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).
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.
-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.