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The Eight by Katherine Neville

The Eight (1988)

by Katherine Neville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Montglane Service (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,5701001,480 (3.77)1 / 133
  1. 40
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (norabelle414)
  2. 20
    Zugzwang by Ronan Bennett (rarelibri)
    rarelibri: A murder mystery within the backdrop of chess tourney. The name of the book itself is taken from a chess position where: A player whose turn it is to move who has no move that does not worsen their position is said to be in zugzwang (Soltis 2003:78). Thus every move would make their position worse, and they would be better off if they could pass and not move. A great book and for fans of Neville. rarelibri… (more)
  3. 20
    Black Market Truth by Sharon Kaye (cat505)
  4. 31
    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Torikton)
    Torikton: "Foucault's Pendulum" is probably the best conspiracy thriller there is.
  5. 20
    Codex by Lev Grossman (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: The “mystery/intrigue that is tied to an historical relic” genre
  6. 10
    Gospel by Wilton Barnhardt (kullfarr)
  7. 10
    The Fire by Katherine Neville (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: The two books are connected by the Montglane Service and The Game
  8. 00
    The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (isabelx)
    isabelx: Historical mysteries involving chess.
  9. 00
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (SharronA)
  10. 00
    Sandstorm by James Rollins (majkia)
    majkia: similar race to uncover mysteries.
  11. 11
    The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman (cransell)
  12. 15
    The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (cransell, kawika)

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English (87)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

Even though it was first published in 1988 and I'd seen the book on a number of occasions I'd only recently decided to read it even if I didn't really know what the book was all about. I guessed it probably had something to do with Chess.

And surprisingly, it did. Following two stories, one in the aftermath of the French revolution and one in the early 1970s, a mystery surrounding an old chess set is brought to light in a The Da Vinci Code manner. Obviously though, this book came way before TDVC.

I find it hard to really formulate my opinions on this book. While it was entertaining for the biggest part, it was way too long and the story could have been told using several hundreds fewer of pages. I'm usually not a fan of the two intertwined past-present day story line type of story, but it didn't bother me in this case. However, I thought the 18th century one to be the most interesting by far.

What did bother me though was the very convenient use of historical characters in completely unlikely settings just to give the story a more historical feel to it. The moment Napoleon showed up I was like 'hahaha, NO'.

While in the last 25 years this book has gained some kind of cult status it left me with some mixed feelings.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | Sep 6, 2015 |
The Eight by Katherine Neville starts in France in 1790. Valentine and Mireielle are novices are Montglane Abbey. Due to a new act that has been recently passed, the government is seizing possessions of the churches. This particular abbey hides a very special chess set. It was once owned by Charlemagne who gave it to Garin de Montglane. It is supposed to possess special properties and hides a formula. The Abbess’ of abbey have been protecting it for many years. Now it is being unearthed and sent out with the nuns. Valentine and Mireielle are given two pieces and special instructions. They are going to Paris to stay with their godfather, M Jacques-Louis David, a painter. They will act as a gathering point. If a nun has to flee, the girls will receive their pieces and keep them safe. The girls are only sixteen and have been raised in the convent since they were orphaned. They are very naïve. Are they up to the task?

Catherine “Cat” Velis is twenty-three and lives in New York in 1972. She works as a CPA and auditor for Fulbright, Cone, Kane, and Upham (a prestige firm). When she refuses to do something underhanded (and illegal) at the request of her boss, they decide to send her to Algiers for a year. On New Year’s Eve a fortune teller gives her an ominous reading. Cat is the “hand of destiny” and is in danger. Several months later (just before she is to leave for Algiers) Lily Rad takes Cat to a chess match. Lily is obsessed with chess and the daughter of a dear friend, Harry Rad. There Cat meets Alexander Solarin, a Grand Master of chess from Russia. He also warns her that she is in danger.

Catherine is to embark on a journey to find the pieces of the chess set. They are set to be in silver and gold with uncut, polished gems set in them (not a small chess set). It will be black (the good) versus white (the bad). Cat will need to stay one step ahead of the competition to stay alive and win the game. Cat is going to have to be careful who she trusts. You never know who will be working for the enemy. It is a game that has been playing for hundreds of years. Will Cat be able to obtain the pieces in time and figure out their mystery?

The Eight is a long and very complicated novel (I have given you just the briefest of overviews). It contains a lot of history, science, and chess. It is just too much for one book. The concept or mystery is interesting but it gets lost. I give The Eight 2.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the history contained in the book (I am a history buff) but with all the science and the chess (I was never able to master chess because I did not sitting still for so long) the reader is soon experiencing a headache (or sound asleep). It took me a couple of tries to get through the novel (it is over 600 pages long). But I did persevere because I wanted to see how it turned out (I was disappointed). There was one twist in the book that I liked even though I had figured it out (the first section dealing with Cat). If you are looking for a novel to help you sleep, then The Eight is the right book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of The Eight from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jul 22, 2015 |
“But she has risen now—like the pieces of the Montglane Service. And we may well tremble, all of us. For this is the end that was foretold."

I don't think that I will be able to explain just what an amazing adventure that this book turned out to be. I was invited by the publisher to read this book (this being the first time that the book is being published in ebook format) and even though I was a bit wary of it I decided to give it a try. Little did I know that once I picked it up it would be nearly impossible to put down.

This book switches between the 1970's and the 1790's. In the 1970's readers follow Cat as she is being shipped off to exile in Algeria after upsetting some major players at her work. Before she can even get to Algeria she is thrown into some mysteries in which she will only be able to find answers in Algeria. In the 1790's we follow two French novices, Valentine and Mireille, who are lead on a dangerous mission by their abbess.

I was originally wary about this book because I don't know how to play chess and I thought that I would need to know how to enjoy this book. While this book does have a lot of chess in it I still found it absolutely fascinating even with my lack of knowledge about chess. There was just so much adventure to this story and so many twists and turns that I was constantly amazed by this story and practically on the edge of my seat throughout. I don't want to give anything away about the plot as I feel that everyone should go into reading this with a clean slate.

I really loved the cast of characters in this book. There were characters that I really grew to love (and loved to follow) from both time periods. I originally did not like Lily at all but as the story progressed she really grew on me. There were plenty of characters from both time periods that I was unsure if they were trustworthy or not and was ultimately glad at where each of those characters ended up at the end.

This has most likely been my favorite read of 2015 so far and I really don't think that anything will be able to top this. I became a maniac absolutely obsessed with this book and felt like I was right there with the characters. I couldn't get enough of this while I was reading it and quite frankly I am a bit bummed that its over. Thank you (so very much) to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. ( )
  dpappas | Jul 12, 2015 |
This book has been long to come to read for me. I started reading it a few years back, stopped and then picked it back up in audio form again. An interesting thriller (although I don't think I'd label it that) I liked its small troupe of characters, I always prefer books that don't deluge me with too many. I recommend it wholeheartedly if only to see who is whom

Then, having read her biography on Wikipedia, I'm even more amazed: a writer, model, photographer and vice president of bank of america. ( )
  Lorem | Jul 6, 2015 |
Tuve la sensación constante de estar leyendo el guión de una mala película para televisión interminable. Me lo terminé por respeto a quien me lo regaló, (porque me lo tomé como algo personal) pero el final apenas mejoró el mal desarrollo del libro.
( )
  L0r0 | Mar 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Pawns and Kings.

I love reading and reviewing books. Yet if you read a lot of my reviews, (and I hope, Dear Reader, that you do), you will notice how frequently I write about the difficulty I find in reviewing certain books. More often than not I then precede to rave about that book. It’s because as a reviewer I feel that I am beheld to an oath similar to the Hippocratic one taken by doctors; first, do no harm.

Good books deserve to be experienced by their readers with as little interference as possible, so I try to give you a feel for the book without dropping spoilers and ruining the reader’s chance to revel in an exceptional work. All of which brings me to The Eight by Katherine Neville. It’s a novel that is tailor-made to fit my little manifesto. It’s very good, very original, and it deserves to be appreciated first-hand. Both the story and the plot are intricate, bordering on the Byzantine, but to break it down, it is about The Montglane Service, an antique Chess set, made in India, and gifted to Charlemagne, which holds mystical and mythic powers, and must be protected by the innocent from falling into the hands of the evil.

There are two main story-lines, one featuring Cat Velis, a computer expert and accountant, who works for Con Ed, in the 1970’s. After refusing to do something illegal for her boss she is sent from New York to a dead-end assignment to Algeria, to work with a then-unknown organization called OPEC. Before she leaves a fortune-teller at a party tells her that her life is in danger, and quick as a wink two people are dead and Cat is afraid that she might be next. The other story is about two young nuns, Valentine and Mirielle, and is set in France during the Revolution. These two are sent to Paris with a mission that involves the mythical Service. Before long everyone is either trying to hide or find this powerful artifact.

If that was all there was to the story, I would be done with my review. The Eight, however, is over 500 pages long, and Ms. Neville has plenty of stories up her sleeve. Historical figures, from the Freemasons to Catherine the Great, from Muammar Gaddafi to Cardinal Richelieu and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand all play significant roles, and Ms. Neville spins plenty of myths and history into her tale as well. Both backgrounds are solid and believable without being burdened by too much minutiae. The prose is solid, and all of the main characters ring true. What makes The Eight really special is the way that Ms. Neville makes the two storylines twist and turn, each enforcing and informing the other until they are, in the end, one. It’s something that is rarely accomplished, and deserves a tip of the cap.

The mythology of Chess also plays an integral part in this novel, and as a lifelong fan of Nabokov, I can say that she does the old master proud, both in her knowledge, and in her execution. Also worth noting is that the complexity of both the story and the plot are closely tied into the underlying motif of the game of Chess. In case you might find this intimidating, let me tell you that I am terrible at Chess, and my knowledge of it’s history is weak, and it never interfered my my enjoyment of this novel. What makes this book so good, in the end, is that all of this is subsumed by the narrative flow. You can read this big, smart novel as a thriller, and enjoy all of the tangents as just gravy. Smart, intricate and sophisticated gravy. Now how is that for an ending sentence?

Review by: Mark Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katherine Nevilleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Constante, SusanaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Chess is Life. --- Bobby Fischer
Life is a kind of chess. --- Benjamin Franklin
First words
A flock of nuns crossed the road, their crisp wimples fluttering about their heads like the wings of large sea birds.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Schaken is leven.

Bobby Ficher
Het leven is een soort schaken.

Benjamin Franklin
De typerende personages zijn ofwel voor, ofwel tegen de queeste. Helpers
worden geïdealiseerd als simpelweg galant of rein; wie tegenwerkt, wordt
afgeschilderd als simpelweg slecht of laf.
Vandaar dat ieder standaardpersonage...zijn morele tegenstander
tegenover zich krijgt, als zwarte en witte stukken in een schaakspel.

Anatomie van de kritiek
Northrop Frye
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345419081, Paperback)

Katherine Neville's debut novel is a postmodern thriller set in 1972 ... and 1790. In the 20th century, Catherine Velis is a computer expert with a flair for music, painting, and chess who, on her way to Algeria at the behest of the accounting firm where she is employed, is invited to take a mysterious moonlighting assignment: recover the pieces of an old chess set missing for centuries.

In the midst of the French Revolution, a young novice discovers that her abbey is the hiding place of a chess set, once owned by the great Charlemagne, which allows those who play it to tap into incredible powers beyond the imagination. She eventually comes into contact with the major historical figures of the day, from Robespierre to Napoleon, each of whom has an agenda.

The Eight is a non-stop ride that recalls the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones as well as the historical puzzles of Umberto Eco which, since its first publication in 1988, has gone on to acquire a substantial cult following.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:43 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A woman who enjoys chess for a hobby is offered the chance to collect the pieces of a very old chess service, which when all of the pieces are reassembled, gives the players a game of unlimited power.

» see all 5 descriptions

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