Read this paperback novel about 10 years ago as a kid.

The premise is that one extremely powerful alien race has been harvesting (and presumably keeping in cryo-stasis or something) the best "champions" of other alien races in-order to have them compete in a fight to the death. The contest is held on Earth in a skyscraper or something, with the protagonist being an unwitting intellectual-type who was mistakenly trapped into the building with the other contestants. The human race's champion was a Roman Centurion I think. One of the other alien champions was a scorpion-like creature with stealth abilities, another has psychic abilities, etc.

If I had to guess when it was published I'd say 80s or 90s.

  • 1
    Can you possibly provide some more details, such as when "years ago" was, when it may have been published etc. Consider taking a look at this guide to help you edit in some more details.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 21:40
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    Was it a novel or a short story? I "years ago as a kid" more like 5 years ago or 50 years ago?
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


I believe that the story you are looking for might be 'Contest' by Matthew Reilly


It has all the plot points you mention. With alien champions pitted against each other.

The fight occurs in the New York Public Library and the champions are teleported in.

The main protagonist is a radiologist who is trapped in the contest by accident.

The link shown gives more plot points (and spoilers)

  • You nailed it, thank you! My synopsis was a bit off but this is definitely the book I was thinking of!
    – Chris S
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 20:45

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