Author: Katherine Neville
Computer expert Cat Velis is heading for a job to Algeria. Before she goes, a mysterious fortune teller warns her of danger, and an antique dealer asks her to search for pieces to a valuable chess set that has been missing for years…In the South of France in 1790 two convent girls hide valuable pieces of a chess set all over the world, because the game that can be played with them is too powerful….
GEMS: A well-contructed and researched historical fiction novel that has all the potential and mystery needed to create an interesting read. The knowledge and interwoven use of the game of chess into the plot and characters is masterly crafted. Targets the academic and chess enthusiast reader.
FLAWS: Unfortunately the plot moves too slow for the suspense and mystery to be engaging. If you are not familiar or into the game of chess you might find the grueling details boring and over the top. I confess that after multiple attempts, I could not finish the book. I made it 3/4 of the way through. It simply just moved so slow that I felt as if I was wasting my time. As a reader I needed more to happen to keep me interested in the tiny print and vast pages. The premise sounded so fascinating and I was left feeling cheated that the story didn’t live up to the back cover. I felt like I was stuck in the chess club rather than a historical suspense mystery.
Bitsy’s Rating: 1 Star