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The Gameshouse di Claire North
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The Gameshouse (originale 2019; edizione 2019)

di Claire North (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
1283177,390 (3.79)10
The World Fantasy Award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August presents a mesmerizing tale of a gambling house whose deadly games of chance and skill control the fate of empires. Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets. . . It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon -- every game under the sun. But those whom fortune favors 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 the scale of a continent. Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all. . .… (altro)
Utente:chilperic
Titolo:The Gameshouse
Autori:Claire North (Autore)
Info:Orbit (2019), Edition: 01, 432 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
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Etichette:science fiction, fantasy

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The Gameshouse di Claire North (2019)

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https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3675444.html

I've generally loved Claire North's novels, which all seem to involve different riffs on immortality. This is a set of three novellas, originally separately published, and I'm sorry to say it didn't work as well for me. The first one, The Serpent, is great: a young woman in Renaissance Venice becomes part of a secret game-playing fraternity, which sucks her into the high politics of the city. The Thief, set in Thailand in the 1930s, is a hunt where the protagonist is the prey. It somewhat stretched my suspension of disbelief. In the final section, The Master, the protagonists of the first two novellas become involved in a game for the future of the world with implausibly high stakes. I think my recent disappointed re-reading of Foucault's Pendulum put me in a suspicious mood regarding vast secret conspiracies. As I said, the first bit is very good. ( )
  nwhyte | May 17, 2021 |
Consisting of three novellas — The Serpent, The Thief, and The Master — this volume explores the Gameshouse, which appears at various times and places in history and invites those willing to wager more than money to compete for the subtle prizes of the higher league. In early 17th century Venice, Thene is burdened by a foolish husband and the limitations imposed on her by her sex and lineage. Yet in the Gameshouse she finds her form and is invited to compete in an initiating game in the higher league. In the higher league one’s pieces are people, with varying skills and assets, and one’s goal is to manoeuvre the particular piece one is playing to the winning point of that game. In this case, Thene is tasked to win the highest office of the city for her piece. Yet it soon becomes clear that she has been dealt a weak hand, much weaker than the three players against whom she is competing. It will take all her skill, and possibly the assistance of an outside force in the form of a man known as Silver, for Thene to achieve what she desires — Freedom.

In the second novella set in 1938 Thailand, Remy Burke has drunkenly accepted a challenge of hide and seek with Abhik Lee. This is serious hide and seek and Remy, an anglo-french man of tall stature rather stands out wherever he goes. Plus the stakes are significant — 20 years of Abhik Lee’s life versus all of Remy’s memories and experience. Mere minutes after waking from his drunken hangover, Remy is informed of the game he has accepted to play and how weak his hand is. Time to run. The chase is everything here and Remy, despite his flaws, is not without his own resources, though one, unlooked for, is the player Silver, who at a crucial moment offers him sanctuary in exchange for a debt to be paid much later.

The final story to be told is set in the present as Silver, who has been marshalling his assets over the centuries, is finally willing to challenge the mistress of the Gameshouse herself. All of the resources of the Gameshouse will be at play and the game, officially a game of chess, will be to the death. Of course this is chess with real armies, generals, bishops and pawns. It doesn’t mater how many die in the ensuing battle, the game is the thing.

Claire North delights in setting herself challenges. Here she tests herself against writing a classic set-piece, a spatially confined chase, and a global strategic struggle. I’m delighted to say that she is up to the challenge of each, though clearly it is the chase at which she excels. Indeed, much of the final novella also devolves into a chase. But that is fine because one wants to be swept along by that point, to race toward an understanding of just what the Gameshouse has been doing all these years, and especially what it means that it has stacked the deck in some games. It prompts the question, what game is the Gameshouse playing?

An exciting and stimulating read, as good as anything that Claire North has done. Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Nov 16, 2020 |
I had to waffle between 3 and 4 stars, so call this 3.5.

But WHY? It's Claire North! You've never read anything of hers that you've disliked!

Well, I didn't exactly dislike this one. The first of the three novellas was pretty raveworthy, like a Machiavellian back-stabby game of thrones for people in Venice a couple hundred years ago, making and breaking kings in the Great Game they play.

It's smart, it's almost over-the-top, and it's quite delicious for an alternate-history high-stakes secret society story.

The second, by contrast, was good for its cool setting of 30's Thailand with rather deep descriptions... But, it just didn't have the same impact OR importance that developed in the first. For, after all, the winner of THAT game became the head of the order. (The rewards were somewhat unspecified except that it's so much better than kingships, etc.) This one was okay. The rewards for playing the game are getting fantastical, now. A real fantasy story mixed with a huge number of pieces (read human resources) being used up.

I honestly didn't care that much about this one.

The third novella had its ups and downs in a modern setting with an even bigger location. Note, we go from ONLY Venice to ALL of Thailand, and now, the world.

It was *okay* until it neared the end, with resources dwindling and piling up in a truly topsy-turvy game between order and chaos, and THEN I was like.... "Okay, this is pretty damn cool."

In fact, if any of you folks have been following the author's North-Only titles, you'll see a pretty big and awesome trend that includes immortality in one sense or another. This, in my honest opinion, is probably the very best feature of her novels. Identity, immortality, and often enough, a lot of fantastic locations.

This one was in line with the rest. It just didn't have the same punch for me as any of her other novels.

Still, it's decent. Not bad, taken all together. BUT I'd say just read the first novella if I was really recommending this to anyone except the Northian Die-Hards like me. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (1 potenziale)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Claire Northautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Pompilio, Lisa MarieProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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The World Fantasy Award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August presents a mesmerizing tale of a gambling house whose deadly games of chance and skill control the fate of empires. Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets. . . It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon -- every game under the sun. But those whom fortune favors 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 the scale of a continent. Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all. . .

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