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The Eight (The Eight #1)
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The Eight (The Eight #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  20,960 ratings  ·  1,766 reviews
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 consp ...more
Paperback, 598 pages
Published January 14th 1990 by Ballantine Books (first published 1988)
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34th out of 1,018 books — 2,727 voters
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Community Reviews

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Three weeks ago I held a yard sale. To pass the time I picked up this book I'd never seen from a box of books none of which I'd ever read and none of which I remember buying.

Of the many surreal happenings of that day one of the most strange was when, immediately after reading the first page, a well-groomed homeless man or a poorly groomed homed man rode past on a bike. He looked over and upon seeing The Eight lurched off his bike stumbled to my gate and, grasping it with all the force and desper
Robert Beveridge
Katherine Neville, The Eight (Ballantine, 1988)

This novel has achieved almost cult status in some circles, and many people consider it one of the best adventure novels ever written. It's a useful way to separate folks you know into two categories: those who are more interested in plot, and those who are more interested in writing.

The plot is pretty darn good, when it comes right down to it. The novel takes place in two parallel times, the first being 1972 and the second the years during and afte
I was told by several people whose books tastes I generally respect that I would love this book - sadly, that wasn't the case. I found it tiresome, hard to follow, and the writing was almost impossible to slog through in several places. The characters were never fully developed, I never got invested in any of the characters, and I found the book too plot-driven to an irritating degree - with too many historical elements "dropped in" (almost like name dropping) in order to tie the events to histo ...more
Jun 26, 2008 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fluff
The two more recent books that most closely resemble The Eight are The Da Vinci Code and Kate Mosse's The Labyrinth, but I found The Eight a more enjoyable read than either of them. The novel is utterly audacious in its (ab)use of historical characters, completely, joyfully implausible in its plotting, and I'm not certain whether the language of Romantic page-turners the author makes frequent use of ("dear reader, little did I know that in two hours' time I would be running for my life trying to ...more
Deborah Harkness
This book was the first of its kind: a historical thriller/whodunnit/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. However, I'm giving it this rating because I still remember back more than two decades to my first ...more
The Eight - Ex
Kathleen Neville

The Montglane Service, an ornate, jeweled chess set given to Charlemagne by the Moors, is said to hold a code which when deciphered will bring great power. Nations and individuals have schemed to possess all the pieces. As the set is dispersed during the French Revolution, a young novice risks her life to safeguard it. Alternating with her story are the present-day efforts of a U.S. computer expert and a Russian chess master to assemble the set and solve its mystery
Sometimes you read a book and find yourself wishing it'll never end. If you want that, this is a book for you. I thought it'd never end, and I don't mean that in a good way. The book has been compared to the DaVinci Code, but I think that's an unfortunate comparison. The story alternates between the 1970's and the late 1700's, both periods linked by the individuals quest for lost ancient knowledge. To me, the action and dangers are contrived, as is the object of the search. If you can get caught ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
FLASH! Definition of the word "thriller" changes. Now the word "thriller" can be deemed to include slow moving, overly convoluted stories that wander from point to point with little actual plot covered!

Yes we have another story here in the vein of The Da Vinci Code. (I have been informed that this book was written in '88. I had originally said it was "apparently inspired by said Da Vinci Code". My error. That said, it doesn't make the book any better.) Taking place in both the past and the futur
I read this book for the first time in 1992 when I was fourteen. I just finished rereading it. I dug up my copy when I moved to NYC 2 years ago and had been curious to pick it up again since then - partly because I had vague recollections of a couple of hot sex scenes, but largely because over a decade after I originally read it, there was a complete cultural explosion centering around another book featuring ancient secrets playing out amid high-paced modern day intrigue, namely The Da Vinci Cod ...more
Sarah Sammis
I've had The Eight on the TBR shelf next to my bed for two or three years. I got it right around the time I had just finished reading The Da Vinci Code and the blurb on the back compared it to Brown's book and the Bookcrosser who gave me the book had liked the intricacies of the plot.

This 600 page mystery involves a formula for an elixir of life, a rare chess set and some Cold War era espionage. The story jumps between the close of the 18th century and "modern day" 1972. To make the chess theme
Jan 07, 2008 Keith rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: afficionados of European history
"The Eight" reads like a student attempting to wow her professor by using as many similies as she can (irony intended). I think Neville chose the name "The Eight," because there are roughly eight sentences per chapter that don't contain a forced, awkward similie.

At least that was true for the first 90% of the novel, which was almost Dickensien in its detail. For the last 10%, it is writen more like a short story, with months of time being skiped and important, climactic scenes being rushed into
In 1972, Catherine Velis, a computer expert, is given a special assignment in Algeria, and when an antique dealer hears about it he approaches her with a request. Even before her departure, strange things starts to happen and she realizes that she is part of something she doesn't understand. Everything seems to be connected to an ancient quest.

People from different parts of the world search for an ancient, moorish chess service given to Charlemagne and hidden in Montglane Abbey. The Montglane se
The absolute worst. Intolerable.

The kind of endless, deluded, humorless, self-satisfied, tone-deaf, utterly witless manuscript that I'm sure publishers find in the mail all the time but must NEVER EVER PUBLISH. Picked it up hoping for approximately the literary equivalent of "National Treasure," instead got the literary equivalent of diarrhea. That this is beloved by anyone anywhere, and that it ever elicited the press quotes inside the front cover, absolutely boggles my mind. There is NO dimen
The Eight accomplishes what Da Vinci Code aims for - a sweeping, quasi-religious collaboration between historical, supernatural and scientific forces. The novel traces the history of chess, and uses the game as an allegory of sorts for the modern (and anient, and postmodern) world. Not terribly believable, as plotlines go, it is nonetheless a gripping page-turner of a book, a wild ride through history and mystery, from the desert of Algeria to the cobblestone courtyards of Paris.
it's a bit complex and confusing because it has many characteres and many significant facts but apart from that it's nice book
Simone Sinna
Along with Shantaram, reviewed previously, this is a book that spoke to me. Grabbed me and wound its magic around me, seeping into my soul. I have probably read it at least ten times and several sections more than that.
Is it literary genius? No. Is it well written and engrossing? Yes. Fast paced, can’t be put down? Yes. Is it perfect? No. The concept is so good though it had me wanting to rewrite and re-imagine parts of it, trying to think of ways of making the chess game metaphor stronger.
In br
Nov 25, 2008 Barry rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Barry by: Laura
The story was not bad, although quite contrived and some interesting twists. The style was laborious - I wish someone could just walk into a room instead of entering the room lit by the amber glow of an oversized fireplace, in front of it were arrayed couches in a floral fabric and overstuffed pillows strewn on an leather ottoman. I mean sometimes you just walk into a room. The excessive floral and overstuffed language got in the way of the plot. And I was waiting for the Velis = Lives anagram t ...more
Stacy Green
I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could. The plot Katherine Neville created with The Eight is incredible, intertwined with history and myth and science. Her characters are wonderful, and she does a great job of keeping us wondering until the end who is really on the "good" side. As a writer, I am truly stunned by the intricacy of this plot. Anyone who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code should enjoy The Eight, and it is a better book, in my opinion. A must read, especially for writers learning ...more
The first time I read this was back in the early 90s. It was actually an assigned reading book for my Modern European History class. I have to say I am so glad we had to read it because it became one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve re-read it so many times my copy is near falling apart and I just bought a replacement copy.

I loved both the story lines although I have to say following Cat’s story was my favorite. She along with the help of a friend, Lily Rad, and the handsome chess champ, S
What do King Charlemagne, a gaggle of nuns, just about every historical celebrity from late 18th century Paris to Venice to St. Petersburg, more than a few chess prodigies, and the formation of OPEC have to do with each other? More than you could imagine. Katherine Neville out-Dan-Browns Dan Brown, skipping across continents and centuries, connecting far-fetched dots, and name dropping all along the way.[return][return]The book starts strong--the classic cryptic fortune telling of doom, a stubbo ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Sep 30, 2008 Tattered Cover Book Store added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tattered Cover by: Cathy G, Jinx
Shelves: staff-recommends
Cathy G says:
"This is one of my all-time favorite reads! I re-read it periodically, with an atlas nearby so I can visualize all the characters' travels. The plot centers around a fabulous Moorish filigreed chess set originally given to Charlemagne, which possesses such powers that over the ages, people play the parts of the chess pieces in life--black or white team--as they hunt for the actual pieces. The stakes for winning the game are awesome power, to be used to good or evil depending on who
Jan 13, 2009 Gail rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: losers
I was given this novel to read, as a similar level of enjoyment as The DaVinci Code.
I'm here to say, not even close.
It has all the hallmarks that lead to an enjoyable read for me - historical figures, layered storylines, small details that add to great importance as the story develops, and zzzzzz.....

Let me state that I enjoy playing chess. However, reading about it is something of a completely different nature. Figures, playing methodologies, inside references, et al just made my eyes glaze ove
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Probably about 3.5 stars, actually.

Strong on plot; not so much on characterization. The plot's a doozy, though.
I first read this slightly paranormal, somewhat sexy suspense novel about ten years ago, after completing a similar book, The Da Vinci Code. Keep in mind, The Eight was published in 1988, more than a decade before TDVC.

In my view, Neville is the better storyteller, comparatively more interesting than Dan Brown. While their books are similar in several aspects — a frenzied, globe-trotting hunt for clues, immortality, immense power, a man and woman teaming up and falling in love — Neville penned
Deda Makinde
Aug 29, 2007 Deda Makinde added it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favourites
This book is a lovely read. It actually uses flashbacks very effectively, and the author is a genius - she did her research very very well to be able to involve almost every major thing that has happened in the world in the story. The fibonacci number series, The Egyptian Pyramids, The French Revolution, Napoleon's rise and fall, Bach and other famous composers and many more. Name it, its in there, and its all linked to the present. Now. I could not put it down, and after all this time I still r ...more
Η Κάθριν Βέλλις βρίσκεται μπλεγμένη σ'ένα παιχνίδι σκακιού. Ζωντανά πιόνια ψάχνουν για το σκάκι του Μονγκλάν, τα κομμάτια του οποίου είναι διάσπαρτα ανά τον κόσμο και το οποίο, εν τη ολότητι του, κρύβει ένα μυστικό (το οποίο και αυτό ψάχνουν).
(view spoiler)
Όταν οι Μαυριτανοί δώρισαν ένα σκάκι στον Καρλομάγνο, αυτός το δώρισε στο στρατιώτη του Γκαρέν και αυτός το έδωσε για φύλαξη στο Αβαείο του Μονγκλάν, όλοι φοβούμενοι τη μυστικιστική του
4 Good Good Good Stars (προς 5) . Επιτέλους! Το τελείωσα! Μετά από ένα μήνα διαβάσματος! Τι να πω για αυτό το βιβλίο??Τα λόγια είναι περιττά! Πολύ καλό! Συγκλονιστικό! Δύσκολο να το αφήσω στο τέλος. Το λάτρεψα με λίγα λόγια. Όμως θα μου πεις αφού το λάτρεψες γιατί 4 αστέρια. Λοιπόν, ας αρχίσω την λεπτομερειακή μου κριτική για αυτό το βιβλίο:
+ Πολύ καλή πλοκή/ιστορία Πολύ ωραίες σκηνές. Με σασπένς και πολύ πολύ δράση. Μου άρεσε πολύ η κύρια ηρωίδα. Ένας από τους αγαπημένους μου χαρακτήρες
Souro Jeet
বইটির ব্যাককভারে লেখা আছে,“দ্য দা ভিঞ্চি কোড পড়ে যেসব পাঠক রোমাঞ্চিত হয়েছেন বহুস্তরবিশিষ্ট সিক্রেটের দ্য এইট পড়ে আরেকবার মুগ্ধ হবেন তারা”।বইটি পড়তে পড়তে বারবার আমি এই কথাটার সার্থকতা উপলব্ধি করেছি।সত্যিই আমি মুগ্ধ হয়েছি।কাহিনী যত এগিয়েছে এই মুগ্ধতা বেড়েছে,বিন্দুমাত্র কমেনি।

বাস্তবিকই বহুস্তরবিশিষ্ট কাহিনী বলতে যা বোঝায় দ্য এইট তাই।বইটিতে মূলত বর্ণিত হয়েছে দুই সময়ের দুটি কাহিনী যা বইয়ের শেষে এসে মিলিত হয়েছে এক বিন্দুতে।দুটো কাহিনীই সমান্তরালভাবে চলেছে।একটি কাহিনীর শুরু ১৭৯০ সালে,অন্যটির ১৯৭২ সালে।
I have never written anything beyond a few pages so am utterly unqualified to make this statement, but this book is not good.

The story itself is interesting and makes a decent effort to be enjoyable, but the storytelling does everything it can to keep that from happening. The writing lacks character and detail: story just happen, location is no more than where, suspense and urgency feel absent. It just wasn't fun to read.

Add to that an intertwining past and present story line, which adds value b
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Katherine Neville is an American author. Her novels include The Eight, A Calculated Risk, and The Magic Circle. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and she previously worked as a photographer, a model, a consultant at the Department of Energy, and a vice president of the local Bank of America.

More about Katherine Neville...

Other Books in the Series

The Eight (2 books)
  • The Fire (The Eight #2)
The Fire (The Eight #2) The Magic Circle A Calculated Risk El Ocho: Vol. 1 El Ocho: Vol. 2

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