Review of “The Eight”

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“The Eight” ebook was published in 2015 and was written by Katherine Neville (http://www.katherineneville.com). Ms. Neville has written four novels.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few instances of Violence and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel has one story thread set in the 1790s and the other in the 1970s.

While there are several characters, the primary are Mireille, a young girl who had been sent to a convent to become a nun in the 1790s, and Catherine Velis, a computer expert sent to Algeria to work for OPEC in the 1970s.

The stories of both women are intertwined with the Montglane Service, a chess set presented to Charlemagne. The age of the chess set is unknown, but it is thought to hold the secret to great power. Over the years many have sought it. In the case of both women, they find that, like in a game of chess, there are ‘white’ and ‘black’ pieces at play in the game. They find that they are part of a real ‘chess game’ with live players battling for possession of the Montglane Service.

Mireille is caught up in the intrigue when the head of her convent unearths the Montglane Service which had been buried at the Montglane Abbey for hundreds of years. She sends the nuns of the convent across Europe to hide the pieces. Mireille finds herself in Paris during the French revolution, then traveling to Algeria and England as she is swept up in the battle for the Montglane Service.

Vellis has close friends that are serious chess players. Working for a consulting firm, she is sent to Algeria in 1972 to work on a computer system for the budding OPEC cartel. She is also drawn into a search for parts of the Montglane Service which is thought to be hidden somewhere in Algeria. She encounters many ‘white’ and ‘black’ players in the game and more than once finds herself in a life threatening situation.

Though this book was originally published in 1997, the story is still quite good. It is a long novel, taking me nearly 17 hours to finish reading. In fact, it is more like two novels intertwined – one sent in the 1790s and the other in the 1970s. The book could easily have been split into a two part series. I thought that the story and intrigue were interesting. While this was a Thriller, it was not an edge-of-your-seat read. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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