is a novel by American author Katherine Neville. Amateur chess player Catherine becomes involved in the search for a legendary chess set, the Montglane Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Split into double narratives, the novel also tells the story of eighteenth-century nun Mirellie and her attempts to protect the set.
- Action Girl: Catherine and Lily, but the most amazing one is Mirelle.
- Artistic License – History: Of course. Just a few: Basque people were never a menace for the Carolingian Empire. The rules for the Mad-Queen Chess, or modern chess, are from the XIV century, making it impossible to have a Chess Master associated with Charlemagne. In fact, in that era, there was no queen at all, but a piece named Vizier.
- Babies Ever After: Cat and Solarin had a daughter named Alexandra Solarin also is the whole reason the sequel exist.
- Big Brother Mentor: Nim to Cat.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Nim could fit into this since he is always one step ahead.
- Character Development: A lot! Lily starts as a Spoiled Brat and changes to Action Girl / Spoiled Sweet.
- Chess Motifs: The whole plot of the book.
- Crazy People Play Chess: One minor player insists that, when he captures a piece, a spectator be kicked out of the room so that the room's 'symmetry' is maintained.
- Doorstopper: 624 pages in the paperback edition.
- Glorious Mother Russia: The book is set on the Cold War and in Catherine the Great's Russia.
- Immortality Seeker: Mirelle and the whole cast at the end.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Again Alexander Solarin and Lily by the end.
- Nuns Are Funny: Valentine.
- Rule of Sexy: Solarin and how specially when they are traveling back to New York.
- Significant Birth Date: The main character was born on April 4, which ties in with a lot of the book's numerology and is also said to be an Islamic holy day.
- Smart People Play Chess
- Spoiled Brat: Lily is this at the beginning. It Gets Better.
- Soviet Russia, Ukraine, and So On: Solarin is the Soviet Grand Master of chess.
- Talking through Technique
- The French Revolution: Parts of the narrative are set during the revolution.