I loved The Eight when I read it a while ago and a reread several days ago showed again how well that book holds up, how great a book it was and why it basically launched the new genre of historical thrillers to big prominence and big money. The only fault of The Eight is that it enabled so much junk to appear.
The Fire has the same light tone and page turning style than The Eight to show it's written by Ms. Neville and not a more modern "I can insult your intelligence and laugh about it" thriller author and for that I give it 2 stars - in the memory of The Eight so to speak, but otherwise it is ridiculously bad, not even deserving one star.
Atrocious plotting - even the main heroine admits that about 2/3 of the book could have been avoided with one conversation - and the ending, well the less spoken about, the better...
Characters that are dumb and dumber including villains declaiming their evil intent - the only thing that was missing was a big sign on their forehead saying villain
The historical part is even worse - the constraints of The Eight reduced it to empty name-dropping, trite adventures and cheap melodrama. Where are the powerful characters of The Eight like Talleyrand, Marat, The Abbess, Catherine the Great and the rest???
Read The Eight and then if you wish another taste of Cat, Lily, Nim and the rest read this one but do not rush