Welcome to the Unofficial Katherine Neville Home Page. No, I am NOT Katherine Neville; I am Vicki Kondelik, a fan of hers. I created this page back in the 1990s because in those days, even though I know Katherine Neville had many fans, I hadn't found much about her on the Internet. Now, of course, she has her own wonderful website. And you can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. She also has her own Youtube channel where you can watch interviews with her.
BIG NEWS! The Eight is going to be made into a TV series by TriStar Television. Here's the discussion with the Madwoman's Book Club from Apr. 16, 2021, where Katherine Neville talks about it, and answers questions from readers, including one of mine, about why Catherine Grand looks so much like Valentine. What we know so far is that it's going to be an ongoing series, not a miniseries, which probably means it will go past the events of the book. But the TV deal doesn't include The Fire, so the events of The Fire won't be included. There's a young screenwriter working on it, someone who had never read the book before. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this, but Katherine Neville said this screenwriter is looking at it with fresh eyes, so it might be a good thing.
I am looking for people who were on a discussion board for Katherine Neville's books, called Ladies of Montglane, back in the late 1990s. If you were on that discussion board, please contact me.
Read the results of Katherine Neville's pirate contest
Read about my visit with Katherine Neville during my trip to Washington, DC for the American Library Association Conference in June 2019. She invited me to her apartment and answered my questions about The Eight and The Fire.
Look at my pictures of the alchemical papers of Sir Isaac Newton--the same ones mentioned in The Eight, which are currently located in the Dibner Library, one of the Smithsonian Libraries, in Washington, DC. Katherine Neville organized a tour of this library and the Cullman Library of Natural History in June 2019. It was after this tour that she invited me to her apartment.
The publisher used to have a great website about The Magic Circle, but, unfortunately, it seems to have vanished, which is strange because they said they'd keep it up as long as the book was in print, and it's definitely still in print. But, thanks to the Web Archive, you can still look at the site. This is the Magic Circle site the way it looked on May 11, 2015, the last time the Web Archive found it.
This is the forum on the publisher's Magic Circle site the way it looked on Dec. 30, 2006, before it became overwhelmed by spam. There are a lot of great comments on The Eight and The Magic Circle, as well as Katherine Neville's research adventures.
Readers' groups' questions on The Eight, from Katherine Neville's website. I have to say that I think some of these were taken from my website, though, especially the one about Mireille and Marat and the one about similarities between Lily and Valentine.
Here is a list of books to which Katherine Neville has contributed short stories or chapters.
Read my review of Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom, which is a must-read for fans of The Eight and The Fire. It traces the evolution of the chess queen, from the origins of the game, when the piece we now know as the queen was a vizier, through the Renaissance, when she became the powerful piece she is now. There is a mention of Garin of Montglane, the medieval poem that inspired the story of the chess game between Charlemagne and Garin, told at the beginning of The Eight. As it turns out, in real life, Charlemagne did not play chess. The poems that depict him playing chess were written much later. Also, Yalom has written a book called Blood Sisters, about the women of the French Revolution. It was recently reissued with the title Compelled to Witness, with Jacques-Louis David's Sabine Women, the painting for which Mireille and Valentine serve as models in The Eight, on the cover.
Want to know what life was like for Mireille and Valentine at Montglane? Read A Social History of the Cloister by Elizabeth Rapley, a fascinating study of life inside 17th- and 18th-century convents. The novices had a very difficult life--no wonder Valentine rebelled!
Katherine Neville recently (June 2019) posted this article about a missing chess piece discovered after 200 years. It sounds amazingly like the Montglane Service!
And this article says the pieces have almost magical qualities. Interesting that the Sotheby's expert is named Kader.
I have recently (November 2018) added a picture gallery of photos I took during my visits to various museums, of paintings of, or by, people who appear in The Eight. So far I have pages on William Blake, Jacques-Louis David, and Eugène Delacroix. More to come!
There is a wonderful documentary about Jacques-Louis David, narrated by
Simon Schama, on Youtube. It was originally on the BBC. The documentary
is about an hour long, divided into four 15-minute segments:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Philidor's opera Tom Jones, which Mireille and Valentine go to
see in The Eight, is now available to watch on Youtube. Now you
can see what Mireille and Valentine saw!
Act 1 Act 2 Act 3
Take a look at the covers of the copies of The Eight in my own collection.
Read this wonderful essay on The Eight by Ricard Ruiz Garzón, where he discusses many of the historical figures who appear or who are mentioned in The Eight. He also gives his own interpretation of the Game, which is different from my own and the others that appear on this site. But, as he says, there is no definitive interpretation.
Read this great interview with Katherine Neville by Stacy DeBroff from MomCentral.com, in 2015, about introducing young readers to The Eight. I identify with so much of what DeBroff says, especially when she mentions her old, tattered copy of The Eight. I still have mine, too!
A wonderful interview with Katherine Neville from Rogue Women Writers, where she talks about her research and writing. I think it's so funny that she mentions the scene where Charlotte Corday kills Marat, because everyone who's read The Eight knows it happens differently there.
Listen to an hour-long interview with Katherine Neville by Gabriela Pereira where she talks about writing the quest novel, researching The Eight, and her tips for writers, among other things.
Take a look at Christa Carter's Pinterest page of images associated with The Eight and The Fire. It is amazing!
Here is a very interesting discussion of The Eight on Goodreads from 2013. Too bad I didn't know about this discussion then! I had just joined Goodreads, and I didn't know about all the discussions there.
Here's another discussion of The Eight on Goodreads, from 2010.
Open Road Media has selected The Eight as one of their 15 best quest/adventure novels that are better than Dan Brown. I agree! (But I think Steve Berry should have been included). The Eight is the only book by a woman on the list.
The Eight was selected as one of the 100 best thrillers of all time by Signature Reads.
The Eight is on Amazon's list of 100 mysteries and thrillers to read in a lifetime.
Here is an amazing map that Katherine Neville drew, while writing
The Eight, of who has which piece of the Montglane Service at which
time. You will probably have to blow up the image to be able to read it
all. Also, as someone pointed out, this represents Katherine
Neville's ideas when she started writing the book. There are several
differences between this and what actually happens in the book.
contributions are welcome; I will
publish them if I consider them appropriate; I reserve the right to edit
them if necessary, but I will ask for your permission before I do so.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, please let me know. Otherwise, I
will include your name. As you can see, this page is mostly devoted
to The Eight, but contributions on A Calculated
Risk, The Magic Circle, and The Fire are also
welcome. Send all contributions to: email@example.com
Disclaimer: Most of the articles on this website, both my own and others', were written before The Fire was published, and they are based on theories that The Fire has since disproved. But it's fun to read about what you used to think, so I'm leaving them on this site.
Katherine Neville's latest book, The Fire, the sequel to The Eight, was published in 2008. Read my (spoiler-free) review! She's currently working on a novel about Caravaggio, Rubens, and El Greco. More news soon!
Read the Interview with Katherine Neville at Poe's Deadly Daughters.
Take a look at George Karakasidis' diagram of the characters in The Eight
A French translation of The Eight, Le Huit
is once again
available (2009)! You
can order it here. I've read the French translation, and enjoyed it
Lately (2018), I've been doing a lot of reading about Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister. Readers of The Eight will remember her as Mireille's friend during her time on Corsica. She became Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Elisa was a remarkable woman, a patron of the arts, especially the theater, and a strong advocate of women's education. She founded a boarding school for girls that was modeled after the school she went to, Saint-Cyr (which readers of The Eight will certainly remember). I have biographies of her in French by Florence Vidal and Joseph-Antoine Angeli. Unfortunately, there's not much about her in English.
Take a look at the covers of the
British editions of Katherine Neville's books and the Spanish editions.
Now I'd like to answer a frequently-asked question:
You can read more about this in Katherine Neville's comments.
Take a look at Katherine Neville's
comments on Mireille and Marat and my
response to her comments (Note from 2018: these are from 20 years
ago, and I have completely changed my mind about this since then.)
Join my Facebook group for Katherine Neville fans.
A group of high school students from Carmel, Indiana, made a 5-minute video of scenes from The Eight as part of a project for an English class in 2007. Hannah Varnau, who wrote the script and played Mireille in the video, went to my alma mater, Butler University.
Read fan fiction based on The Eight at fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own. And feel free to write some of your own. There isn't as much of it as I thought there would be.
Last updated June 8, 2021.
Special thanks to Ellen K. Harris of Random House, who
said it was all right for me to scan the covers of Katherine
Unfortunately, I don't have a guestbook on this website any more. I
used to, but it became overwhelmed by spam, so I stopped having one. But
thanks to the Internet Archive, I can go back to earlier versions of my
site and find the entries. There are some really good ones (from my site
the way it looked on Aug. 30, 2009):
Guestbook entries May 1998-May 1999.
Guestbook entries June 1999-Nov. 2000.
More guestbook entries Not sure when these are from, but there's no mention of The Fire, so I'm guessing sometime between 2000 and 2008.
The last page of guestbook entries Again, I'm not sure when they were from, but The Fire wasn't out yet. A lot of people were asking when it was going to come out, though, so I'm guessing they're from 2007 or early 2008. I think it was around 2009 that my guestbook became overwhelmed with spam and I stopped using it.
Here is a picture of Katherine Neville and me, taken at her book
signing for The Fire at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in
Vicki's home page
Copyright 1998-2021 Vicki Kondelik.