THE EIGHT (1988) is the story of the quest for a fabulous, gold-and-silver, bejeweled chess set that once belonged to Charlemagne. It has been buried for a thousand years. At the dawn of the French Revolution, when soldiers are looting the abbeys and monasteries, the set is dug up from an abbey in the Pyrenees and scattered around the world. This begins a 200-year-long chase across the globe– from the 1790s of the Revolution to the 1970s of the OPEC embargo — with 64 characters, (32 historic and 32 modern) all seeking the pieces in a giant chess game that forms the plot. The Eight was an instant bestseller in 12 languages (Now in more than forty languages), has received numerous awards, and in a national poll of the noted Spanish journal, El Pais, it was voted one of the top ten books of all time!
New York City, 1972—A dabbler in mathematics and chess, Catherine Velis is also a computer expert for a Big Eight accounting firm. Before heading off to a new assignment in Algeria, Cat has her palm read by a fortune-teller. The woman warns Cat of danger. Then an antiques dealer approaches Cat with a mysterious offer: He has an anonymous client who is trying to collect the pieces of an ancient chess service, purported to be in Algeria. If Cat can bring the pieces back, there will be a generous reward.
The South of France, 1790—Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortresslike Montglane Abbey. With France aflame in revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life—and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the abbey are pieces of the Montglane Chess Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Whoever reassembles the pieces can play a game of unlimited power. But to keep the Game a secret from those who would abuse it, the two young women must scatter the pieces throughout the world. . . .