Game of the Gods

The story of a lowly servant who, for an instant, becomes a king

In 1930s British India, a humble servant learns the art of chaturanga, the ancient Eastern ancestor of chess. His natural talent soon catches the attention of the maharaja, who introduces him to the Western version of the game. Brought to England as the prince’s pawn, Malik becomes a chess legend, winning the world championship and humiliating the British colonialists. His skills as a refined strategist eventually drag him into a strange game of warfare with far-reaching consequences. Inspired by the unlikely true story of chess master Malik Mir Sultan Khan, Game of the Gods is a fascinating tale about karma and destiny, by the author of the multimillion copy bestseller The Lüneburg Variation.

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Publication date

January 12, 2021




Paolo Maurensig

Paolo Maurensig was born in Gorizo, and lives in Udine, Italy. Now a bestselling author, he debuted in 1993 with The Lüneburg Variation, translated into … Read more


Praise for Game of the Gods

“With his elegant writing, and via an intriguing chess game, Maurensig relates the life and deeds of an extraordinary character lost to history.”
Il Messaggero

“Maurensig has not only given us another great character from the enchanting world of chess―in these pages we find the spirit of an entire era. This novel has deep historical roots, numerous surprising twists, and contains infinite worlds in which karma provides many sharp turns to existence.”
Gli amanti dei libri

“The passion for the game of chess, in Game of the Gods, is linked to themes of another order: the scenario of war, the element of racial distinctions and colonialism, the different conception of life between East and West. The elegance with which Maurensig manages to tie these into the plot is another of the typical elements of this author, and a merit of this book: a fluid novel that weaves historical reality and literary inventiveness in an astounding and fascinating way.”
Libri la mia vita

Game of the Gods, the fictional story of Sultan Khan, who truly was one of the strongest chess players of his time, is of such beauty that it leaves one astonished, even in the face of sadder and more painful events.”
L come Libro

“Maurensig has the incredible gift of bringing back dreams that seemed to have vanished. Drawing fully from the great Kiplingian literature and reconverting it to the author’s central European figure is not at all easy. But Maurensig is a writer of immense value. This book is a jewel, a gift.”

“The novel is a beautiful fresco of cultural clashes and historical conflicts transposed on the board of a strategy game. Sultan’s adventurous life turns sadly towards a destiny where karma, Hindu myths, and resignation come together in a poetic and reflective way.”
BRUNO ELPIS, blogger