It’s a literary thriller by one of Ireland’s finest contemporary novelists (author of The Catastrophist) who is also a chess columnsit for The Guardian in London. I read the book in two short sittings, virtually unable to put it down. Here are a few takes from early critics. Please let me know if you’d like a review copy.

“Zugzwang is a breathtaking, cliffhanging, breakneck race through the worlds of Russian chess, Bolshevik terrorism, and international espionage. Surely the most thrilling chess thriller ever written.” – Katherine Neville, author of The Eight

“Eminently satisfying… a noirish page-turner, complete with shifting allegiances and executions in dark alleyways. Zugzwang also returns repeatedly to the connection between the political and the personal. It is a great strength of the novel that Otto’s relationships with his daughter and with Anna, who becomes his lover, are far from romantic subplots. Rather, these relationships turn out to be intertwined with Lychev’s investigation and with the future of St. Petersburg itself…Elegan[tly] blends a gripping plot with a serious meditation on politics and morality. Zugzwang does not merely offer pleasures both high and low – it erases the distinction. The novel is exciting because of the moral seriousness of its situations. Bennett’s talent is unique and writers of slicker thrillers would do well to take his work as a lesson in the titillation of the mind.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“A mesmerizing tale of shifting political allegiances and double dealing… Bennett is now the closest we have to Graham Greene; he looks squarely at the human condition, and attains a rare gravitas.” The Observer (London)

“Readers who love Anna Karenina as much as they enjoy a gripping mystery will find a little slice of heaven here.” — Booklist (starred)

“A heady historical thriller…the plot packs more than enough surprises to keep any suspense junkie sated.” — Publishers Weekly

“A taught, intricate thriller…a hugely enjoyable, brilliant high-wire act.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A classy, literate thriller” – The Times (London)

Posted by Picasa
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
Tags: ,