My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Book Description on Amazon
In the 8th century AD Ibn al’Arabi, the Moorish governor of Barcelona, bestowed a magnificent gift upon Charlemagne, Holy Emperor of half of the known world: a chess set with the power to transform the course of history.
New York City, 1970. Catherine ‘Cat’ Velis, a computer expert working for one of the world’s largest accountancy firms, is sent on a dangerous assignment to retrieve an object of immeasurable value from somewhere in the remote reaches of Algeria.
Montglane Abbey, France 1790, Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortress-like Montglane Abbey. With France aflame in revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life – and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the abbey are pieces of the Montglane Chess Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Whoever reassembles the pieces can play a game of unlimited power. But to keep the game a secret from those who would abuse it, the two young women must scatter the pieces throughout the world…
What I thought of it
In some ways, The Eight is reminiscent of the Languedoc trilogy by Kate Mosse. With dual storylines tracing the 1970s and the 1790s, the author leads us through the quest to reclaim the legendary Montglane Service before it’s too late.
From the Terror of the French Revolution and the chilly presence of Robespierre, to Russia’s formidable Catherine the Great, the story pulls us forward in time to computer experts, chess tournaments and the Algerian secret police.
There are memorable characters aplenty, from Catherine Velis herself, to the intriguing Russian Grand Master, Solarin, and friend Lily Rad with her Rolls Royce Corniche. In addition, noteworthy poets and famous philosophers and composers have their places within this tale.
A sense of mystery and timeless symbolism winds throughout this book like a scent drifting on the wind. The quality of the writing is excellent.
The Eight is an intelligent and complex thriller which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys books by Kate Mosse, Dan Brown and/or Scott Mariani.