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The True Game

(Land of the True Game #1-3)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,244 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Grass, has helped redefine speculative fiction. Award winner, national bestseller, and one of the genre's most respected and acclaimed talents, she has transcended the boundaries of science fiction and fantasy with her widespread success. Available for the first time in one volume, this is the long out-of-print trilogy that launched her remarkable career: King's Blood Four ...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 512 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Ace Books
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,244 ratings  ·  68 reviews


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Mary Lynn E. Longsworth
Apr 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who want original thinking in their fantasy
Shelves: sheri-s-tepper
"The True Game" is a compilation of Sheri S. Tepper's first three novels "King's Blood Four," "Necromancer Nine," and "Wizard's Eleven," all released from 1984 through 1985, and the first part of what became a nine-novel set; the other two belonging to the "Mavin the Manyshaped" trilogy, and the "Jinian" trilogy.

I have to say that I am biased towards these novels as that purchased "King's Blood Four" back when it was first released, and at that time I was still both a young-ish reader (14-years-
...more
Chris
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most unique book series I've ever read. I read it first as a younger person when I opened the first of nine books (there are even more in side stories) and just when you think you understand where it's going or what's its point is, the world opens up a bit more, the themes and character needs and wants becomes a bit more complex and you are drawn yet deeper into an amazingly complex world. The central characters are beautifully complex and appealing. While the dangerous and evil chara ...more
Ben
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First off, this review is somewhat less than objective as this book holds a great deal of nostalgia value for me. I first read this book almost 25 years ago, shortly after reading the Chronicles of Mavin Manyshaped - which is actually a prequel and written later, and at the time it opened me up to a new style of literature and a very different brand of fantasy writing. I have re-read The True Game many times over the years, and whenever I do it is always through a certain filter which takes me b ...more
J L's Bibliomania
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I was in the mood for a re-read and so I revisited the world of Mavin Manyshaped and Jinian StarEye. The Omnibus The True Game contains 3 novels centered around Peter, who we discover partway through the book is Mavin's son. But thanks to a serendipitous discovery, he is much more than a just a shape shifter, more than just a boy coming of age.

While some of the writing is unpolished, King's Blood Four, which is Sheri S. Tepper's first published novel, showcased the creativity that keeps me comin
...more
Phoenixfalls
A really solid piece of science fantasy, impressive as a debut trilogy and showing quite a bit of the author Tepper would eventually become. The world is fascinating, both when it seems magical in the first novel and when it becomes recognizably science fiction in the second two. The set pieces are filled with wonder and a bit of horror, and the narrator does convincingly grow up over the course of the story. The supporting cast of characters includes quite a few really fascinating ones, and the ...more
Krystle
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book because I had read of her books before (Beauty) and loved it, so I thought I would give this a try. It’s her debut trilogy and for the price of one! The first novel was extremely difficult to get through. There are a huge number of names, places, and other things just thrown at you and if you’re not paying close attention you’ll get lost very quickly, which I was. But I kept reading because there was just something about that kept pushing me forward. Perhaps it was the ...more
Albert Myburgh
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I have always enjoyed Sheri S Tepper's novels immensely. She is such a master of her craft, a kind of voice I miss when I haven't read her for a while. However, 'The True Game' trilogy really stood out to me. It could be because these three books are her debut novels and it is pure genius. She really did start out her writing career with a bang.
These are utterly unique fantasy/sci-fi novels, and will easily appeal to both genres' hard-reading fans. It is complex in so many ways, with well-round
...more
Jenne
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
In a world where psychic abilities run rampant and laws are only rules of the Game that those with psi-talent play for power and advancement using living people as game pieces. A young orphan boy named Peter grows up in the schoolhouse with the children of other Gamelords learning the lists of psi-talents - telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, shape-shifting among others - and their moves in the Game while waiting for his own talent to emerge. But when he is caught in the middle of a game of powe ...more
Darlene Vendegna
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
OH. MY. GOD! I absolutely loved this book. It is one that will stay with my forever. It is part coming of age, part quest, part fantastic imagery, wonderful characters, interesting and unique world and most of all a compelling storyline. I'm almost sorry I finished it because I am loath to leave that world.
Lily
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-fantasy
What an utterly unique and intriguing high fantasy world. This is so unlike anything I've come across before and for fans of the genre this classic is well worth a look! I read this years ago but it left a very distinct impression, it is one of those rare gems that will stay with you long after you finish.
Pat MacEwen
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another book recovered from a long-buried TBR pile, this one is a trilogy from the start of Sheri Tepper's career, and a fascinating look at power in the form of in-born Talents. A lost colony that was first established to isolate and safely study a mind-reader has now had a thousand years to develop a population heavily seeded with Talents, but those gifts have been enlisted in the True Game. Now, no one remembers the reasons why, but Gaming is the law of the land, and its rules have very littl ...more
Alden
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A hero's journey; swords and sorcerers; a clever scene parodying academia (they've had X-thousand years to maintain traditions while utterly forgetting the purpose): what more could you want? Well, maybe, especially in the 3rd book, a little less people just riding along talking..? It seemed to bog down for a while. But these are early works of someone who went on to write some great SF. If you're into fantasy and SF, and find a cheap copy, give it a try. You'll be able to find it in our Little ...more
Linda
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love this author! Though this first trilogy is not as strong in structure as her later books, it wonderfully foreshadows her recurring themes of religion, feminism, a workable society and environmental concerns, among others. In this trilogy, she explores justice and law in a world that closely mirrors the situation in our own world. Sheri Tepper was a master of fantasy/science fiction.
Pierce
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I love this premise and this world. I’m going to read all the other series. I don’t think this first series is perfect, but it’s good enough to make me remember it years after my first reading and still like it enough on the second reading to hunt down all the others.
Rebecca Smucker
Peter is a young man at a magic school--but it's not just any magic school, and it's not just any world. Peter is a member of a society formed around a chess-like game called "the True Game." His school is for children of the powerful magic-users who are the higher-powered "pieces" in the game. Through betrayal by a close older friend, a teacher at the school, Peter is forced to leave the school and sent to another school, several days' journey from where he has lived his entire life. Through th ...more
Antigone
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sci-fi AND fantasy readers
Recommended to Antigone by: Joshua Lowell
I read this trilogy (this version of the novel is 3 books in one and it is the actual version I read) in a matter of days and it drug me back into the Sci-F-/Fantasy world kicking and screaming. I had read the genre during my days as a bookseller but by the time I stopped buying books with my employee's discount, the field had lost my interest..... too many books by the same people with the same ideas. But a friend (whose taste in books I liked) recommended this and it was what I needed to try s ...more
Myridian
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Sheri Tepper really is incomparable. This is a collection of her first three novels, King's Blood Four, Necromancer Nine, and Wizard's Eleven. Because King's Blood Four was the first book Tepper published, this was many people's introduction to Tepper's work. The series takes place in a world where a subset of the population are endowed with superhero-like powers. The books follow Peter through his coming of age in which he develops unprecedented powers and has to choose whether to accept this a ...more
Leslie
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
3 stars. This earlier trilogy by Tepper features some of the same themes she developed in her later books, especially that of justice as opposed to obeying the rules (laws). She shows the reader that distinction clearly without preaching; the philosophy never gets in the way of the story. On the surface, this is a fairly standard fantasy novel with the epic struggle between

Although human nature yearns for rules and procedures, it also consistently bends/twists/breaks those rules for personal gai
...more
Lissa
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I first came across these books as a teenager when I read "Dervish Daughter", the middle book of third trilogy. I was entranced by the world and Sheri S. Tepper's imagination.

In The True Game, we get a world very much ruled by the caste system. Pawns are not only 'untalented', but they are also disposable, just like in any game of chess. Gamesmen children are often raised in schools away from their parents, and, to many, the relationship with the father borders on nonexistent.

We follow Peter as
...more
Graham Crawford
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is yet another shuffling of High Fantasy tropes. I was able to predict all the outcomes as soon as they were hinted at. The writing is competent and nothing too objectionable. Most of my objections are about problems with the genre - so I'll give this book a get out of gaol card. It will probably appeal to young adult readers who haven't read at lot of this material. Hey - I remember a time when I was reading everything by Brooks and Eddings ... even those TSR Dragonlance calandar people (w ...more
Katherine Harbour
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The boy-becomes-a-powerful-wizard story is a standard one, but, narrated from the p.o.v. of Peter, the teenage protagonist, The True Game is far from generic. Set in a land of magic with a complex magical hierarchy,the story concerns Peter, an orphan attending a school of magic. When he's betrayed by a friend and lover, he's forced to flee for his life. Each power in the land of the True Game has its name and place. Dragon, Necromancer, Seer, Tragamor, Sorcerer and so on. Peter is soon traveling ...more
Ivan
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
I really liked this story, though she has a really interesting, unique way of writing that sometimes I liked and sometimes I felt was hard to follow. It's almost told like a fable. If I didn't know better I'd think that she was a British author w/out the letter U thrown into every other word! :o)
The story is incredibly original however and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.
I bought this book because I read the Jinian books years and years ago and I was lost in a lot of it because I hadn'
...more
Nikki Dorakis
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I begin?
This was the first book I ever read by Sheri S, Tepper.

Set in a fictiona land the who story is based around chess. The plot is complex and compelling. I could not put the book down - and when I did I had to go back and read some more.

The characters are solid and well thought out. I hated Mandar from the start and it quikly becomes apparent that the man is a user (and abuser) of his charges.

The Main character is a fascinating invention - and his journey takes him through the twi
...more
Nicole
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I can't say anything beyond you must read Sheri Tepper. Seirously, if you haven't, go pick up one of her books. It doesn't appear to matter which one you choose.

This is not my favorite one of her's, that honor so far belongs to Grass, but this was still an absorbing and adroitly written trilogy. This being her first series I don't know what I was expecting, that it would be not as well written or, I don't know, an elementary beginning, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth. She has a w
...more
Sammy
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kenneth
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've been a big fan of Sheri S. Tepper for a long time, but I had never read her first series until I found this re-issue collection. One of the great things about it is that you think it's just a fantasy story and then... well I don't want to spoil it. Definitely worth reading whether you are familiar with Tepper or not. My only regret is that the other books she wrote in this world are out of print and nearly impossible to get these days. I would love to read the rest.
Pamela Lloyd
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I love Tepper's True Game series. I find the world-building especially interesting, and I enjoy the stories and characters. While I enjoy much of Tepper's later work, in general, I find it too didactic.

I recently re-read Wizard's Eleven, although in a standalone paperback version, rather than this compilation, and enjoyed it very much. I love the way the True Game books are science fiction, but of a wonderfully fantastical nature.
Drini Cami
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was okay, and it seems like a great start for Tepper, but it gets tiring very quickly. The first two books were quite bad, with shallow characters, and this odd sort of foreshadowing which just made you want to quite reading and put the book down. The third book was the best, where the characters gained much more depth, and the foreshadowing was actually interesting. As said, a promising start, but I think this is the last I read of Tepper.
KateKing58
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have just learned of the author's death, and am feeling inspired to look at her catalogue and identify those books that I have read, and those I would like to read.

I love the world of the True Game, with its machiavellian politics and very human characters. The series ends with a diminution of the magic in that world, which feels like a shame for the powerful and a blessing for the powerless!
Cynthia Yates
May 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sheri Tepper is a real trip! Her way of twisting, turning, and incorporating way-out themes is amazing. She introduces the weirdest things into her books, yet does so very effectively. The whole 'life based on a game' is an odd premise, yet amazingly true in many ways. Her characters are very well developed, and the situations Mavin's son ends up in are really interesting and entertaining.
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Sheri Stewart Tepper was a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she was particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to G
...more

Other books in the series

Land of the True Game (3 books)
  • King's Blood Four (Land of the True Game, #1)
  • Necromancer Nine (Land of the True Game, #2)
  • Wizard's Eleven (Land of the True Game, #3)
“...in that look was such love and uncritical adoration as a god might instill into a new create. "Except, how boring at last," he thought. "To have one always, always adoring one. But perhaps gods do not get bored...” 5 likes
“For it would be only for a time. Until what he knew and thought became no longer relevant or necessary and was forgotten. But that was the same with all of us. We were only what we were for a time, at that time. Then our own silver began to mix with the tin of our future to change us. I knew this to be so and grieved for Windlow while I grieved for me. In time I would not be this Peter, even as I now was not the peter of two years ago.... Yet that Peter was not lost.” 2 likes
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