Rate and Review: 4/5
I do love Neville’s writing. It’s griping, there’s always something happening, the plot is always pulling me in, everything seems perfect. However, the “the Eight” was not as enjoyable as the “a Calculated Risk” was.
The reason for that? Too many characters, too many historical events intertwined, in general, too much going on to keep track of and recall. Not that the reader will get confused about what’s going on. That’s perfectly clear. But, if the reader is like me, reading the book on and off over a period of time, he or she will find it challenging recalling the various names that fly through the story.
In my mind, the “a Calculated Risk” was easier to swallow, better paced and in general, much easier to enjoy.
Still, if you invest the time and attention that this book requires, you will find a spectacular story that mixes Charlemagne, Napoleon, Catherine the Great, etc.
I loved it, I just felt like it was more work than joy.
PS: Some people compare this book to the “the DaVinci code” by Dan Brown. First off, let me say that Neville’s writing is truly a novel writing art. Brown edges to script writing; for b movies, if that. Also, more importantly, the “the Eight” was published in 1988. Some 25 years before Brown’s abomination. Just saying…
PS2: Here you can find a supposedly negative criticism on the book. It is the New York Times review, by Florence King. I cannot argue with the review, what it says is mostly true, but I can’t see why that should be a bad thing. Yes, riddles come and go and nerdy facts pop up throughout the story. So, what?