Saturday, March 15, 2014

BLACK CHALK by Christopher Yates

“Volenti non fit injuria. To the consenting person, no injury is done.”

Jolyon, Chad, Mark, Emilia, Jack, and Cassandra (Dee) are freshmen at an England university. Jolyon and Chad have created a game that is comprised of challenges and consequences. It is a game that must be kept secret, which none of its inner workings may be divulged. Each player must make a monetary deposit in order to play. If a member decides not to complete their challenge or consequence, the deposit is forfeited.

The Game begins innocently with harmless challenges and consequences for each of the six members. Chad suggests that the challenges should become more of a personal nature, taking aim at individual weaknesses.

Then there were five. Mark quits after refusing to complete one of his challenges. Then there were four. Emilia has an argument with Jolyon and the others regarding her challenge. She feels it is too personal. Then there were three. Jack is late to one of the Game meetings. Eventually, he does not show and is voted out of the Game. And then there were two. Dee quits after a tragic accident involving Mark.

By a single cut of a deck of cards, the Game will be put on hold following Mark’s accident. It is decided that the face cards will have a value of: Jacks (11), Queens (12), Kings (13), and Aces (14). The deck is cut, Ace of Spades, fourteen years until the final round of the Game.

Fourteen years later, the Game resumes between Jolyon and Chad….. Who will win? Was the Game a game within a game?

Christopher Yates should be commended for penning this fantastic novel. I have not read such a psychologically charged novel in quite a while. It is refreshing and definitely starts you thinking with its plot twists and turns. You are not just a reader or bystander. I recommend this novel to those who are looking for a book to keep them on their toes mentally. 

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