Katherine Neville has travelled throughout the world. She has been a model, portrait painter, commerical photographer, data processor and Vice President of the Bank of America. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
In this ``astonishing fantasy-adventure,'' 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. ``A thoroughly accomplished first novel,'' praised PW , ``daring, original and moving, it seems destined to become a cult classic.'' (Feb.)
The Montglane Service, an ornate, jeweled chess set given to Charlemagne by the Moors, is said to hold a code which when deciphered will bring great power. Nations and individuals have schemed to possess all the pieces. As the set is dispersed during the French Revolution, a young novice risks her life to safeguard it. Alternating with her story are the present-day efforts of a U.S. computer expert and a Russian chess master to assemble the set and solve its mystery. Studying the code involves musical notation, chess strategy, Fibonacci numbers, and mysticism. This intriguing and complex first novel, while offering historical insights and interesting introductory quotations, calls occasionally for the suspension of credulity. The interweaving of fact and fiction is skillfully done. Highly recommended. BOMC selection.-- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines