ROW of Eight

Hi everyone! It’s another sunny Sunday here after a week of thunderstorms and general mayhem. The week might be best summed up by a visit from the turkey that roams our neighborhood, standing in the middle of the street completely unconcerned until 5 seconds after a car honked at it – then, running ten feet and looking around trying to figure out why it ran. Gotta love turkeys.

Today, I’ll be reviewing The Eight followed by my weekly ROW update. Enjoy.

Review of The Eight by Katherine Neville.

The Eight is a chess thriller with twists, turns and international intrigue spanning the two hundred year journey of the Montglane Chess Service. The book bounces back and forth in time between the experiences of Mirelle de Remy, a nun pledge at Montglane Abbey at the outbreak of the French Revolution and Catherine Velis, a computer expert for a major accounting firm with an incorruptible attitude.

The Montglane Chess Service is a rumored item, stoked with power and symbolism, that is connected to Charlemagne. Given the service by the Moors, the great king of Christendom played a single game on it but became so frightened by the inner power of the Service that he ordered it hidden out of fear. But nothing remains hidden forever – and the French revolution forces the Montglane Service into the open again – its fate entrusted to the young inexperienced hands of Mirelle de Remy and her cousin.

Mirelle and her cousin, the beautiful and engaging Valentine, must guard the Service while trying to dodge the dangers of the French Revolution in Paris, such as the Terror where thousands are beheaded without reason. Some will live, others die, allies are made and enemies are beyond count – Neville entwines near-accurate history through the travels of the heroes from France to Russia to England to the desert wastes of what is now Algeria (heartland of the one time Moors).

Katherine Neville

Enter Catherine Velis. Catherine is a bright young professional in the 1970’s male dominated world of accounting and finance and more interested in truth than in kowtowing to the “old boys club”. This earns Catherine a trip to Algeria to to work with the “brand new” oil organization OPEC. And, since she’s going, perhaps she can locate a few missing pieces of the Montglane Service that are rumored to be hidden out in the sands – at least that is what a friends son and a mysterious fortune teller seem to think. Catherine isn’t quite sure.

Soon after the offer to find the pieces, Catherine finds herself caught up in an unstoppable maelstrom of international chess intrigue where players are agents and it is often hard to know which team (white or black, of course) the people she meets are playing for. Or who controls the pieces. But one thing is clear early on – whomever controls the Montglane Service controls the key to the greatest powers of the universe – and Neville’s brilliant twisting of science, history and myth makes one think that such a thing just might be possible.

The Eight unravels a thrill ride worthy of The Da Vinci Code, but written fifteen years before Brown’s book. I won’t say that I enjoyed every page of this 600-pager, however, I enjoyed the journey as a whole and the mystery that Neville spins around the Montglane Chess Service and Mirelle de Remy are well worth the journey of discovery.

And now, on to the update.

Having just talked chess, I thought this was the best pic. Mine is black, of course.

-Write 7k of fiction each week. My trend to the 6k range continued this week with 6724, but still no worries. I’ve been setting up my new smart phone to work as a mobile work station (of sorts) which is going well. Have to maximize the moments and I can see a big productivity boost coming in the near future as a result of this addition. I can now use my phone to write, manage email/social media/blogging, keep notes (Evernote), save and access files (Dropbox), read (Kindle for Android), and a host of other things. Fun stuff, but I’m still in the learning curve on most of the apps and building processes for managing everything. Another week or two should see me up to speed.

-Read and review 4 books by May 20. The Eight was the third and I’m currently halfway through Memo from the Story Dept. by Vogler and McKenna, which I will hopefully be reviewing next Sunday.

-Visit at least 15 ROWer’s each Sunday. I visited 18 last week and hope for as many today. As I travel about the updates I’m seeing quite a few of you as avid supporters of your fellow ROWite’s and that really warms my heart. Thanks for all the support you offer to each other – wonderful to see *smile*

Have a great week.

Peaceful Journeys!


About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. β€œOnly the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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14 Responses to ROW of Eight

  1. EM Castellan says:

    6K a week, I’m very impressed that you manage to keep that goal, congratulations! You seem to be doing very well with your goals, so I hope you have another great week! Happy writing!

  2. Love that you’re making the most of those “stolen moments” using your new smart phone. (I will enter the 21st century at some point. I call my cell my “dinosaur phone.”)
    Perhaps I should add a word count for my writing. It’s good to have measurable goals.
    I have to get back to writing my “special interest” blog posts. I’ve done okay keeping up with posting a new poem each day, but posting under the other topics has fallen behind.
    Anyhoo, have a great week.

  3. Your turkey sounds like the roadrunner we occasionally see, LOL. Fabulous review. The more I read about people and their smart phones…well, I kinda wish I could justify the cost to upgrade. Another stellar week Gene, wishing you more of the same for the upcoming week.

  4. lagarafalo says:

    Poor turkey! He sounds confused LOL. You’re doing fantastic with your word count goal! Almost 7k is nothing to sneeze at. Love how you’re making your cell phone do useful. I downloaded Evernote awhile ago but haven’t tried it. How do you like it?? Have a fantastic week!

  5. We have a turkey in our neighborhood, too. And sometimes chickens. I am amused by their wanderings. I haven’t tried evernote but your post reminds me…. I want to! Great on your word count goals. You are, as always, an inspiration!

  6. KM Huber says:

    The premise of The Eight certainly intrigues; believe I may have read other Katherine Neville books. As always, Gene, a visit to your blog inspires. Have a great week. Oh, have heard only good recommendations for Evernote; hope it works for you.


  7. Juliana Haygert says:

    Poor Turkey lol
    Another awesome week under your belt! Great, Gene! Keep it up πŸ˜‰ (I’m sure you will!)

  8. Jenny Hansen says:

    You slay me, Gene! Thanks again for a great update. πŸ™‚

  9. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Thank you for the fascinating review. Eight sounds like a book I’d enjoy. And it’s awesome you’re mastering apps and turning your phone into a work station. Congrats on doing so well with your goals this week.

  10. It took me way too long to get around over here, Gene. I’m impressed by the book review with your goals. It is a very classy touch. I wish I could keep up with reading like that. It takes me too much for what I’m already working on.

    Great goals for the week! Sounds like you are making wonderful progress. Keep it up. And I’m not sure if the Turkey sums up your week or mine. πŸ˜€

  11. Em says:

    Your word count is still great!! And the way you are using your phone is brilliant…I am so lost without my laptop at the moment maybe I need to look into phone apps more.

    Thanks for your comment and have a great week!

    • Gene Lempp says:

      EM Castellen: Thanks for the support!

      Steph: I actually have several word count goals. The one I use for ROW is my minimum, the top one is 2740 a day. I find that using tiers gives me a way to attain what I need to feel I’ve accomplished something while providing stretch goals that make me want to push for more. Up until I had a couple of colds (was sick most of April) I had a few weeks where I wrote close to 20k by using this method. Glad you stopped by πŸ™‚

      Raelyn: I’m with you, it was a major discussion between the wife and I to justify the upgrade cost, however, we are both working hard to make them worth their weight in gold. A smart phone is not a toy, its a major tool. Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

      Lauren: Lovin Evernote so far. I have one screen dedicated to my various task lists and it has taken over the written worksheet I used to use. Which was all part of the plan (yeah, I’m a major planner for events like this, months of research). I think Evernote (and programs like it) are most useful with mobile tech since a desktop isn’t always handy and is easy to avoid.

      Karen: The Eight was a good read, excellent concept, but does take a bit of mental endurance – which isn’t a bad thing to exercise at times. Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

      Juliana: Thanks!

      Jenny: It’s a mutual thing πŸ™‚

      Reetta: Give The Eight a try, you’ll know by about the 50 page mark if you want to go the whole 600 or not. Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

      Jayrod: Great to see you and thanks for the compliment, much appreciated. I think the turkey sums all of our weeks at times – things aren’t always smart but at least we can make them entertaining πŸ™‚

      Em: Love the timing of your comment. I was just finishing reading two chapters in the Vogler book while walking on the treadmill when my phone chimed that I had a new email. And, while still walking, I read your comment on my phone. None of us can make “more time”, but we can find better ways to use what we have. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the timely comment πŸ˜€

  12. Hi Gene. I’ve just finished reading about the Terror and The Eight sounds interesting. There aren’t many fiction books with a chess theme!


  13. Julie Glover says:

    What a great week, Gene! I love your high word counts and the simplicity of your goals. I’ve had a stellar writing week, but some of my other tasks have been neglected. Next week, I may look a bit like the turkey, caught off guard and running to get out of the way of disaster. Best wishes with your goals!

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