From Claire North comes an audio exclusive. For the first time, all three novellas have been released as one edition, set in the ingenious and thrilling world of the Gameshouse.
Novella one: The Serpent. In 17th-century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse. There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun. But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league...a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide-and-seek takes place on a scale as big as the British Isles. Not everyone proves worthy of competing in the higher league. But one woman who is about to play may just exceed everyone's expectations.Though she must always remember: the higher the stakes, the more deadly the rules....
Novella two: The Thief. In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand - and the seeker will use any means possible to hunt down his quarry - be it police, government, strangers or even spies....
Novella three: The Master. The Gameshouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of chess, backgammon - every game under the sun. But a select few who are picked to compete in the higher league know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings...And now, the ultimate player is about to step forward.
I have listened to many audiobooks in the last few years, but must say this is truly outstanding,. Only bad eyesight and laziness keeps me from gushing on at length in praise of this audiobook. The intelligence, breath, performance… truly fascinating and enthralling piece of work.Whether one enjoys action romance philosophy psychology history or politics, this book will satisfy, thrill and enlighten. Cannot heap enough praise .
I found this book completely mesmerizing. Wonderfully performed and so well written. Clair North is a writer I will continue to follow, I have enjoyed all her books so far
The three novellas of The Gameshouse form a complete story, so there's no need to look for the main book or some such. The concept of a city, a country or the whole world being the setting for a game with very real consequences isn't entirely new, but the author doesn't go the whole Risk route; instead, she focuses on the characters who play or are drawn into the games that are being fought. I say "fought" because there's nothing playful about this.
The writing is very solid and it's obvious that the author researched the time periods and places of her novellas at least enough to draw a compelling picture without going into overmuch detail. The characters are interesting and have unique agendas instead of stumbling helplessly through the plot, even if that agenda at times is simply to survive until the next day. The only downside is that each plot may hold its surprises, but is ultimately rather easy to predict. The ending does make up for some of that, yet it did take away some of the enjoyment.
Peter Kenny's narration, on the other hand, is a joy to experience. His female voices are refreshingly feminine without sounding comically overdone, his accents are consistent and his characters are easy to distinguish. I'd gladly recommend him to anyone.
On the whole, The Gameshouse is a nice distraction on those days when you need one.
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