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The Fire: A Novel (The Eight Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Katherine Neville
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Katherine Neville’s groundbreaking novel, The Eight, dazzled audiences more than twenty years ago and set the literary stage for the epic thriller. A quest for a mystical chess service that once belonged to Charlemagne, it spans two centuries and three continents, and intertwines historic and modern plots, archaeological treasure hunts, esoteric riddles, and puzzles encrypted with clues from the ancient past. Now the electrifying global adventure continues, in Neville’s long anticipated sequel: THE FIRE

2003, Colorado: Alexandra Solarin is summoned home to her family’s ancestral Rocky Mountain hideaway for her mother’s birthday. Thirty years ago, her parents, Cat Velis and Alexander Solarin, believed that they had scattered the pieces of the Montglane Service around the world, burying with them the secrets of the power that comes with possessing it. But Alexandra arrives to find that her mother is missing and that a series of strategically placed clues, followed swiftly by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious assortment of houseguests, indicates that something sinister is afoot. 

When she inadvertently discovers from her aunt, the chess grandmaster Lily Rad, that the most powerful piece of Charlemagne’s service has suddenly resurfaced and the Game has begun again, Alexandra is swept into a journey that takes her from Colorado to the Russian wilderness and at last into the heart of her own hometown: Washington D.C.

1822, Albania: Thirty years after the French Revolution, when the chess service was unearthed, all of Europe hovers on the brink of the War of Greek Independence. Ali Pasha, the most powerful ruler in the Ottoman Empire, has angered the sultan and is about to be attacked by Turkish forces. Now he sends the only person he can rely upon–his young daughter, Haidee–on a dangerous mission to smuggle a valuable relic out of Albania, through the mountains and over the sea, to the hands of the one man who might be able to save it.

Haidee’s journey from Albania to Morocco to Rome to Greece, and into the very heart of the Game, will result in revelations about the powerful chess set and its history that will lead at last to the spot where the service was first created more than one thousand years before: Baghdad.

Blending exquisite prose and captivating history with nonstop suspense, Neville again weaves an unforgettable story of peril, action, and intrigue.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fans of Neville's debut, The Eight (1988), which long before there was a Da Vinci Code featured a complex historical setting, ciphers, conspiracies, puzzles and a hunt for an object that could change the course of the world, will welcome this stellar sequel. Alexandra Solarin, child chess prodigy now grown, finds herself immersed in the Game, searching for a legendary chess set, the Montglane Service, which when assembled spells out the formula for the secret of immortality. The quest for the set ranges from the harem of Ali Pasha in 19th-century Albania to present-day Baghdad and Washington, D.C., and involves such historic figures as Charlemagne, Isaac Newton, Lord Byron and Napoleon. Despite the staggering amount and quality of the research, nothing feels shoehorned or extraneous. The story's relentless pace is matched by characters both sympathetic and real. In the end, readers will be heartened to find signs pointing to the continuation of the Game in future novels. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Twenty years after The Eight, Neville finally unveils the next chapter in Cat Velis’ story. Alexandra Solarin, Cat’s daughter, receives an invitation from her mom to visit her in Colorado. When Alexandra arrives, she finds that her mother has vanished and that the clues left behind reveal a sinister mystery. To find her mom, Alexandra will have to pursue the same “game” that Cat did years earlier, searching for the pieces of an ancient chess set with mystical properties. Unfortunately, the people accompanying her on her journey might not be trustworthy. Alexandra’s quest is intertwined with the story of a young girl in 1822 named Haidee, faced with a parallel challenge involving the great English poet Lord Byron. Fans of The Eight who have long awaited the rest of the story will be delighted with this entrancing blend of history, chess, and high adventure. --Jeff Ayers

Product Details

  • File Size: 3762 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345500679
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 6, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015DYKDO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,697 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was prepared to love it, but I didn't October 27, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a sequel to the spectacularly awesome 20-year-old book, "The Eight," I was sure I was going to love this book. "The Eight" was so well written. It was challenging and fun and intriguing and deep. I was on the edge of my seat and lost quite a bit of sleep trying to finish it. I was so impressed with Ms. Neville's writing skill that I was certain I'd love anything else she'd written.

Wrong. I'm so incredibly disappointed. The style of "The Fire" was so different that it seemed like it was written by a completely different author. I just couldn't believe it was written by the same woman. It was complicated and convoluted rather than refreshingly complex. The prose at many points was trite, whereas "The Eight" was stylish and significant.

I wasn't excited about the plot until about 250 pages into the book. That's a long time to be plodding through. I felt particularly mired down early in the book during a chapter filled to the brim with Arab names of people and places. I had a really difficult time figuring out what was going on with the story because I couldn't pronounce the names or keep them straight. There were plenty of Arab names in "The Eight," too, so I guess they weren't all crammed in there like a history lesson since I didn't stumble at all in the first book.

There were two things in particular that really bugged me about this book. The first was the overuse of clichés while trying to be clever about it. If you read this book, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about after you read, "As Key would say," followed by a cliché like Practice Makes Perfect for the tenth (or twentieth) time. The second was the lack of real tension or danger. The characters kept saying they were scared to death, but I couldn't reason why.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Little Sequel That Couldn't November 4, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm sorry to say that I found this book to be an utter disappointment. The Eight was amazing, so if you haven't read it - do, but then resist the temptation for more and don't read The Fire. It's too bad that Katherine Neville didn't go with her initial gut reaction that "the way for [The Eight] to remain unique was not to make it into a sequel..." because I really feel like she slapped something together to sell books to everyone who loved The Eight. I would have liked this book much better if there had been a depth to character development that there was in The Eight, and plot development, and denouement equal to that of The Eight. Someone mentioned cider and roller skates - it was really ridiculous. And then it just ends. Like she just got up from her desk one day and said, "okay, I'm tired of this, let's wrap it up." then wrote two more pages and called it done. It's really too bad, because with more time and attention it could have been great.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Erratic, convoluted, ultimately unsatisfying November 4, 2008
I started re-reading The Eight as soon as I found out that I was going to get an advance reader's copy of The Fire. It was as good as I remembered.

The Fire, on the other hand, was like a knight on a chessboard. It moved two forward then one sideways, then two to the right and one back. I didn't find it cohesive. Characters appeared and left abruptly, plot lines started up then petered out.

It picks up many years after Cat Velis and Alexander Solarian ended The Game and got married. Their 12-year old daughter Alexandra is a chess wizard. Something goes terribly wrong in Russia when she and her father go there for a match, and it turns out that The Game has started up again.

The action was very improbable. Alexandra is estranged from her mother but gets invited to her house in Colorado, solves some very strange and esoteric clues, and all of a sudden her aunt and opponent-to-be from the never-started or finished match in Russia show up. Nokomis Key, a childhood friend, is coincidentally available to fly everybody all over the place to meet people who spout obscure clues and hint at things never explained. Then we're back in Washington DC, with a lot of early American history thrown in to explain the interesting nature of the city's layout and a strange dinner party that just seems put there to describe the meal and exclaim over who was invited. But the food sounded wonderful.

We also meet some extremely surprising characters. There is the obligatory second time period plot and it all gets convoluted and nothing ever seems to resolve to my satisfaction.

There are wonderful historical facts and events explained in ways that tie the entire world together in a satisfying way from a purely intellectual viewpoint.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Last Disappointment October 27, 2008
Katherine Neville has once again disappointed me, and this is the last time.

I read "The Eight" years ago, and loved it. Looking back, it was groundbreaking in its use of both contemporary and historical threads to weave its tale, and combining this with its metaphysical aspects, it was indeed a heady brew.

Unfortunately her next two novels were pedestrian at best, and I came to believe that the magic of "The Eight" was not to be recaptured.

When I saw this sequel on sale, I put aside my reservations and jumped at the chance to once again immerse myself in the world I so fondly remember from her maiden novel.

Alas, you cannot go home again- at least Katherine Neville cannot. This book is just atrocious. Starting with her main character, who juxtaposes the qualities of a chess genius with a simpleton, and who fails to incite any interest or care on the part of the reader, this story is a horrible amalgamation of lame characters [even those who had seemed fascinating all those years ago], indecipherable plot twists, no real action or suspense other than an absurd ending which involves roller skates and cider jugs, and a Secret which is revealed in the last two pages, and which winds up being more a hackneyed cliche than an Earth shattering [and reforming] Ultimate Truth [or Original Direction to use the novel's own terminology].

I have reluctantly realized that Ms. Neville is not a very good writer, and that "The Eight" was one of those serendipitous occurrences, a true Black Swan, which is unexplainable, and, unfortunately, unrepeatable. It took her decades to attempt to recreate her success- now we know she shouldn't have tried.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Author!
Not as clever as "Eight". but great read!
Published 1 month ago by lilliewebb97
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but condition of book was poor
The description said the book was listed as being in Good condition. Their description of good, and mine, are completely different. It was extremely used. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lisa H
5.0 out of 5 stars FIRE
Interesting book. Better read Eight first.
Published 4 months ago by Fisher Girl
1.0 out of 5 stars What Dan Brown hath wrought
An avalanche of stories premised on nonsensical mystic conspiracies reaching back millennia and involving every institution and civilization imaginable. Read more
Published 6 months ago by velaphi
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece
I had already bought this book before but lost it during a move and I was very happy to find a copy at an unbeatable price. I will be able to re read this masterpiece for years
Published 7 months ago by DimiGuild
1.0 out of 5 stars How To Write a Bestseller
1. Introduce each chapter with quotes related to the topic of your book. You found hundreds of 'em? Well, then, don't use just one when you can use four or five. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Norah Penn Efron
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Not read yet
Published 8 months ago by T. Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great read by a Wonderful writer.
Published 10 months ago by Suzanne Beaudoin
2.0 out of 5 stars It was okay...
I thought the first book "The Eight" was amazing (I reread it about every 5 years); "The Fire" read more like a first effort. Read more
Published 10 months ago by carol mahoner
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing follow on to the eight
Couldn't put it down from start to finish

Unlike any other books
Amazing writer
Highly recommend great story

Well done
Published 10 months ago by Lisa
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More About the Author

Born in 1945, Katherine Neville has had an extraordinary life, living in almost every state in North America. Aside from her work as an international bestselling author, she has worked as an international computer executive, a painter, photographer, and a waitress. Katherine lives in Virginia, Washington and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit the author's website at:

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Topic From this Discussion
The Fire, Katherine Neville
It all leads to the inevitable conclusion: whoever ghost-wrote THE EIGHT should be hired back.

None of Neville's next three novels came even close to the sophistication and narrative clarity of the first book published under her name. And if you found THE FIRE bad, you should see what a mess... Read More
Aug 14, 2009 by NeuroSplicer |  See all 3 posts
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