I’ve had Knight Moves on my kindle since 2015 and I’ve no idea where I got it. It suffered from not having a Goodreads description, although the ebook does, and I’ve quoted it here. I read several of the reviews before I raised it up my TBR… and eventually things get to the top!

Knight Moves

by Walter Jon Williams

A Philip K Dick Award-nominated novel.

Eight hundred years ago Doran Falkner gave humanity the stars, and he now lives with his regrets on a depopulated Earth among tumbledown ruins and ancient dreams brought to life by modern technology. But word now comes that alien life has been discovered on a distant world, life so strange and impossible that the revelation of its secrets could change everything. A disillusioned knight on the chessboard of the gods, Doran must confront his own lost promise, his lost love, and his lost humanity, to make the move that will revive the fortunes both of humans and aliens . . .

Knight Moves is an engrossing and evocative read, a tale of immortality and love and death rendered in a style that reminds me more than a little of the early Roger Zelazny. Williams’ people are intriguing and sympathetic, and his portrait of an Earth left transformed and empty by a humanity gone to the stars, where aliens dig among ancient ruins for old comic books while the creatures of legends stir and walk again, will linger in my memory for a long time. Williams is a writer to watch, and– more importantly– to read. –George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Knight Moves uses an unmatched cast of characters, human and otherwise, to tell an intriguing story. –Fred Saberhagen, author of the Book of Swords Trilogy (Goodreads)

My Review

I hate to admit it, but George RR Martin is spot on. This does remind me of early Roger Zelazny. As it was originally published in 1985, perhaps that’s not surprising.

The story starts intriguingly, in Delphi. I’ve been to Delphi. It was my first independent holiday. For Doran Falkner, it’s his favourite home. The place where the oracle speaks to him, and centaurs speak poetry in Greek. The scene shifts, and I begin to get confused, then it shifts again and I start to settle into the complex world where most people have left Earth and taken up virtually limitless body renewal, all thanks to Falkner’s scientific discovery. Doran is a rich and relatively happy man, except that his love and science colleague Mary is a Diehard (we are left for a while to work out what this means).

A new discovery on a distant planet gets the scientists in a spin, and the story gets less weird, more exciting, and brilliantly world-built. It took me several days to get through the first third, and one session to get through the next. I trusted one of the reviewers who said it was a good book to curl up with, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although I did have my doubts for a while!

I expect I’ll be reading more by Walter Jon Williams.

Book Review | Knight Moves
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2 thoughts on “Book Review | Knight Moves

  • 5 May, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Hmm. Not sure what I think on this one. Slow starts are kind of death for me these days—I have enough trouble getting going on new books as is, for some reason.

    • 7 May, 2024 at 8:08 am

      I think it’s very interesting, settling in gently at the start, so you wonder what’s going on. Then the mystery is revealed…


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