The Last Duel, a book of medieval history, by Eric Jager.
History that reads like a novel, this is the story of a joust to the death by a knight and a squire over charges of rape put forth by the wife of one of the men. It's a fascinating look at the process of medieval justice, building to one of the most exciting climaxes you'll ever read. Based on historical accounts, the narrated joust gives the lie to the idea that books can't compete with movies and TV. Jager skillfully displays the advantages of words-- descriptions of the weight of armor the men wore, the weapons they carried, the rituals they performed, the physical and emotional stress they were under, the people who watched them-- all of which adds to the suspense. The fight to the death itself is filled with heart-pounding excitement. Yet this is non-fiction! What could a novelist add to the mix?
As it stands, The Last Duel is as thrilling a book, or media experience of any kind, as you're likely to find, demonstrating the fundamentals of literary art-- mystery, characterization, information, simplicity, drama, tragedy. When done well, it's as precise and exhilarating a show as a ritualized medieval joust.
Very highly recommended to everyone who loves to read.
(Available at bookstores and libraries.)