The female counterpart to ‘The Name of the Rose’? I don’t think so. But at the same time, a well-written book that succeeds in translating a numerological fixation into a compelling tale of adventure. Kudos to the author!
I should mention: chess is the non-numerological fixation. Everything in chess revolves around the number 8, so that the combination of game and number actually buffers the book pretty well.
There is a lot to like about this book, and a lot to dislike. On the ‘like’ side, some phenomenal descriptions of the North African countryside, and a plot that moves and turns around, but that has a clear intent and coherent speed.
On the ‘dislike’ side, the usual unconvincing characters, and the usual clichés when it comes to who’s bad and who’s good. Frankly, if I had to compare it to anything, I would see this book much closer to Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.