Anatomy of a Book: The Tournament, by Matthew Reilly

17611937For the next two days, my queen spoke and I listened. (p.7)

Notice this.

She recounted to me an event early in her life when, during the autumn of 1546 at a time when Hertfordshire was gripped by a sudden bout of plague, Roger Ascham took her away from Hatfield House for a period of three months. (p.7)

Do you see?

And so I make this my task, my final task on her behalf, to commit to writing her exact words and recount to you, dear reader, the marvellous things – the terrible things, the terrifying things – she beheld over the course of that secret journey in 1546. (p.9)

Clear writing. Easy to read. Straight forward narrative. This is a secret to success. While complicated prose is exalted by learned scholars, it is the clear and direct language of the popular author that readers want. From romantic-comedies to action/murder-histories such as this, the used of clear language is as important in writing as knowing the basics of storytelling.

Changing Status:

The story uses many real characters, so here we have the future great Queen Elizabeth I involved in murder and foul deeds for the first time in her life. Some of her convictions will be formed.

High Stakes:

Honour and lives can be lost.

Page Turner:

The direct language means events unfold quickly. Also, chapters abruptly end at serious moments of jeopardy from which the following chapter continues directly from.

Believable Characters:

Much of the places and characters are taken from history. This adds accuracy and believability, yet the story is fiction and in much fanciful.


There are many points of historical reference, especially regarding chess. This is interesting.


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