The main commitment to which ahead of time we may hold a novel . . . is that it be intriguing, composed Henry James in “The Art of Fiction.” Katherine Neville’s amazing first novel, “The Eight,” is exceedingly fascinating, no doubt. Part Historical, part present day, part confound novel, and part swashbuckling experience story, THE EIGHT blends riddle, mystery, fantasy, sentiment, science, and sci-fi, and keeps on outstanding a book that opposes simple arrangement. Throughout the years, she has been compared with Alexandre Dumas, Umberto Eco, and even Stephen Spielberg. All the characters are well developed. Plot is complex. Anticipation is on target. Narrating and portrayal are rich.
The story weaves wonderfully all through two courses of events, one that pursues the narrative of a French cloister adherent amid the stature of the French Revolution and the other, Catherine Velis, a PC investigator living in New York City amid the 1970’s. The characters in every course of events end up got up to speed in a fatal round of chess in which they are the pieces! Also, everything starts with a journey to shroud the bits of a secretive chess administration reputed to be possessed by Charlemagne. This chess administration was the reason for various wars and observational falls, for the most part because of those competing to employ its capacity. This relic, called the Montglane Service, purportedly held the way to a recipe of extraordinary power for whoever had it. Furthermore, there are some who will persevere relentlessly to acquire it. Therefore, the nuns of Montglane Abbey, where it has been covered up for over a thousand years, must shield it from the individuals who might utilize it for wickedness. The peak comes when Catherine Velis finds the mystery of the Montglane Service and how her destiny interweaves with that of the French religious woman who lived two centuries prior.
This book was the first of its kind: a historical thriller/whodunit/magical story that was published in 1988. In a way, all the similar books that have come after (Dan Brown, Kostova’s The Historian) are following in Neville’s footsteps. If you read it now, it may seem flat in comparison with these later works, which have taken a genre that in many ways Neville created and taken it to new levels. The Eight is rich with history, art, music, literature, politics, espionage, mathematics, chemistry, magic, and of course, chess (the chess match of history).
Some quotes from the book:
Music has power to create a universe or to destroy a civilization.
Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do. —Savielly Tartakover (Polish GM)
The laws of chess are as beautiful as those governing the universe – and as deadly.
If you love works of great literary merit, plots as thick as a London Fog, and don’t mind wading through a lot of words to get to a fantastic conclusion, you’ll observe The Eight to be one of your new top choices.