sight (Kensy and Max, #4)
  • God's Callgirl
  • The Running Man
  • Young Dark Emu
  • Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince: (Piano Solo)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization
  • The Prodigal Mage (Fisherman's Children, #1)
See similar books…
Born in Sydney in 1974, Matthew Reilly was not always a big fan of reading. It was only after he read To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies in Year 10 that he realised reading could transport you to another world. Following this revelation, Matthew soon began creating stories of his own and set about writing his first novel, Contest, at the age of 19 while still at university studying law.


Related Articles

We asked Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, and journalist-turned-crime novelist Laura...
97 likes · 47 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“There’s an Oriental saying I like: “If aggression meets empty space it tends to defeat itself.” 13 likes
“I snorted. ‘For a great sultan who is lord and ruler of all that he surveys, his English is lamentably poor. He can’t even spell England properly.’
Still holding the note, Mr Ascham looked up at me. ‘Is that so? Tell me, Bess, do you speak his language? Any Arabic or Turkish-Arabic?’
‘You know that I do not.’
‘Then however lamentable his English may be, he still speaks your language while you cannot speak his. To me, this gives him a considerable advantage over you. Always pause before you criticise, and never unduly criticise one who has made an effort at something you yourself have not even attempted.”
More quotes…