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The Serpent (The Gameshouse, #1)
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October 2016: Historical Fiction > The Serpent - Claire North (4 1/2 stars)

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message 1: by Cora (last edited Oct 17, 2016 06:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cora (corareading) | 1408 comments The Serpent - Claire North

4 1/2 stars (rounded up to 5)

This is a fantasy novella set in 17th century Venice, Italy. Although it is primarily a fantasy novel, it is tagged historical fiction. I believe it fits because aside from the magical properties of the gameshouse, the historical setting is accurately presented. Thene is a young woman in an unhappy marraige. Her husband forces her to accompany him to a new Gameshouse in town where he tortures her by making her witness his gambling and debauchery. After he passes out drunk, she begins playing the games and over time she becomes a formidable player. One day, she is invited to play a game to win a spot in the higher level of the house. In this higher level, they are not playing cards or board games, the world is their board. They are not gambling for money, but for bigger stakes such as years on their lives (good players can win enough years to be virtually immortal), memories, etc. Thene is given a "piece", a Venetian politician who wants to be the Doge. To win, her player must get the position rather than the "pieces" given to the other potential members.

This was a very unique book. I like the setting of the story and found Thene to be an interesting character. The concept is very intriguing to me and I liked trying to play along. It was a little bit like watching a reality TV show. The writing style will not appeal to everyone, but I found that the unidentified narrator added to the mystery of the novella. It seemed like a hint to more layers to the story beyond the game being played in this book. I look forward to reading the others in the series to see how it develops.

message 2: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5069 comments This sounds interesting!

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