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The World Played Chess: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“A fearless and sensitive coming-of-age story. I loved it.” —Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky and The Last Green Valley.
Bestselling author Robert Dugoni returns with an emotionally arresting follow-up to The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.
In 1979, Vincent Bianco has just graduated high school. His only desire: collect a little beer money and enjoy his final summer before college. So he lands a job as a laborer on a construction crew. Working alongside two Vietnam vets, one suffering from PTSD, Vincent gets the education of a lifetime. Now forty years later, with his own son leaving for college, the lessons of that summer—Vincent’s last taste of innocence and first taste of real life—dramatically unfold in a novel about breaking away, shaping a life, and seeking one’s own destiny.
Praise for The World Played Chess
“A riveting story of boys becoming men and the risks they take along the way.” —Library Journal
“The World Played Chess is a shining example of a writer at the top of his game, and a deeply thought-provoking take on a man’s coming of age.” —Authorlink
“Dugoni tackles the transition from boyhood into manhood in a heartfelt, poignant, and somber manner. It’s heartbreaking and hope filled…Raw, honest, and beautifully haunting.” —Book Review Crew
“Wondrously brilliant and poignant…While not a Vietnam novel per se, the book resembles Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War in its sheer emotional resonance. Dugoni, though, seems to be channeling the lyrical storytelling magic of the great Pat Conroy more. The World Played Chess is this generation’s The Prince of Tides and a candidate for best novel of 2021.” —Jon Land, Providence Journal
“The World Played Chess is a masterwork of emotion from an author who seems like he hasn’t met a genre he can’t conquer. Rich with historical detail and as poignant and powerful as the best works of fiction, this novel is a gut-punch of a story that is as fearless as it is insightful.” —Bookreporter
“Robert Dugoni writes about the war as if he had been there, though he wasn’t, and that’s not an easy thing to do. In addition to doing a ton of research, a novelist can only pull that off if his or her heart’s in the right place. It’s evident that Dugoni cares about Vietnam War veterans and the unique things that can still be learned from them. This is the best novel dealing with the Vietnam War and its ongoing legacy I’ve read in a long time.” —The VVA Veteran
“Deftly combining elements of friendship, the trauma of war with what is basically a coming of age novel, The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni is an inherently engaging, impressively entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking read.” —Midwest Book Review
“With his usual narrative mastery, Dugoni takes on the often-overlooked ordeal of boys becoming men and does so fearlessly and sensitively, chronicling the coming-of-age stories of three different men linked by war, friendship, and family. I loved it.” —Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky and The Last Green Valley
Praise for The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
“This is the bestselling Dugoni’s masterpiece, the book by which his work, and that of others, will be measured for years to come.” —Providence Journal
“Dugoni has produced a novel that, if it doesn’t cross entirely over into John Irving territory, certainly nestles in close to the border…Written in a gentle, introspective yet dramatic style that is very different from that of Dugoni’s crime fiction, this is an inspirational story of a man who spends a lifetime getting to know himself.” —Booklist
“Inspiring and aglow with the promise of redemption.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Robert Dugoni has a rare and brilliant talent for infusing his characters with complex emotions. Frankly, this might be the best book of the year.” —Bookreporter
“Distinctly different in style from Dugoni’s typical fare…A captivating and poignant journey of strength and the power of finding your true self. Without a doubt, this is Dugoni’s best yet.” —Suspense Magazine
“Dugoni’s writing is compellingly quick, simple, and evocative…A heartwarming novel that celebrates overcoming the unfairness of life.” —Seattle Book Review
About the Author
Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series, which is set in Seattle and has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the Charles Jenkins espionage series and the David Sloane series of legal thrillers. He has also written several stand-alone books, including the novels The 7th Canon and Damage Control; the literary novel The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, and a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards.
Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages.
Visit his website at www.robertdugonibooks.com, and follow him on Twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni.
- ASIN : B08RD8WFH9
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (September 14, 2021)
- Publication date : September 14, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 7979 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 400 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,447 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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I bought the book on the day that it was published and read it right away. It is just as good as “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.” I could not put it down and will never forget it.
Other reviewers already provided plenty of details about the story so I will skip doing that. Instead, I would like to focus on how the book seems to operate on at least THREE LEVELS. Any one of them is worth your investment of time and money.
LEVEL ONE is the surface level – a gripping story about a young man, Vincent, and a Vietnam veteran, William. We follow them across decades, locations, and life-altering decisions.
Dugoni is a master storyteller at the peak of his game, and it shows here. The characters pull you in. The pages fly by. Dugoni makes ordinary lives extraordinary in richly described settings, reminiscent of a John Steinbeck novel.
While reading the story, I found myself thinking of "The World According to Garp." So, it came as no surprise to see a reviewer mention John Irving.
LEVEL TWO delivers a message. To be sure, the book teems with insights about life, love, parenting, letting go, holding on, death, sacrifice, forgiveness, and faith. What struck me most, though, was how the book picked up where Dugoni’s blockbuster “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell” left off.
If you read “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell,” then you may recall its powerful ending. On the last page, we realize that “each of us has the ability to make our lives extraordinary.” Dugoni’s new book says, in effect, “So hurry up. Get going.”
Watch for phrases like these three: “failure is easier to live with than regret,” “Growing old is a privilege, not a right,” and “life is fragile at any age, and that every day is a gift.”
And my favorite: “learn to celebrate each morning that you wake, take a breath, and realize you’re still alive and the day is filled with endless potential.”
Even the book’s title fits this idea, perhaps unexpectedly. Have you ever seen a tournament chess game – you know, the ones where master players use clocks and have limited time to make their moves? That’s the unspoken message here, at least for me. In the game of life, your clock is ticking. Make your moves. There's no time to dillydally.
For, as John Irving's famous last line said, "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."
LEVEL THREE is autobiographical. This might be a stretch, but here goes.
On the final page of “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell,” Dugoni wrote that there comes in a time when a person “stops looking forward and starts looking back.” Now, in his new book, the author himself looks into his rear-view mirror.
Dugoni details in the Acknowledgments which parts of the story came from his own life. Quite a lot, it ends up. But it might be even more than what he acknowledged there.
Dugoni raised two kids, had a near-fatal health scare, and recently turned sixty. He still has much to look forward to in life, but now, with “The World Played Chess,” he seems to pause and reflect. He wrote a 'manual' of sorts. He loaded his new book with life lessons and hard-won insights from a life well lived.
BOTTOM LINE: "The World Played Chess" offers something for everyone. If you seek an interesting, inspiring story then you will get it. If you want something more – a friendly kick in the pants to go live your life to the fullest – then that is available to you as well. I highly recommend it.
This is a book I will buy for my children, teenage grandchild and friends.
Robert Dugoni is a MUST READ AUTHOR! I love his mystery series. Yet his standalone novels are incredible!!
Top reviews from other countries
In The World Played Chess, Robert Dugoni proves once again what a fine writer he is. This is a terrific story, which mainly follows the lives of two characters, Vincent Bianco, and William Goodman. At its core, this is a story about growing up, making decisions for yourself, dealing with the death of friends and relatives, and learning how to handle the good and bad situations that inevitably come your way. Via its characters, the author also examines that feeling that we all have when we’re only 18 years old - the illusion that we’re immortal, that we’re never going to grow old, that we’re never going to die……
The story starts in 2015, where a middle-aged Vincent Bianco receives a journal written by William Goodman, it’s a diary of sorts, which he wrote whilst serving as a marine during the Vietnam War. The author then cleverly, and seamlessly, moves the reader through chapters that individually move back and forth through three time frames: 2015-2017, the late 1960’s, and the late 1970’s. The late 1960’s chapters are taken from William’s journal. The late 1970’s chapters deal with Vincent’s ‘coming of age’ period, the details of which are taken from his own journal. It’s during his teenage years (when saving up to go to college) that he secures a summer job as a labourer for a small, local construction company. While carrying out that work Vincent gets to meet and work with fellow crewman, William Goldman. William confides in Vincent, tells him about the realities of the Vietnam conflict, and passes on his knowledge and views of the World. In one of their many conversations, William turns to Vincent and tells him that the difference between living and dying is nothing more than dumb luck. And in regards to death, later in the novel, Vincent would read the following words written by William in his journal: “Dying is hardest on the living.”
The 2015-2017 chapters cover Vincent’s present-day life, where he reflects on his past, faces up to the challenges and frustrations of being a busy lawyer and good husband, and deals with the sometimes frustrating responsibilities of being a father to a teenage son and daughter…..
All I can add to the above is that this book took me through the gamut of emotions, and I’m not ashamed to reveal that I did shed a few tears. The chapters relating to William’s experiences in Vietnam were heart-breaking at times, and eloquently captured the futility of that war. During the 70’s and 80’s I lived in Australia and befriended a few Aussies who were Vietnam vets - so I saw at first-hand the effects of PTSD, very, very sad…..
If you’re looking for a book to get fully immersed in, a story written with intelligence and compassion, and one which will leave a long-lasting impression on you, then look no further than this book. Read it, digest its contents, then tell your book-loving friends about it. It just leaves me to thank you for taking time out to read my ‘no-spoiler’ review, I hope I’ve done justice to The World Played Chess, and that what I’ve written has sufficiently inspired you to get your hands on a copy of this brilliant work of fiction.
📚 + 📖 = 😊
The plot is told in three timelines and involves two characters- mainly. 1967 onwards told by William who was drafted to Vietnam, 1979 told by Vincenzo (Vinnie) who is 18 and working to pay his way to university and 2016 told by Vincenzo who has possession of William’s Vietnam diary and whose son is about to start university.
William and Vinnie become friends when on the same work outfit. It becomes increasingly obvious that William is suffering mentally from what is now called PTSD., as a result of the war. He has spells of great anger, shaking and lack of control. William gives Vinnie his diary so that the background and the horrendous consequences of the war are disclosed and so that Vinnie can understand William’s state of mind/actions.
So the telling of William’s war experience is interspersed with Vinnie’’s recollections from 1979 and his present day, 2016.
Whilst I found the book to be very well written and at times heartbreaking, it seemed to be a trudge to get to the point. I would recommend the book but highlight that it’s a very American slant- naturally!
A well written novel but a read that required concentration and commitment to journey to its conclusion