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The Gameshouse

The Serpent, The Thief and The Master
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Series: Gameshouse, Book 1-3
Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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Summary

From the author of the word-of-mouth phenomenon The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August comes a mesmerising tale of a mystical 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 though chess, backgammon - every game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league...where the games played are of politics and nations, of economics and kings. It is a contest where Capture the Castle involves real castles and 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....

From Claire North, author of word-of-mouth best-seller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and one of the most original new voices in modern fiction, comes the mesmerising tale of the Gameshouse, where games of chance and skill control the fate of empires.

Originally published as three digital-only instalments: The Serpent, The Thief and The Master.

©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)

"North's talent shines out." (Sunday Times)

What members say

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this 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.

5 people found this 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 people found this 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 people found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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Another tour-de-force.

This series of novellas is another tour-de-force from Claire North. I found myself rewinding several times as I, perhaps like a Player in the Gameshouse itself, fought to keep on top of the complexities of the labyrinthine plot and the myriad locations.

Starting off as a seemingly simple piece of historical fiction, the novellas tantalisingly unwind to reveal something much bigger. The whole world becomes the canvas of a game to end all games.

The narration is spot-on, Peter Kenny manages accents for all kinds of nationalities and keeps up a relentless pace.

Having listened to all 3 of Claire North's audiobooks I'm convinced she is an immortal, time-travelling character from one of her own novels. No wonder she uses a pseudonym! How else can somebody so young be so seemingly well-traveled, knowledgeable and smart? Her prose convinces that she's intimate with all the places she evokes so effortlessly. Speaking as a mere Piece in her game, I can't wait to hear what's next...

3 people found this 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

4 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 27-06-19

what a great story

this book had me hooked the entire time. i would recomend this to anyone. read this

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  • Renee Phoenix
  • 09-10-18

Excellent! North and Kenny are perfect.

My favorite author after Iain Banks and Paolo Bacigalupi. Engaging story, excellent narration, just a wonderful book to listen to. Now I'm out of Claire North novels... frustrating!

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  • Huzaifah
  • 03-12-18

Sterling narration

Even reading the book would not be as enjoyable since Peter Kenny’s narration is so outstanding. Absolute class and really adds to what is a very well crafted tale.