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I understand almost nothing about chess, but I read this book many years ago and found it fascinating. Every so many years, I re-read. I have passed it on to family and they have also enjoyed it. It's the kind of book where work gets in the way of reading. I wish she would write more often. I've read and enjoyed all her books!!!
posted May 30, 2006 at 12:19PM
This is an exceptionally good read. As the owner of a used bookstore I am constantly recommending this book and can’t keep it in stock. I am glad they finally rereleased it.
posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:05PM
In 1790 in the secluded Algerian abbey of Montglane, two lively young girls, cousins Valentine and Mireille, are novices training to be nuns. But the country is in rebellion; the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror are in full swing, and the wide world is pressing in on the quiet abbey in the mountains. When their abbess reveals a dark secret connected with their order, the adventurous cousins do their part to help hide the nuns’ mystery from the prying hands of dangerous enemies. Nearly two hundred years later in 1973, computer whiz Catherine “Cat” Velis is traveling to Algiers on an assignment when she falls in with a quest to retrieve that same ages-old secret that Valentine and Mireille hid so long ago. What is this much sought after, highly treasured object that strangers are willing to kill for? It’s a chess set, an oversized, ornate, gold and silver, bejeweled set of kings and queens and knights and pawns, crafted by Moors, owned by Charlemagne, and possessed of a mystic force that few understand but that all recognize the power of. It’s known as the Montglane Service and everyone, from Russian chess grandmasters to secret society Freemasons to agents and assassins from the world’s most powerful nations, wants it. What part our heroines Valentine, Mireille, and Cat, whom we hear from in intertwining chapters that speak back and forth from across the ages, play in the Montglane Service’s influential and fascinating history is all part of the fun, mystery, and adventure. Chock-full of historical figures from the past (including Napoleon, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great) and filled with puzzles, codes, and clues à la The Da Vinci Code for characters and readers alike, The Eight is a fast-paced, globe-trotting, historical thriller.
posted Mar 11, 2010 at 10:56PM
The Eight features two intertwined stories set in the 1790s and the 1970s, both revolving around the Monteglane Service. This bejeweled chess set, a gift from the Moors to Emperor Charlemagne, holds great power and has been buried in an obscure abbey in the French countryside and later scattered throughout Europe to keep it out of the wrong hands. The first story takes place in 1972 and follows computer expert Cat Velis as she is sent to Algeria for a special assignment. The second is set in 1790 and revolves around Mireille, a novice nun at Montglane Abbey. The fates of both characters are intertwined as they try to unravel the mystery, power and potential formula behind the Montglane Service. The Eight is combination of historical references, conspiracy theory and action/thriller novel. This book can be difficult to read and keep track of all the players—it would have been helpful to have some additional appendixes to keep track of characters, historical time frame and some scientific history. Also I found it difficult to believe some of the plot twists, as well the number of real historical characters met by Mireille (she started to remind me of Forest Gump). All in all it was an interesting but difficult read. 4 out of 5 stars.
posted Jun 3, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Catherine (Cat) Velis
Artistic; enjoys mathematics and chess; works for an accounting firm; has her palm read by a fortune teller; approached by a person looking for an ancient chess set that has been missing for years.