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Game of Cages: A Twenty Palaces Novel Mass Market Paperback – August 31, 2010

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Connolly fulfills and sustains the promise of his 2009 rural noir debut, Child of Fire, with this thoughtful Lovecraftian sequel. Twenty Palace Society member Catherine Little, a lethal sorcerer committed to keeping supernatural entities and magic out of the possession of anyone but members of the society, contacts ex-convict Ray Lilly at his mundane supermarket job and recruits him to assist her with an emergency situation. Ray's actions are supposed to be limited to assisting his assigned peer, but an interdimensional predator has escaped and the society needs all the help it can get. Connolly doesn't shy away from tackling big philosophical issues--whether good ends justify evil means, how many civilian deaths can be justified in the pursuit of creatures that can destroy the world--amid gory action scenes and plenty of rapid-fire sardonic dialogue.
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From Booklist

Ray Lilly, thanks to the intervention of the Twenty Palaces society, has survived the aftermath of Hammer Bay. He has a normal job, stocking a supermarket. He even has a credit card. When Twenty Palaces comes storming back into his life, he is thrilled—a normal life is also boring. Of course, it turns out that Catherine—the Twenty Palaces representative—is investigating an auction, where a predator is for sale, and would really prefer to have backup with more than one spell. Ray is, as a former wooden man, not quite as well armed as she might have liked. On the other hand, he is stubborn and unorthodox, which makes up for a lot. In any event, they arrive at the auction as it concludes, and everything goes to pieces when the predator escapes and only Ray and Catherine are around to stop it. Ray’s voice continues to be charming despite his rough edges, and the plot more than taut enough to keep the pages turning at a breakneck pace; and there is definitely some fascinating history hidden beneath the surface of the world Connolly is spinning, and it’s thoroughly entertaining. --Regina Schroeder

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Product Details

  • Series: Twenty Palaces (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345508904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508904
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My biography used to state that I wrote books about monsters and face-punching, but lately I've branched out into monsters and stabbing, and monsters and spell-casting.

But there's always a monster.

Find me online at:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Eckert on September 16, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book in the Twenty Palaces series by Harry Connolly. It was a great read and a fast-paced follow up to the first book, Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel. In general the book is pretty contained and you wouldn't have to read the first book in the series to enjoy reading this book.

Ray Lily is out of jail and eking out a living working at a grocery store and living in an apartment above his aunt's house. Things are going pretty well for him, but he misses the action that the Twenty Palaces Society brought to his life. Then Catherine drops into his life. She is an investigator for the Twenty Palace Society that was told to use him for backup if she needs it. There is a mysterious auction happening in a small town and rumors are that it involves a Predator; Catherine's job is to check it out and report back to the Society. Catherine is dismayed when she finds out that Ray isn't an Apprentice or a Peer but merely Annalise's Wooden Man. When Catherine and Ray get dragged out of the investigation and into a hunt for the Predator , Ray (his only tricks being his ghost knife and his protection tattoos) ends having to be resourceful in ways he wasn't planning on.

There is a lot I liked about this book. It is actually very similar to the first book in that it takes place in an isolated small town and Ray ends up hunting another predator. The action is again very well written and relentless. This is a book that is hard to put down, it shoves you from one action scene to another and leaves you breathless. We get to learn more about Ray as a character in this book and a little more about the Twenty Palaces Society as an organization.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TooManyNotes on November 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book, and "Child of Fire" as well. Harry is a master of the "slow reveal"; all too often an author will give up all of his painstakingly-constructed world's secrets in the first or second installment of a series. With this author you are left salivating for more, and I hope he is stubborn enough to not be pressured by impatient readers into speeding up the process. The best part is that Ray, the protagonist, is as equally in-the-dark as are we about the Twenty Palace Society, and so we can identify strongly with his desire to know more.

I badly want to see this as a cable TV series. I can imagine the pitch - "One of the main characters is a century-old red-headed sorceress who dresses like a gutter punk, has a voice like a twelve-year-old, eats bullets for lunch, and crushes heads like walnuts."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ray Lilly, ex-con and amateur sorcerer/part time Chtulu-esque predator hunter, is pulled from his dull day job and thrust back into the politics and danger of a predator hunt after info surfaces that a captured predator will be sold at auction. The downward spiral start shortly after Ray and an investigator arrive and find the creature escaped into the nearby town.

While Ray's only "spell" is slowly turning into the Swiss army knife of God, the characters in this book are not spell slingers. Ray relies more on intimidation, persuasion, and a healthy dose of improv acting to achieve his goals, and then call in a real wizard when things go wrong, which they often do. This rather radical deviation from the norm, Ray is almost the weakest character in every encounter, and survives solely by his wits, rather than magic and planning aforethought.

A large portion of this is about ethics. In a war, what sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve victory? How about if your life depends on it? The lives of everyone in the state? The country? the planet? Rather than rattle off fortune cookie wisdom, these issues are actually well explored during the plot of the novel.

The setting and set up of the plot line are perfect, though a tad dated. The sequestered hamlet tucked into the hillside was almost isolated to the point of being ridiculous, but even this was actually explained into the plot thread with a few good points, meaning Connolly managed to spin that wool into silver, if not gold.

The creatures, the magic, the sheer amount of originality is something I would've not thought possible in the world of Potter, Dresden, and Gandalf. And everything snaps together so well, even across books, that I'm positive Connolly has been writing for year, and is now doling out his masterpiece in bite size chunks. And I can't wait for the next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Soar on September 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ray is an interesting character, a sort of modern twist on Chandler's "Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid." Ray is definitely tarnished, but the huge struggle against stark evil is allowing him to take the good side and polish off a bit of tarnish (although I suspect we're going to learn some ugly things about the Twenty Palaces Society in the next book, as hinted by Zahn). Not quite a good guy in the full scheme of things, but he's our good guy for the novel, and certainly by comparison with everyone else. Interesting to watch his good guy/bad guy reflection via Catherine in this book - although Catherine comes off as naive, even while pitying Ray for his naivety.

The novels (this novel and the previous) are right at my gore/violence threshold, but I like the characters and general plotting enough to just sort of skim certain bits.

Also loved the TA Pratt "cameo" - I just got my Marla Mason short in the mail the day I started reading this!

Kindle review - no errors in format on my K3: a nice clean copy. Thank you, Del Rey Books!
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