Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Ringing Endorsement for "The Eight"
Marcus Brewster proposed the top 10 best pre-"DaVinci Code" type books of all time - he calls them "millenial thrillers." The top ranked book is Katherine Neville's "The Eight." Marcus Brewster 18 September 2008 04:11 (1) Katherine Neville "The Eight". Long before there was Dan Brown, a female writer Katherine Neville penned a spirited debut novel, "The Eight". Published in 1988, Eight is a quest for the legendary Montglane chess service and the earth-shattering secret it reveals when all the pieces are assembled on the board. Eight's spirit is closer to "Romancing the Stone" in that it has a female protagonist, an unusual conceit even pre the boom in airport reads which are traditionally testosterone fuelled. Whereas many millennial thrillers have a historical prologue as a scene set for the modern quest, much of Eight is set in the last few centuries as Neville describes how the greatest minds of preceding generations were tantalized by the mystery of the Montglane set and sought it for themselves. Neville's cunningness brings to life everyone from Catherine the Great to Napoleon, from Jacques-Louis David to Wordsworth and makes you wonder if their contribution to history hasn't been mis-stated. Endlessly diverting and full of charm, Eight is the gold standard against which all others should be measured.