This book blew me away in a quiet sort of way. There is something about historical fiction with characters whose names we recognise that makes you wonder "could it be true?" And that is what makes great fiction, that wondering left with the reader, where the author can almost convince them that their story happened. And it may have! Very little is documented about Elizabeth's childhood. Makes you wonder.
This is different from the Scarecrow and Jack West, Jr. books I've read by Reilly. He mentioned in an interview that he has written historical/murder mystery fiction before, but I hadn't read them. I will now. I've always been fascinated by historical fiction and Reilly is so easy to red, The Tournament really drew me in. His development of the character of the then Princess Elizabeth was fantastic, but the character I thought was really fantastic was her schoolteacher, Mr. Roger Ascham. Insightful, very intelligent, warm and protective of his young charge, he was a wonderful mentor who gave Elizabeth a different point of view, another way to see things.
Elizabeth and Ascham were well developed characters who I instantly fell for, but the rest of the cast of characters were just as researched and fleshed out. The story was fast paced and addictive; I couldn't put it down. One of the best books published in 2013.