I read a review of this book online that led me to believe I might enjoy it. I ordered it - and when I got the book in the mail, I saw that the cover blurb read something like, "If you loved the Da Vinci Code, you'll love The Eight."
"OH NO," I said. Because I certainly did NOT love the Da Vinci Code (although it is, admittedly, the best of Dan Brown's shoddily researched and crappily written novels.)
Nevertheless, I read this book; cover blurbs are not always correct. Unfortunately, in this case, it was absolutely correct. It was very similar to Dan Brown's writing, both in style and content.
If you are into unlikely and ridiculous conspiracy theories that don't stand up to a bit of logical thought, and have a lot of time to kill, go for it.
(My problem is that I really like novels that involve conspiracies - but I have absolutely no patience for conspiracy theories.)
The premise is that Catherine Velis, a computer expert at the top of her field (or so we are told - not ONCE in the VERY LONG book does she do anything, or even THINK in such a way that would indicate she knows anything about computers), is sent to Algeria on assignment. Her antique-dealing friend takes advantage of this to try to get her to acquire some rare chess pieces while she is there.
Meanwhile, back in the 18th century, two young novice nuns (yes, this is an excuse for some unnecessary but oddly understated trashiness) are asked by their abbess to participate in hiding the Very Same chess pieces, which everyone is out to get - because they are imbued with Magical Powers which will allow the owner of the whole chess set to Take Over the World.
Poorly written. Characters that seem to have their attributes assigned to them by dice roll. Historically inaccurate. Unnecessarily long. Trashy, but not trashy enough to be titillating. Unconvincing fantasy elements. Plot elements that don't stand up to any sort of analysis. Boring.