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The Eight by Katherine Neville
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Aug 31, 12

Read in May, 2011

An intriguing puzzle of a story, Katherine Neville's novel The Eight is a tale about an ancient mystery involving a chess set given to King Charlemagne for his birthday and originating in the middle east. The set gives clues to mysteries of life that great scientists and mathematicians have labored to discoverer over the centuries. Because of these ancient mysteries the set brings inherent danger and intrigue along with it and because of that it was hidden in the French convent Montglane Abbey until the dangers French Revolution shook the abbey. The Abbess took the pieces and scattered them with the nuns of the abbey, including the young cousins Valentina and Mireille.

The Eight is their story as they unravel the puzzle of the Montglane Chess Service. This game proves to be dangerous and involves such notables as Talleyrand, Robspierre, Napolean, Benedict Arnold, William Blake and others. There is also a parallel story set in 1972 with computer expert Catherine Velis. I love a story set in two time eras and Katherine Neville does an excellent job interweaving the elements of the story and creating suspense in both. She has also done a great deal of research regarding historic figures and science, mathematical and mystical theories.

The one drawback I found with the book, was that the language was at times a bit clunky, but I am willing to overlook that for a good tale.
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