Paul III of Montreal by Christian-Eric Falardeau is an imaginative, futuristic tale that follows a brand new culture where heroes and those who ascend to the higher levels of social status are determined by the Game, a three-dimensional version of chess. Paul II has been hailed as the greatest player of all time, and he has held his position for twenty years. When he loses and commits suicide. What follows is a moment of disillusionment, when people begin to question if absolute power should be accorded to the Game as the tool with which to measure success and social status. As underground movements begin to take shape, the Orthodox Party prepares Paul Herbert to become the game changer at the right moment. But when secrets about their strategy begin to leak, Paul faces many challenges. Does he stand any chance?
This is a deft, balanced, and quirky tale that provokes serious thinking in readers. Falardeau succeeds to make readers think about how humanity can become slaves to technology. The setting is an imaginary world that has its own rules, a unique culture, and a new method of measuring fame and success. Yet, this world is filled with greedy people as well as political maneuvers that fuel the conflict. The Game takes a very central place in this novel and the author writes about it with passion: “It became a symbol of social success. The Game invaded politics, politics invaded the Game. The latter became a promotional tool for ideas and the federation was divided into groups of influence, equipped with their champion and fighting for the supreme throne. Naturally, it also became a powerful economic engine.” Paul III of Montreal features gorgeous prose and the author’s ability to create engaging social and political commentaries will fascinate readers. This is a transporting tale with strong and resonant themes, a story that brims with magical realism. You’ll find yourself investing in Falardeau’s intriguing characters in the same way you will be immersed in the world he creates. Both a propulsive tale of the rise of an unusual hero and a profound examination of the political dynamics.