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El Ocho (Spanish Edition) by Katherine…

El Ocho (Spanish Edition) (original 1988; edition 2009)

by Katherine Neville

Series: Montglane Service (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,6701302,062 (3.75)1 / 161
Computer expert Cat Velis is hired to recover the chess pieces of the Montglane Chess Service of 1790, they have the ability to endow anyone playing with them unlimited power.
Title:El Ocho (Spanish Edition)
Authors:Katherine Neville
Info:Debolsillo (2009), Edition: Tra Rep, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Eight by Katherine Neville (1988)

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» See also 161 mentions

English (115)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (3)  French (2)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
  archivomorero | Nov 9, 2022 |
2.5 ( )
  jeraccoon | Oct 29, 2022 |
A very dense book, traveling between the French Revolution and its aftermath, and during the early 70's in the nascent OPEC coalition. The basis for the mystery is a chess set, the Montglane Service, given to Charlemagne by Moorish allies, that contained a formula and a power of raising and destroying great kingdoms. The Service is hidden for a thousand years in the Montglane Abbey until events leading up to the French Revolution cause it to be scattered throughout France, Algeria, Russia, and England.

The book opens with two young nuns at Montglane Abbey, Valentine and Mireille, who are called upon to be a conduit for the pieces as the Abbey is broken up and the pieces are scattered in 1792. These two young women are sent to live with the painter David as his wards and are later to get caught up in the September Massacres. Notable figures who have an interest in this chess set include the Bishop d'Autun (Charles-Maurice Talleyrand), Maras, Charlotte Corday, and Catherine the Great of Russia.

Fast forward to early 1970's New York, where a young computer programmer is given the task of creating a program to chart the oil output of the Middle Eastern countries that are becoming OPEC. Catherine (the narrator) is brought into events, all unwittingly, through the chess prowess of the Russian chess master Solarin, her cousin Lily and Lily's wealthy family, a mysterious friend named Nim who seems to have an understanding of the forces at work, and her contacts in Algeria, Dr. Kamel and Sharrif.

Both time periods have action that takes them from their native countries to Algeria with trusted guides, and both Mireille and Catherine grow to realize the burden of the tasks they are called upon: to find and guard the chessboard, its embroidered cover, and the fantastically wrought chess pieces. Because hidden within the formula carved on the pieces, the board, and embroidered in the cloth is the secret to their use and their power. The burden lies in discovering what piece they themselves represent on the board and how to keep the pieces from falling into the wrong hands.

It's been compared to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and I tend to agree: once the reader suspends belief and becomes involved in the story, it becomes a rousing adventure. But the denseness of the narrative and the meandering nature of the events cause the readability to be difficult and its non-linear writing at times distracting. ( )
  threadnsong | Oct 23, 2022 |
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
I have a rule that if a book doesn't grab me after 60 pages, I put it down. Its very rare for me to put a book down after that point, as normally I know by then if its for me. To put a book down at page 317 is therefore very odd. But the simple truth was that I had stopped caring altogether. This book promised a lot, and was occasionally very exciting, but its flaws massively overshadow the good bits. So here are my two main problems with it. Spoilers may exist.

Firstly, it relies on too many coincidences. I never got to find why the narrator has been chosen to go and search for the magic chess set, but isn't it useful that she just happens to be friends with both a chess champion and a chess -obsessed cryptologist who can fill in all the details for her. That sort of thing.

Secondly, it relies on so many ethnic caricatures that it is utterly tiresome. Jewish people are grasping and over-dramatic, Arabs are either mystical sons of the desert or hook-nosed grand vizier types, the Soviets are all either authoritarian grey clones or secret capitalists running rings around the dull commies. As for the various peoples depicted in the 1790s plot, well, the French and the Corsicans should have cause to be offended too.

In the end it was too much for me and I tossed the book aside, utterly frustrated. ( )
  elahrairah | May 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (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 (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katherine Nevilleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Constante, SusanaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, T. S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ohl, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sartorius, HansTranslatorsecondary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Computer expert Cat Velis is hired to recover the chess pieces of the Montglane Chess Service of 1790, they have the ability to endow anyone playing with them unlimited power.

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Book description
Νέα Υόρκη, 1972 Εξειδικευμένη στους ηλεκτρονικούς υπολογιστές και αυτοδίδακτη ειδήμων στο σκάκι και στα μαθηματικά, η Κάθριν Βέλις εργάζεται σε μια εταιρεία ορκωτών ελεγκτών λογιστών, μέλος των Μεγάλων Οκτώ. Προτού ταξιδέψει στην Αλγερία για ένα νέο έργο της εταιρείας, η Κάθριν μαθαίνει για τον θανάσιμο κίνδυνο που της επιφυλάσσει το μέλλον από μια μάντισσα που της διαβάζει το χέρι. Λίγο μετά, ένας αντικέρ πλησιάζει την Κατ με μια παράξενη πρόταση: της εμπιστεύεται την πληροφορία πως ένας ανώνυμος πελάτης του προσπαθεί να συγκεντρώσει τα χαμένα κομμάτια μιας ανυπολόγιστης αξίας σκακιέρας, τα οποία εικάζεται ότι βρίσκονται στην Αλγερία. Αν η Κατ καταφέρει να τα φέρει πίσω, η αμοιβή της θα είναι εξαιρετικά γενναιόδωρη.

Νότια Γαλλία, 1790 Η Μιρέιγ ντε Ρεμί και η εξαδέλφη της Βαλεντίν είναι δύο νεαρές δόκιμες μοναχές στο ιστορικό μοναστήρι του Μονγκλάν. Σε μια εποχή όπου ολόκληρη η Γαλλία είναι παραδομένη στις φλόγες της επανάστασης, οι δύο κοπέλες ανυπομονούν να αποτινάξουν τα δεσμά της μοναστικής ζωής, και η επιθυμία τους δεν θα αργήσει να πραγματοποιηθεί. Θαμμένα βαθιά στα θεμέλια του Μονγκλάν βρίσκονται τα πολύτιμα κομμάτια μιας πελώριας σκακιέρας που ανήκε κάποτε στον βασιλιά Καρλομάγνο. Ήξεραν ότι όποιος κατάφερνε να τα αποκτήσει όλα θα γινόταν ο κυρίαρχος ενός παιχνιδιού με απεριόριστες δυνάμεις. Με σκοπό να προστατεύσουν τη σκακιέρα από οποιονδήποτε θα μπορούσε να καπηλευτεί το μυστικό της ανείπωτης δύναμής της, οι δύο νεαρές μοναχές αποφασίζουν να σκορπίσουν τα κομμάτια της σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο...
Neville, Katherine.
Οκτώ / Katherine Neville · μετάφραση Χρήστος Καψάλης. - Αθήνα : Ελληνικά Γράμματα, 2020. - 736σ. · 20x13εκ.
Γλώσσα πρωτοτύπου: αγγλικά
ISBN 978-960-19-0794-9 (Μαλακό εξώφυλλο) [Κυκλοφορεί]
Haiku summary
This book does for chess
What 'Brief History of Time'
Did for basketball

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