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Literature / The Eight

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The Eight is a novel by American author Katherine Neville. Computer scientist Cat Velis 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 Mireille and her attempts to protect the set.


Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Catherine and Lily, but the most amazing one is Mireille.
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  • 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 who is the sequel's protagonist.
  • 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.
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  • Dark Is Not Evil: The main characters in the first book are on the black team. Cat Velis takes over from Mireille as the Black Queen. The antagonists are all on the white team. In the sequel it gets a little more complicated.
  • Doorstopper: 624 pages in the paperback edition.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Lily Rad, once she gets the chance to drive herself.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: The book's two parallel storylines are set in the Cold War and (in part) in Catherine the Great's Russia.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Almost everyone featured in the earlier timelines of both books.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The villain of the French Revolution timeline turns out not to be Talleyrand. It's not even Robespierre. It's Marat.
  • Immortality Seeker: Mireille in the first book and Charlot in the sequel.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Talleyrand for Mireille.
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  • Nerds Are Sexy: Alexander Solarin, and Vartan Azov in the sequel.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Catherine (Cat Velis, Catherine the Great, Catherine Grand-admittedly the latter two were real people, and thus unavoidable) also Charlot the falcon, Charlot de Remy, Charlotte de Remy, Charles Maurice Talleyrand, and of course, Charlemagne.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Valentine.
  • Pretty Boy: Talleyrand is explicitly described this way.
  • Reassignedto Antarctica: How Cat ends up in Algeria.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Between Mireille and Valentine.
  • Rule of Sexy: Solarin and how specially when they are traveling back to New York.
  • Significant Anagram: Gaelen March is an anagram for Charlemagne, first tipping Alexandra off that he's more than he seems.
  • 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. She improves later on.
  • Talking Through Technique
  • Two Lines, No Waiting

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