The Eight: A Novel

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The Eight: A Novel

by Katherine Neville

Random House Publishing Group | January 14, 1990 | Mass Market Paperbound

The Eight: A Novel is rated 4.2941 out of 5 by 17.
Computer expert Cat Velis is heading for a job to Algeria. Before she goes, a mysterious fortune teller warns her of danger, and an antique dealer asks her to search for pieces to a valuable chess set that has been missing for years...In the South of France in 1790 two convent girls hide valuable pieces of a chess set all over the world, because the game that can be played with them is too powerful....

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 624 pages, 6.87 × 4.21 × 1.09 in

Published: January 14, 1990

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345366239

ISBN - 13: 9780345366238

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Fire by Katherine Neville The Eight by Katherine Neville is a dazzlingly complex novel about the search for the legendary and mysterious Charlemange chess set called The Montglane Service reputed to give the owner untold power...the power to end Kings. There are two stories that run parallel to each other...that of Catherine Velis, New York, 1972, a computer expert working in a male dominated law firm who is sent to Algeria to consult for OPEC and Mireille de Remy, France, 1970, a novice of the Montglane Abbey who has been given a secret mission by the Abbess to conceal a number of the chess pieces of the service. Those who are in the hunt to acquire the chess service and the power it contains are said to be in The Game. Neville pulls into the story a very broad spectrum of ideas and philosophies...from the meaning of the zodiac, planets and elements to mathematics of the Fibonacci numbers and infinity to the significance and history of cultures and religious customs. Additional themes were absolute power or dictatorship versus freedom of choice or democracy...that the many can be more powerful than the one. I think it would take an entire essay to examine all the different themes within the novel. The Eight is a very long novel at just under 600 pages of small type on paperback format. It took me many sessions to read and I often had to set the book down to ponder clues and events. The book is about fifty-fifty the story of Catherine Velis versus Mireille de Remy. At the beginning of each chapter there is a quote or abstract about chess and/or life that represents the meaning of each chapter. In the book chess is defined as the ultimate game of strategy. Katherine Neville 'strategically' wrote and divided the plot of The Eight as a chess game. There are layers within layers of meaning about some of the ideas presented in the story...and games within games. There are very clever, intricate plot threads that eventually come back to their beginning (deliberate of Neville emphasizing infinity, eight, opposite yet parallel). The storyline at times was wildly dramatic although I found this appealing and often very imaginative, which kept me interested in reading the voluminous amount of pages. I had a handful of issues with the novel. One aspect that never made sense to me was why Valentine was given a chess piece to protect though she was the youngest, most immature, impressionable and vulnerable novice and not even central to the storyline. A woman named Catherine Grand was mentioned as the one who started The Game in the historical storyline but it was never clarified how or why and it did not make sense to me. The Eight is an amazing accomplishment of a novel. If you want an engrossing, complex, fascinating read look no further. My Rating: 4.5
Date published: 2009-06-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Long Winded This one was a bit long winded...i really felt as though it could have been wrapped up in fewer words. I did like the concept, the puzzle, the mixing of history with the 1970's. Of course it did help that my bookshelf of books waiting to be read was calling me...and so i raced through the last 100 pages so i could move on to something new.
Date published: 2009-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from How did the dog survive? Author Katherine Neville takes on a hefty challenge with this title. In a style similiar to Dan Brown she leads the reader through an intellectual thriller that weaves historical figures with characters from today. Catherine Velis, a computer programmer in 1973 (okay, so almost today) finds herself embroiled in a dangerous battle to achieve control of a powerful chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne. Neville uses the same tactics and Mosse and Guy Gavriel Kay's "Ysabel" when she mixes the current day story with that from 200 years ago. Catherine's story is interspersed with Mirelle's story from the time of the French Revolution as both characters find themselves involved in situations they never imagined for themselves. While the concept of the story was interesting it seemed like Neville relied on certain gimicks to carry the story along. Frequently she utilised the storyteller role to provide some sort of backstory to explain the history of the chess service. I enjoyed the story but found myself doubting the characters and the events on many occassions. Her inclusion of many historical characters from the French Revolution seemed overdone and the appearance of individuals such as Marat, Benedict Arnold, Bach and Catherine the Great made it seem like every notable person from history was somehow involved in this battle and subsequently Neville's narrative. I also had trouble swallowing the unbelievable luck that Catherine seemed to enjoy throughout her own search. Her knowledge seemed like she had prepared for a Jeopardy challenge on any topic that would remotely relate to the search, and this knowledge was complemented by the collection of geniuses she seemed to surround herself with. On top of this Cat and her allies seemed to be able to remarkably remove themselves from any hazard with the greatest of ease. It was sometimes rather like watching an action film where all of the villians are absolutely inept at using a gun whereas the hero is able to hit their target without difficulty. This was even the case when their enemies appeared to be the wrath of nature from the heat of the desert to the dangers of the ocean. In the end it seemed like Neville tired of trying to come to a happy solution for the story, and while the twist at the end was an actual surprise and refreshing, the resolution of Catherine's battle with her enemies was absurdly simplistic. In the end, I almost feel like Neville took on a larger task than she originally intended and by the final chapter she was just looking to write those final words to be done with the book. Unsurprisingly, that's rather how I approached reading the final chapters as well. This review makes it seem like I struggled through this book but I really didn't. It liked it, I just found problems with it as well. Now I am just debating over whether or not I will read the sequel.
Date published: 2008-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Satisfying and Fun Read Neville does a great job of making math fun. :o) While the book is about a mystery buried within a chess board, and the characters rely heavily on mathematics and formulae to solve it -- the reader doesn't need any expertise in those areas to enjoy it. Better writing than Da Vince Code and equally fascinating way of tying together historical characters and activities with a more modern plot line. Fascinating and fun, and well worth the few days it will take you to read it.
Date published: 2008-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read if you thought Dan Brown was good you will enjoy Katherine Neville even more. This book was published 20 years ago and at one point was on the top 10 list of must reads in Spain. Pick it up, you won't be sorry.
Date published: 2008-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This one has it all A story of intrigue set against a backdrop of history beginning with Charlemagne through the French Revolution, the Nazi's and beyond. Rich characters, great plot - just an amazing book. One of, if not my favourite book. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2007-11-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from don't bother It took me ages to read this book, I just could not get into it; but I struggled through and really wish I hadn’t. It could have been a decent book, but the writing is bad; long winded explanations, characters who know obscure historical/scientific things that no one 'just happens' to know, a jumble of characters who you never really care about, connections between characters/plots that don’t really make sense and plot twists that can be seen coming a mile away. I am kicking myself for reading all 608 pages.
Date published: 2007-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite, even years later! Definitely one of the better novels I've ever read, this one is part thriller, part contemporary fantasy, and all good. Delving into the past with an alchemically potent chess board and its mystical abilities scattered by an midieval group of nuns, and then crossed with the present of a computing consultant lady who finds herself in the midst of an astonishingly complex game of cat-n-mouse, this book just grabs you and keeps you. This is the only Neville I've read, and I couldn't put it down. As the story in the past starts to bleed into the story of the present, it truly picks up in speed and tension, and the ultimate destination is absolutely stunning.
Date published: 2006-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite even years later Definitely one of the better novels I've ever read, this one is part thriller, part contemporary fantasy, and all good. Delving into the past with an alchemically potent chess board and its mystical abilities scattered by an midieval group of nuns, and then crossed with the present of a computing consultant lady who finds herself in the midst of an astonishingly complex game of cat-n-mouse, this book just grabs you and keeps you. This is the only Neville I've read, and I couldn't put it down. As the story in the past starts to bleed into the story of the present, it truly picks up in speed and tension, and the ultimate destination is absolutely stunning.
Date published: 2006-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read - Fun and Fantasy filled. This was a gift, so I had not heard or read anything on this. After reading the first few sections, the book had me hooked. I loved it and found that it keep me into the story line. The novel left me wanting to read more and finish it as soon as I could. But, the book left me a bit disappointed in the large number of characters, however, the plot and story line were exceptionally done. Overall, the number of characters did nothing to diminish the enjoyment of this book.
Date published: 2006-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book club pick I'm moving out of town and it's my last turn to pick a book for our book club. I racked my brain and finally remembered The Eight: A perfect parting gift to my friends in the book club. If you haven't yet read this book, you're in for a treat. This is sheer, self-indulgent fun that stretches the limits of your fantasies. This intelligent action adventure takes you through history, as well as through Europe, North Africa and New York City. If you liked Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones, the DaVinci Code and the Illuminati, you'll love The Eight! It has it all.
Date published: 2005-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Engrossing Novel I loved this book. It was recommended to me by someone who knew that I had read and enjoyed both The Da Vinci Code and The Rule of Four. Having now read all three books, I can say that this is my favourite of the group. It engaged me from the beginning, right through to its gripping end. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.
Date published: 2004-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO Good!!!! This book was recommended to me by a friend and since reading it I have been busy recommending it to everyone I know who likes to read! I thought it was intelligent and very entertaining. I got so wrapped up in the story, I was actually turning down invitations out in order to keep reading!! Loved it!!
Date published: 2002-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite reads! I read this book several years ago but it remains one of my all time favorite stories. From the time of Charlemagne, to Napoleonic France, to present day, it is a page turner and I couldn't put it down. I think I will read it again.
Date published: 2000-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Eight Not many authors can create a best-seller on their first try, but Neville pulled it off. This book has everything -- ancient knowledge, faith, destruction, long-lived societies and the mysteries of alchemy. Neville mixed fiction and history so cleverly that the reader is plunged into fascinating possibilities. Some people have commented to me that it is a little slow-moving, but it remains one of my favourites!
Date published: 1999-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Eight Good story. Very detailed. Historically accurate. The only thing I did not enjoy was the constant back tracking and time shifts into the past between chapters, but I will say it was intertwined rather effectively. Otherwise, a pretty good read. Compares to such historical adventure writers as Umberto Eco, Christopher Hyde and Mark Frost.
Date published: 1999-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Eight Not many authors can create a best-seller on their first try, but Neville pulled it off. This book has everything -- ancient knowledge, faith, destruction, long-lived societies and the mysteries of alchemy. Neville mixed fiction and history so cleverly that the reader is plunged into fascinating possibilities. Some people have commented to me that it is a little slow-moving, but it remains one of my favourites!
Date published: 1998-12-14

– More About This Product –

The Eight: A Novel

by Katherine Neville

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 624 pages, 6.87 × 4.21 × 1.09 in

Published: January 14, 1990

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345366239

ISBN - 13: 9780345366238

Read from the Book

THE DEFENSE Characters tend to be either for or against the quest. If they assist it, they are idealized as simply gallant or pure; if they obstruct it, they are characterized as simply villainous or cowardly. Hence every typical character . . . tends to have his moral opposite confronting him, like black and white pieces in a chess game. –Anatomy of Criticism, Northrop Frye Montglane Abbey, France Spring 1790 A FLOCK OF NUNS CROSSED THE ROAD, THEIR CRISP WIMPLES fluttering about their heads like the wings of large sea birds. As they floated through the large stone gates of the town, chickens and geese scurried out of their path, flapping and splashing through the mud puddles. The nuns moved through the darkening mist that enveloped the valley each morning and, in silent pairs, headed toward the sound of the deep bell that rang out from the hills above them. They called that spring le Printemps Sanglant, the Bloody Spring. The cherry trees had bloomed early that year, long before the snows had melted from the high mountain peaks. Their fragile branches bent down to earth with the weight of the wet red blossoms. Some said it was a good omen that they had bloomed so soon, a symbol of rebirth after the long and brutal winter. But then the cold rains had come and frozen the blossoms on the bough, leaving the valley buried thick in red blossoms stained with brown streaks of frost. Like a wound congealed with dried blood. And this was said to be another kind of sign. High abo
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From the Publisher

Computer expert Cat Velis is heading for a job to Algeria. Before she goes, a mysterious fortune teller warns her of danger, and an antique dealer asks her to search for pieces to a valuable chess set that has been missing for years...In the South of France in 1790 two convent girls hide valuable pieces of a chess set all over the world, because the game that can be played with them is too powerful....

From the Jacket

Computer expert Cat Velis is heading for a job to Algeria. Before she goes, a mysterious fortune teller warns her of danger, and an antique dealer asks her to search for pieces to a valuable chess set that has been missing for years...In the South of France in 1790 two convent girls hide valuable pieces of a chess set all over the world, because the game that can be played with them is too powerful....

From Our Editors

When two young women in France of 1790 discover the Montglane Chess Service in Montglane Abbey, they recognize its mystic ability to provide anyone playing it with unlimited power and desperately scatter its pieces around the world. But in 1972, computer expert Catherine "Cat" Velis is hired to recover the chess pieces--and is caught up in a nefarious, globe-spanning conspiracy. Reissue.

Editorial Reviews

“Readers thrilled by The Da Vinci Code will relish the multi-layered secrets of The Eight.”
—MATTHEW PEARL, author of The Dante Club

“A BIG, RICH, TWO-TIERED CONFECTION OF A NOVEL . . .
A ROUSING, AMUSING GAME.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“A fascinating piece of entertainment that manages to be both vibrant and cerebral . . . Few will find it resistible.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“With alchemical skill, Neville blends modern romance, historical fiction, and medieval mystery . . . and comes up with gold.”
—People



From the Trade Paperback edition.