B.B. Griffith may have been inspired by the games of the coliseum when he wrote this trilogy, or perhaps medieval games, like jousting. The Tournament itself is a secret game for multi-millionaires/billionaires to gamble their vast fortunes, make business deals, and recently, to settle political disputes. It seems to be a game for the 1%, where they can enjoy a little high stakes gambling, without having to leave the comforts of their own mansions. Yes, it’s online, but through secure channels.
The story, though, is really about the players, some who are rough criminals, and some who are just in the right place to make the cut. The players are modern day gunslingers, without the blood and guts. Using a specially crafted bullet called a diode, they can shoot each other, suffer the pain of getting hit by a bullet, without dying. The players hit will eventually go into a coma, from which the Tournament doctors can revive them.
The first novel introduces us to the game, and the idea that the diode is not as safe as they claim, with one of the lead designers dying after getting hit by a diode. This results in an investigation that threatens to reveal the truth of the Tournament to the public.
Well written action scenes put you in the middle of the actions, whether you find yourself in the middle of a lunatic spraying “diodes” all around a nightclub, or cool hands using surgical precision to take out their targets. The novels follow the 8 teams as they try to win the latest round of the tournament, the investigation of the death of the scientist who helped develop the diode, which threatens to expose the Tournament, as well as conflict from within some of the teams.
The three novels include murder, mayhem, and misguided attempts to change and control the tournament. The action is well paced, and the intrigue is, well, intriguing! I loved the books, I love the way the players work together and against each other, how the teams collide in some very interesting locations.
If I were to have to mention one drawback, it’s that the three books really have to be read together, reading one without the other may find you missing key information, and stopping in the middle will leave you missing a proper resolution. It’s not one of those series where each story is integral to itself, they are related too much to each other. Which is probably a plus for the author, the first book was a freebie, and was so good I had to purchase the next two, and it was well worth it!