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The Eight: 10/05/07
I've had The Eight on the TBR shelf next to my bed for two or three years. I got it right around the time I had just finished reading The Da Vinci Code and the blurb on the back compared it to Brown's book and the Bookcrosser who gave me the book had liked the intricacies of the plot.
This 600 page mystery involves a formula for an elixir of life, a rare chess set and some Cold War era espionage. The story jumps between the close of the 18th century and "modern day" 1972. To make the chess themes stick the book has 64 characters (one per square) and whole bunch of boring detail taking so seriously that I was alternating between bored and bemused and the pretentiousness of this book.
I'll concede that Neville is probably a better writer than Brown but Brown seems to have more fun with his books. Dan Brown writes long winded shaggy dog stories that draw on subjects I'm interested in (art history and technology) to tell implausible but entertaining adventure stories. The Eight didn't capture me in the same way.