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King's Blood Four by Sheri S. Tepper
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The storyline was something very different for me. The basic plot is that life is simply a chess match. Those that I would consider "noblemen" were called Gamesmen and had specific powers related to their position in The Game. The peasant-type characters were called Pawns and were subject to the will of the Gamesmen and could be sacrificed for the benefit of the play if necessary.

The protagonist, Peter, is a 15 year-old boy who's powers are just beginning to manifest due to the dire circumstances he finds himself in.

This book is more fantasy than science fiction and I'm not sure that it strictly meets the guidelines of the SF reading challenge but it was a recommendation and I went with it. The writing is well-done and the story is interesting and different. ( )
  bhabeck | Mar 6, 2016 |
I read this book several times & liked it, but really wanted to find the rest of the series. I did finally find them & it was interesting. The second trilogy was a disappointment, though.

There are an interesting set of powers, social groups & areas that are based on chess. The plot is pretty standard, but the window dressing is fairly unique & well done. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
Very interesting concept for a society and fun to read. ( )
  Corillan_ap_Zeirac | Jun 17, 2009 |
Compelling characters, a twisty plot that changes shape when you think you've got it pegged down, a novel concept of magic, spare but evocative writing—this is a very good fantasy tale.

This, Necromancer Nine and Wizard's Eleven form a trilogy that is fairly complete in itself, though the ending did leave some answers to questions a bit vague. There is a follow-on trilogy consisting of Jinian Footseer, Dervish Daughter and Jinian Star-eye that tells the story from the viewpoint of another character, Jinian. It overlaps the latter half of the True Game books in time, often recounting the same events with a completely different perspective and meaning, and then carries the story to a more complete conclusion.

There is a third trilogy...published second...which is chronologically first, telling the story of Peter's mother: The Song of Mavin Manyshaped, The Flight of Mavin Manyshaped and The Search of Mavin Manyshaped. Some say these must be read between the True Game and the Jinian series; I did not find this to be true. I actually preferred to read them third.

These books are less heavy-handed than later Tepper books in terms of social messages, if that's a factor for you. ( )
1 vote TadAD | May 24, 2008 |
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"Totem to King's Blood Four." The moment I said it, I knew it was wrong. I said, "No!"
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