There are two stories set over two time periods that run simultaneously through the book and merge at the end. The first story is about two nuns Valentine and Mirielle who is the main character it is set in France and begins during the year of 1709. The Abbey where the nuns live holds a secret, buried within the walls is a magnificent hess service made of gold and encrusted with jewels that holds a formula within the pieces. The chess set is being searched for and is unearthed and all of the nuns are given pieces of the set to take care of. This story is extremely well researched and is largely set around the revolution in France some of the characters are Napoleon, Marat, Madame de Stael, and Robespierre.
The second story is set in the 20th century America where the chess pieces slowly emerge throughout the story.
The number eight as the title suggests figures strongly throughout the story as a recurring figure used for religious rituals, music, and lots of other references. There are also codes to break. All of the characters are also the pieces on a chess board. The main character in the story set in the 20th century goes from being a white pawn to a white queen, and she eventually check mates the black king. The world is the chess board and other chess theories/formulas appear in this story.
I found the story wonderful it literally takes you across the world, and is a feast for the imagination. The characters are very colourful, there is danger, murder, and romance. Does Mirelle gather all of the chess pieces together and solve the formula? Read the book and see, you will not be disappointed.