Katherine Neville's debut novel is a postmodern thriller set in 1972 ... and 1790. In the 20th century, Catherine Velis is a computer expert with a flair for music, painting, and chess who, on her way to Algeria at the behest of the accounting firm where she is employed, is invited to take a mysterious moonlighting assignment: recover the pieces of an old chess set missing for centuries.
In the midst of the French Revolution, a young novice discovers that her abbey is the hiding place of a chess set, once owned by the great Charlemagne, which allows those who play it to tap into incredible powers beyond the imagination. She eventually comes into contact with the major historical figures of the day, from Robespierre to Napoleon, each of whom has an agenda.
The Eight is a non-stop ride that recalls the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones as well as the historical puzzles of Umberto Eco which, since its first publication in 1988, has gone on to acquire a substantial cult following.
From Publishers Weekly
Nearly 20 years after it was first published, Neville's debut novel finally arrives on audio. Its combination of historical references, conspiracy theory and action/thriller format have earned it cult status over the years and may have paved the way for books like The Da Vinci Code
. Imposing a new format on a classic can be a tall order and a daunting task for a performer; fortunately, Susan Denaker's talents are level to the material. The book offers a full variety of challenges to a reader: over 60 characters, young and old, male and female, with accents from around the world. None of these pose any obstacle to Denaker, who deftly sculpts a voice for every one, including several famous historical characters. The Monteglane Service, a bejeweled chess set that holds great power, has been buried in an obscure abbey in the French countryside and later scattered throughout Europe to keep it out of the wrong hands. The tale takes place both in the 1790s and the 1970s, when it may finally fall into evil hands. Denaker is able to emphasize the appropriate speech nuances of each century with subtlety and deftness by adding the cadence of the aural to the mix. Perhaps the audio book, too, will reach cult status. A Ballantine paperback (Reviews, Nov. 4, 1988). (Oct.)
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