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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 August 2010
I bought this book about 18 or so years ago, purely because is was the fattest book in the shop. It was long before I had ever heard of Dan Brown. I devoured this book and then promptly read it all over again and I believe it is possibly the best book I have ever read. I must have read this book about 8 or 9 times now and all my friends and family have read it also, it is now very tatty with the pages falling out etc. but I have just started reading it again. I thoroughly thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
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on 2 April 2005
....there was already a novel of epic proportions, that had been published, read, appreciated by many, then lost to charity shops and bargain discount bookshops around the world. The book surpassed Brown's scope and dull narrative, while matching the exciting plot page for page.
"The Eight" is one part Dan Brown, one part "Alice through the looking glass", one part spy thriller, and one part Wilbur Smith, combining all these elements in an enticing and exciting tale of a legendary chessboard that has changed the face of history, and of the tale of the woman who is suddenly thrown into a deadly global game of chess against her will, and who must reassemble the chessboard to discover its secret. Along the way, as the tale of the fabulous chessboard is revealed, historical charactes such as Charlemagne and Catherine the Great are convincingly brought in. Of the more modern story of the heroine, Catherine Velis, the plot is filled with spies, assassins, powermongers, murderers, and people who will stop at nothing to own the chessboard for themselves.
The novel is breathlessly paced and well-researched, filled with larger-than-life characters who all play a part in the game, whether as pawns or major pieces. The tale is also filled with mysteries, puzzles and esoteric conundrums, some linked to historical characters, others to give the reader something to dwell on. Admittedly at times, I got the feeling that the point of reality was stretched just a little too far, but at the end of the day, it's a novel.
If you enjoyed the yarns of Dan Brown, have even the slightest interest in the game of chess, or just enjoy a well-researched and well-written novel, this novel should do more than just entertain you.
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on 17 April 2013
I first read this book around 20 years ago, impressed on me by my sister as a 'must read'. I was apprehensive, didn't like the sound of it being about chess but to shut her up I decided to give it ago. I couldn't put it down. Stayed up to all hours to finish it and I now re-read it once a year as I truly love it! If there is one book you must put on your bucket list, make it this one.
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on 6 December 2000
I first read thisbook 10 years ago when it was released, I lent it to somebody and never got it back. So I bought it again - guess what? it never came home again! The third copy I bought last year, I didn't even get to read it for a third time before my husband took it to Malaysia, lent it to a colleague there and never came back. I am now buying it again as I really want to read it again. The plot is so convoluted and has something for everyone. Ms Neville does not seem to have managed to recreate the magnificence of this first novel, with her other books, good though they are.
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on 7 June 2013
Dan Brown? Comparing Dan Brown to this is like comparing the Beano to War and Peace! I have read this book many times, and love it every single time. Though not a huge fan of historical novels, there is enough current (relatively), to maintain interest, and the historical facts interlace with fiction superbly. A beautifully written book, with sympathetic characters, it leads the reader on, desperate to make connections before they are revealed. It does take concentration however, or a vital clue, or piece of information can be lost.
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on 21 March 2012
This is I book I first read over 20 years ago when it first came out and I couldn't put it down. The book opens during the French revolution and sets the story. Basically it's about a fantastical chess service that when assembled reveals extrodinary powers and knowledge. It jumps to modern times and this is when we realise that across the globe there is a chess game being played out by the white team and the black team, just like in chess.
The plot jumps back and forward between these two interlinked events and this makes for a fast paced briliantly written mystical journey. The characters are likeable whose lives intertwine with eachother and the plot. The action is fast paced and the book takes you on an incredible adventure.

Over the years I have re read this book at least every two or three years and I still can't get enough of it. It remains firmally at my number one favourite book and believe me I have read hundreds. Take my advice though and don't bother with any other book written by this author. Not one comes close to the brilliance of this one even the follow up The Fire doesn't come close.
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on 3 March 2016
No great work of literature, but a reasonably enjoyable read.
This book was recommended to me by someone who really enjoyed it and has read it several times, but it wasn't for me.
As a chess player, I found it all nonsense. A range of notable historic characters were included, but I felt these were somewhat gratuitous. As a previous reviewer stated, it is a shame she repeatedly used the phrase 'if I had known what was going to happen' (or something similar); it was totally unnecessary to the storyline and did nothing to build tension etc.
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on 18 December 2012
This is one of the best books I have ever read and this copy is for a friend. There are two stories running side by side which, of course, merge in the end - it is just brilliant. I have give away several copies over the years and just wish the book could be 'Kindled' so I could carry it with me all the time.
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2005
It is nowadays quiete difficult not to refer to Dan Brown if one talks about historical mysteries as every book store seems to value books of this kind how close they come to Dan Browns's work. And this is how I stumbled on "The Eight" as it was placed on the shelf with the note "if you liked the Da Vinci Code" you will like this book too. Well, I did and very much so. However, I believe Katherine Neville's novel can stand quite on its on and does not need the appreciation deriving from the Da Vinci Code. Well, suppose one has to accept the marketing factor.
The novel tells actually two stories: one at the end of the 18th century/ beginning of the 19th century and the other in the mid 1970. Both stories are however one and step by step they are coming closer. One going forward, one going backwards. I love that technique. It is very interesting and one always has to perspectives. It keeps one motivated (very easily) to read on as one wants to know what happens in one or the order story. There is a great flow in the stories, Katherine Neville graps your attention, draws one into the story and she does not forget to add some humour.
Thanks Mrs. Neville for writing this book and giving me very enteraining hours. Of course 5 stars!!!
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on 12 May 2010
I consider myself a book lover, I devour books and enjoy getting lost in a wonderful story. I had just finished the magnificent Millenium Trilogy before embarking on The Eight, and was missing Lisbeth Salander immensely! Set in two eras... the 1790s and the 1970s, this tale revolves around the Montglane Service, an ancient chess set with incredible powers. I have to say, I far preferred the storyline from the 1700s and indeed Mirielle is by far the outstanding heroine of the book for me. In fact in my opinion a very credible book could have been produced by concentrating on the older story ALONE and forgetting about the 1970's half.

I was drained by the time I got to the end of this saga for many reasons which irritated me. The amount of characters for a start is enormous, the author could have done with culling half of them !! As soon as someone new is introduced to us, more often than not we have the inevitable sub-heading with THEIR STORY... so we have to plough through their entire background before we can proceed. I was on Panadol by the time this had occurred for the umpteenth time, and in so many of the cases, it didn't matter a fig if we knew all the bumph about them.. it had nothing to do with understanding the overall story.

The author's extremely irritating habit of repeatedly saying "if I had only known the consequences of doing so and so....." This habit grated on me before long.

In the wonderfully dramatic scene at the Montglane Abbey when the Abbess gathered the nuns together to explain the story of the Montglane Service and how it was now in peril from being stolen, she painted the Bishop of Autun as evil enemy number 1, the one person from whom the pieces had to be kept from. As it turned out this did not turn out to be the case at all !!!!! Quite the reverse in fact !.

The 1970's end of the tale revolves around Catherine Velis, a computer expert, Lily Rad, a chess fanatic and Solarin, a russian chess master. This end of the tale was so complex, so over the top, so utterly ridiculous that I found myself only sticking to the bitter end just to enjoy the older storyline which concentrated on the wonderful Mirielle.

I found myself mentally re-writing that scene in my head when the mother abbess gathers her flock together to tell them that they must scatter the Montglane pieces in case they fall into the wrong hands. In my version.......they dig up the pieces, the board and the cloth.....and take a quick trip to the sea... get in a boat... go out a few miles, just enough so its VERY deep........and drop the lot into the ocean... END OF !! It would have saved me about half a packet of Panadol. The tragic thing is... I bought the follow up THE FIRE at the same time !!! I don't know if I can mentally make myself start it.
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