Katherine Neville, Author Ballantine Books $18.95 (550p) ISBN 978-0-345-35137-1
Even readers with no interest in chess will be swept up into this astonishing fantasy-adventure, a thoroughly accomplished first novel. Catherine Velis, a computer expert banished to Algeria by her accounting firm, gets caught up in a search for a legendary chess set once owned by Charlemagne. An antique dealer, a Soviet chess master, KGB agents and a fortune-teller who warns Catherine she's in big trouble all covet the fabled chess pieces, because the chess service, buried for 1000 years in a French abbey, supplies the key to a magic formula tied to numerology, alchemy, the Druids, Freemasonry, cosmic powers. As the story shuttles between the 1970s and the 1790s, we are introduced to 64 characters, including Mireille, a spunky French nun who helps scatter the individual chess pieces across Europe lest the set fall into evil hands. Involving Napoleon, Talleyrand, Casanova, Voltaire, Rousseau, Robespierre and Catherine the Great in the quest, Neville has great fun rewriting history and making it all ring true. With two believable heroines, nonstop suspense, espionage, murder and a puzzle that seems the key to the whole Western mystical tradition, this spellbinder soars above the level of first-rate escapist entertainment. Daring, original and moving, it seems destined to become a cult classic. $100,000 ad/promo; major foreign sales; BOMC altenate. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 608 pages - 978-0-345-36623-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-90133-0
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-4274-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 672 pages - 978-0-345-50892-8
Ebook - 608 pages - 978-0-345-51461-5
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-0-345-41908-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-91321-0
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-0-7393-5433-9
Hardcover - 732 pages - 978-0-552-15467-3
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