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The Fire Hardcover – 3 Nov 2008

2.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (3 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007305710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007305711
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘The premise of THE FIRE is refreshingly original … several notches above the world’s bestselling author, Dan Brown.’ Independent

'Katherine Neville has a remarkable ability to weave strands of history into one vivid tale. Readers who love culture, travel, and, of course, the detective work of research, will delight in this work.' Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian

'Katherine Neville's The Fire proves once again that she is the true grand master of international intrigue and historical mystery. Relentless, gripping, convoluted, and grand, this is a classic for the new millennium.' James Rollins, author of The Last Oracle

'One of the best novels I've read this year…The Fire is a compulsively readable novel for Da Vinci Code fans, as brilliantly complex as a grand-master chess match. I could not put this book down' Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence

'I've been waiting for twenty years to find out what happened after The Eight. Katherine Neville answers that longing in a story that skilfully moves players around a global chessboard and expertly blends history, science, myth and more. Katherine Neville is the undisputed queen of the international suspense genre.' Steve Berry, author of The Venetian Betrayal

Praise for THE EIGHT:
'Stellar… The story's relentless pace is matched by characters both sympathetic and real.' Publishers Weekly

'Readers thrilled by The Da Vinci Code will relish the multi-layered secrets of The Eight.'
Matthew Pearl, author of 'The Dante Club'


'The epic sequel to Neville's entrancing novel The Eight. 3 stars.'
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As you've probably gathered from the title of my review, I loved "The Eight", like many reviewers of this book. Like many of them too I find myself deeply disappointed. Basically, it's as if all of the things you loved about the original have been carefully cut away, leaving only a rather trite, confusing, uninteresting mess. There is a hell of a lot of, for want of a better description , running-around-all-over-the-place-for-the-sake-of-running-around-all-over-the-place-and-no-other-reason. There's not great truth or revelation in the end, and no sense of satisfaction in getting there, other than a sense of relief that the tedium is over.

If you haven't read the Eight, then please do so - it's great. Do yourself a favour and don't bother with The Fire, though. It's really not worth it.
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Format: Paperback
I read Katherine Neville's "The Eight", two years ago, I thought it was a brilliant book, and I was thrilled to find out that a sequel was announced. As most readers of "The Eight", I preordered "The Fire" and counted the days and the hours until its release. I honestly have to say that I liked the book and I was not exactly disappointed with it, but I can understand why some people were. The problem with writing a brilliant novel is that you set the bar extremely high and it is practically impossible to do it again. So the reason that most people did not like "The Fire", is not that it is a bad book, not a mediocre book even, it simply is that they expected it to be as good as "The Eight" and it just couldn't be.

The idea is the same as with "The Eight"; parallel storylines of fictional and historical characters involved in a 'game' that started in the 8th century AD with the creation of the Montglane Chess and continues to this day. The protagonist is Cat's daughter Xie who is caught up in the game when her mother disappears and the parallel story is set in 19th century involving Lord Byron and Ali Pasha's daughter Haidee. I found the historical characters very convincing, perhaps with a few historical errors, but then again it would take an expert to spot them and this is fiction. The modern characters are complex and well developed but they are not as real as they were in the first book, it almost seems that a loving parent relates his children's story without completely empathising with them.

The story is great; lots of twists and turns, wonderful descriptions especially in the modern plot, romance, suspense and humour, every aspect of "The Eight" is here too.
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Format: Hardcover
How do you write a sequel to an astonishing work of imagination like The Eight? Very carefully . . . as witnessed by the long delay between the original and the sequel. But perhaps not carefully enough as judged by the challenges of inserting new meaning into well developed material in The Eight.

The Fire has to be seen as a sequel. As a stand-alone novel, the references to The Eight weigh down the book for a new reader in ways that would make the book almost impenetrable . . . and obscure at the same time.

Time has moved forward into the post-Second Iraq War period, creating a balance with the OPEC-related story lines in The Eight. As she did in The Eight, Katherine Neville has also moved back in time to create historical stories that march into the present time. These story lines cross in powerful ways.

The book opens as Aleksandr Solarin accompanies his daughter, Alexandra ("Xie"), to Zagorsk Monastery in Russia for a pivotal chess match in the autumn of 1993 where she will have a chance to earn grandmaster status at the tender age of eleven. While there, Aleksandr spots something that shouldn't be there . . . and it becomes clear that the Game he had sought to end years before has begun again.

You then travel to Albania in 1822 to meet Haidee, a pasha's daughter, who uncovers a sneak attack by Turkish forces on her father. Will she escape its consequences?

From there, the scene shifts to Mesa Verde in Colorado in the spring of 2003 as Alexandra arrives to visit for her mother's (Cat Velis) birthday party to discover that her mother missing, many puzzle clues, and an odd assortment of visitors arriving for the party. Clearly, these people seem to be positioning themselves for the Game. What is Alexandra's role?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having thoroughly enjoyed, and re-read, The Eight I was looking forward to the sequel. If you read The Fire without knowing the back-story I think you will enjoy it well enough, but might well find some of the characters confusing in their relationships and interactions. I don't think The Fire is as well structured or developed as The Eight, but that was always going to be a hard act to follow. The characters are not as charismatic or well-rounded, and I don't think that the storyline flows properly. I will read it again, but presently I am disappointed with the novel as I think a great opportunity has been missed to develop Lilly, Cat and the brothers' histories.
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Format: Paperback
I remember reading THE EIGHT when I was in graduate school and had enjoyed it immensely. On the strength of that experience I was fooled repeatedly into buying the next three books of Katherine Neville. All were flops. This one shall be the last because as the sequel to THE EIGHT, it was the most bitter disappointment. I promise to explain this with no spoilers.

First off, the writer either finds fact-verification a boring chore or holds little respect for historic facts - especially when in conflict with one of her irrelevant tangents she runs on off. Allow me to offer a couple of case in points.

The trend is set early on: the Greek city of Ioannina (named after St John or Ioannis) is misnamed "Janina" only to be very tenuously linked later on with the Roman God Janus (one of the few Roman Gods with Greek roots mind you!).
The city is located in the region of Epirus (I vacationed in Parga recently and visited Ioannina, only 60 miles away) whose old borders extent well into southern Albania. Thus, setting the location as "Janina, Albania" manages to contain two mistakes in two words. If she were trying to refer to the borders of the time of narration she should had written: "Ioannina, the Ottoman Empire". Albania was not independent until 1912 - and certainly NOT in the 1820's.

Ali Pasha was NOT an independent ruler as she goes on later. He was a shrewd and very able strategist, Muslim of Albanian origin, who was awarded the Pashilik [~local Governor] of Epirus under the Ottoman rule. When the Greeks fired off their Independence War in 1821 he tried to carve a kingdom for himself. His rebellion was thwarted after much effort by the Ottoman Turks who eventually had to assassinate him.
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