Publishers Weekly: Fire

Publishers Weekly starred book review of The Fire
October 2008

& Publishers Weekly “Galley Talk” book review of The Fire
September 15, 2008

Publishers Weekly Book Review


The Fire

Katherine Neville, Author

Ballantine $26 (451p) ISBN 978-0-345-50067-0

Fans of Neville’s debut, The Eight (1988), which long before there was a Da Vinci Code featured a complex historical setting, ciphers, conspiracies, puzzles and a hunt for an object that could change the course of the world, will welcome this stellar sequel. Alexandra Solarin, child chess prodigy now grown, finds herself immersed in “the Game,” searching for a legendary chess set, the Montglane Service, which when assembled spells out the formula for the secret of immortality. The quest for the set ranges from the harem of Ali Pasha in 19th-century Albania to present-day Baghdad and Washington, D.C., and involves such historic figures as Charlemagne, Isaac Newton, Lord Byron and Napoleon. Despite the staggering amount and quality of the research, nothing feels shoehorned or extraneous. The story’s relentless pace is matched by characters both sympathetic and real. In the end, readers will be heartened to find signs pointing to the continuation of the Game in future novels. 

This article appeared in the October 2008 issue of Publishers Weekly

Galley Talk: The Fire by Katherine Neville

Michelle McNamara, Murder by the Book, Houston, Tex.

I’ve waited more than 10 years for Katherine Neville’s The Fire [Ballantine, Oct. 14]. I’ve sold hundreds of copies of The Eight (a must-read for anyone who has somehow missed it) in anticipation of its arrival. I am thrilled to say that The Fire has exceeded every one of my expectations. These books defy the restriction of genre classifications and transport you into another book world all together. The Fire begins 12 years after The Eight ends, blending together most of our favorite characters, their offspring and an array of delightful new players as well. Solarin and Cat’s daughter, Alexandra, is the pivotal piece in this round of “the game.” This roller-coaster ride through history melds chess, food, theology and mythology with ease. I highly recommend pouring yourself a glass of Tempranillo and settling in for a great ride. And if you haven’t yet read The Eight, grab a copy and join in my love affair with “the Game.”

A version of this article appeared in the 09/15/2008 issue of Publishers Weekly