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The Eight by Katherine Neville
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The Eight (1988)

by Katherine Neville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Montglane Service (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0201161,878 (3.75)1 / 144
  1. 50
    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. 20
    Codex by Lev Grossman (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: The “mystery/intrigue that is tied to an historical relic” genre
  5. 10
    Gospel by Wilton Barnhardt (kullfarr)
  6. 10
    The Fire by Katherine Neville (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: The two books are connected by the Montglane Service and The Game
  7. 00
    Sandstorm by James Rollins (majkia)
    majkia: similar race to uncover mysteries.
  8. 00
    La tabla esmeralda by Carla Montero (Anonymous user)
  9. 00
    The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (isabelx)
    isabelx: Historical mysteries involving chess.
  10. 00
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (SharronA)
  11. 11
    The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman (cransell)
  12. 16
    The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (cransell, kawika)
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English (102)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
This epic novel alternates between two women—Catherine Velis, a computer expert living in New York City in 1972, and Mireille de Rémy, a novice at Montglane Abbey in the south of France in 1790. Their fates are intertwined due to the Montglane Chess Service, an ancient (and possibly magical) chess set once owned by Charlemagne. As both women are compelled into searching for the chess pieces scattered around the world, their lives are forever changed, because entering the Game means a race for unlimited power. This novel was published in the 1970s but still holds up today. Ms. Neville has woven fiction around history, with many famous players showing up—Catherine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and French mathematician Fourier—and the resulting story is so seamless that you will be hard-pressed to distinguish fact from fabrication. She also deeply explores the science behind her fictional Montglane Service; you won’t be disappointed by the revelations. I guarantee you’ll never look at the game of chess the same again. This is a gripping, hard-to-put-down novel that will make you feel smarter from having read it. I highly recommend. ( )
  KristyMcCaffrey | Aug 31, 2018 |
This is not my usual type of reading, it was overall a good book if you are into history and how the past can connect with things that are in motion today because of others actions. I felt that sometimes it was confusing keeping everyone from the past straight, and who was all connected to who. Definatley recommend this to anyone who is interested in history or chess. ( )
  Chelz286 | Aug 26, 2018 |
I had such high hopes with this one. Eight and it's sequel The Fire have been in my TBR pile for years (as you can see in my profile pic from 2009). After finishing Michelle Moran's The Second Empress I was in the mood for more French historical fiction set around the Revolution. I thought this would be just the right time to tackle this first book in the series.

I did enjoy the first 100-150 pages or so (at least the parts set in 18th century France), but I never really warmed up to any of the characters. I had an outright distaste for the modern day character Kat. The plot seemed be on the edge of the ridiculous. And the further into the book I read, the worse it became. Guess I'm not a fan of the historical-action genre.

I stopped on page 222. I hate to throw in the towel after that much of an investment, but given that this is a 600 page tome, I was still looking at a considerable chunk to slog through.

I did look ahead in several parts to see if looked like it might get better. It just served to reinforce I was making the right decision to cut my losses and run! ( )
  catzkc | Mar 23, 2018 |
*The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

My Recommendation:

“The Eight,” sweeps you along on a fantastic journey through history beginning with the French Revolution in France, to Catherine the Great in Russia, to Corsica, onward to the enigmatic Sahara, and finally ending in the United States in the late 1970’s. History is a predominant theme which lends credibility to the plot. I was intrigued by the sheer number of historical figures and events that climaxed my reading journey. I was virtually swept off my feet!

At the center of the plot is a mystical chess set once owned by Charlemagne. An ancient myth has shrouded the actual purpose of the Montglane Chess Set. It is believed that an otherworldly power and a secret so great that it could destroy civilization as we know it, is contained within the ancient relics. Anyone who possesses the entire set will have a power that is unsurpassed in the world. The secret is kept with mystical codes and symbols. Only the stories of the ancients can reveal its true purpose.

The chronicle is woven between two different time periods, with Mireille, the novice nun, during the French Revolution and then with Catherine, a computer programmer in the late 1970’s America. The detail is impeccable. For me, Mireille’s story was the most exciting and thought-provoking. Mireille’s quest to unravel the secret of the Montglance Chess Set becomes her life mission which sets the “game” in motion for centuries to come. It is Catherine’s mission hundreds of years later to be one of the players in this transcendent chess game of life.

I knew next to nothing about the “game” of chess. What I did come to understand through my reading of “The Eight,” is the psychological aspect of the game itself. If you love chess, you will enjoy this book. Throw in the Fibonacci Code, the Free Masons, alchemy, mathematical codes, and the ancient mysteries of the universe, and I was hooked.

The novel is long. However, the reward is in discovering the true purpose of the Montglane Chess Set. The ending is spectacular and worth the wait. Catherine Neville skillfully weaves a tale filled with suspense and intrigue that will keep you up reading into the wee hours of the night to find out what happens next!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars ( )
  ColleenChesebro | Jan 2, 2018 |
I can't finish this novel. Considering that the novel is >600 pages, I didn't even make it to center stage as I have given up before 300 pages. I didn't find it to be as fascinating as some of the reviews that adorn both the front and back cover and the first pages... ( )
  Corduroy7 | Nov 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (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 editionscalculated
Constante, SusanaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Chess is Life. --- Bobby Fischer
Life is a kind of chess. --- Benjamin Franklin
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A flock of nuns crossed the road, their crisp wimples fluttering about their heads like the wings of large sea birds.
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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 6 descriptions

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