Review: Tales from the Arena – Opening Gambit, by E A Schechter.

Tales from the Arena – Opening Gambit

ImageElizabeth Schechter


Beyond certain limits, and I frankly admit that the Story of O exceeds for me those limits – I scarcely managed to read a few pages before giving up – stories in which characters inflict pain on others as part of the process of sexual gratification rapidly turn me off.  At the same time I entirely accept and very much understand that elements of pain and submission are a fantasy enjoyed by many of my favourite people – for which read ‘women’ – and fantasy is, after all, fantasy.

Opening Gambit certainly didn’t turn me off.

The fact is that I read this book at one sitting and whilst I thought, a time or two, about putting it down and getting some sleep I could never bring myself to do so.  In short, I couldn’t put it down. 

Overall Opening Gambit seemed to be very well written, the characters in a well-imagined fantasy civilistation themselves well-imagined , well-drawn, memorable and ultimately – for me often the crux of a good story – highly sympathetic.  The plot is strong, makes its twists and turns without ever losing its way, and the whole makes a very enjoyable read.

One in a series, it is most unlikely that this will be the last I read and, as it is, it’s a book I’m happy to recommend.


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