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Summary

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.

©2015 Claire North (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Utterly readable, utterly believable and compelling...one of the fiction highlights of the decade." (Judy Finnigan on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)
"Beautiful and gripping." ( Guardian on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent read, excellently read

I love Claire North's books and I love Peter Kenny's narration. If I was rich I would walk through the world and visit all the places brought out in this book, but as I'm not I feel enriched by the journey these two have taken me on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • bill
  • Lowestoft, United Kingdom
  • 18-03-16

The author can do no wrong.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Gameshouse to be better than the print version?

I have not had access to the print version but would say it would really have to go some to measure up to this team.

What other book might you compare The Gameshouse to, and why?

The Touch, and the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August are fascinating and rich in content, and were two of the reasons I purchased this novel.

Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favourite?

I have no favourite because the plot was about the game rather than the characters.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and I wanted it to be longer.

Any additional comments?

Author and narrator are a match made in some editorial paradise.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Riverting listen

What did you like most about The Gameshouse?

I enjoyed listening to all 3 books individually and how they intertwined with one another.

What did you like best about this story?

The character development - you felt like you were privy to the game, and the characters developed in a way that you only saw what was relevant to the game at that time

What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

I thought Peter Kenny was wonderful - he has a captivating voice and he made each character sound/feel different without being cheesy

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Its all just a game!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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An amazing story that is wonderfully read!

Claire North has a knack for uncanny plotlines but the execution is superb. The story had me gripped throughout and even though there are a lot of things happening, it does leave you wanting for more, in a good way.
The idea of the Gameshouse is brilliant, and without giving any spoilers, it did have me thinking if I myself would enter it if I ever saw a door with a lion's head.
Peter Kenny does a wonderful job at the narration too making the whole experience a delightful one.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Wow. Claire North does it again.

What a book. Just like her previous novels I found her plot drove me on and couldn't stop listening. Also massive respect to the beautiful reading by Peter Kenny.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Just excellent!

I'm a fan of Claire North's writing in general, but I think these interrelated novellas are her best work so far. Tightly written, engrossing, thrilling, each novella can stand on its own, but the plot arc also carries satisfyingly across from the start of the first to the end of the third.
Special mention for Peter Kenny's excellent performance, perfectly matching the slightly mystical, slightly weird tone of North's writing. He gets the delivery dead right, capturing the all-powerful but troubled characters of the games players as they compete with each other, using the world as their board and humanity as their pieces.
I don't really understand why this is audiobook/download only, but you lose nothing by listening rather than reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entralling from start to finish

Loved all of it. Couldn't decide if Thai accents were appropriate in book two though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

A well structured narrative from ages past to more modern times. A rich thread running through it. Who is the Games master, what lies behind those doors and what are you willing to sacrifice to see. The story pulls you along, coupled with the excellent narration, you'll finish it wanting more!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Reminiscent of Iain M Banks

With Peter Kenny reading this, I could have believed that this was an Iain M Banks book, if I didn't know otherwise. High praise.

As with Claire North's other titles, the central premise is imaginative and thought provoking (if a little less original than 15 Lives...). And as with those previous books, the journey she takes you on is fascinatingly detailed.

Like Banks, this book is more about the journey than the destination. Don't expect every detail to be relevant to some complex plot that is wrapped up neatly at the end, and don't expect all of your questions to be answered.

But that's the beauty of books like this.... trying to piece together which events are key and which are just interesting and beautifully described sidenotes on the way.

The only negative? Slightly too much repetition in places, a common trait in North's books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeminar
  • Watford, Herts, UK
  • 09-09-16

Stunning trilogy

The Gameshouse is a wierd place, but between the three stories, a strange group runs the world. The three stories are novellas in their own right, but with a few common threads running through them.
Having just finished the trilogy, I want to go back, as I now realise that The Serpent was the framing for The Master.
A definite worthwhile read, possibly not as gripping as 15 lives, but still stunning.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Petter
  • 23-11-17

Wonderful

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