The Luneburg Variation by Paolo Maurensig

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The the body of an impeccable businessman from Vienna is discovered in an elaborate garden where topiary shrubs delineate a hidden chessboard behind the hedges. Apparently the death is a suicide without plausible motivation, but as the plot of this passionately colored, coolly controlled thriller unfolds, readers see that its apparently random moves are "variations" on an opening gambit, which can only end in a checkmate that annihilates the possibility of a rematch.

About Paolo Maurensig

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Khamsin is named after a scorching desert wind that has its source in Upper Egypt and, according to popular legend, scalds the Middle East for fifty days a year. It was founded in 1975 by a group of anti-Zionist Israelis and Arabs united in their socialist vision and opposition to economic exploitation, political domination and social oppression. Independent of all organised political tendencies, it is a forum for discussion of all the crucial issues of Middle Eastern politics.
Published November 1, 1997 by Farrar Straus & Giroux (T). 139 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Then we're told that the (unidentified) narrator has engineered Frisch's death, which was ``an execution, albeit deferred in space and time.'' Next, we follow Frisch on his habitual train journey homeward (and chess game with a fellow traveler), observed by a polite young kibitzer, who introduces...

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Not since White Knights of Reykjavik, George Steiner's riveting account of the 1972 world championship match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, has a writer demonstrated such stunning insight in

Nov 03 1997 | Read Full Review of The Luneburg Variation

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at one point, blood spatters the marble of cafe tables in an almost cinematic reminiscence of the novel's dramatic opening gambit: ""They say that chess was born in bloodshed."" In particular, chess represents (as in The Seventh Seal) one man's fight for life--here, the struggle of a Jew against ...

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