Tom Sullivan is about to graduate from Princeton. He's intelligent and popular, but haunted by the violent death several years earlier of his father, an academic who devoted his life to studying one of the rarest, most complex and most valuable books in the world. Since its publication in 1499, "The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" has baffled scholars ...
Tom Sullivan is about to graduate from Princeton. He's intelligent and popular, but haunted by the violent death several years earlier of his father, an academic who devoted his life to studying one of the rarest, most complex and most valuable books in the world. Since its publication in 1499, "The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" has baffled scholars who have tried to understand its many mysteries. Coded in seven languages, the text is at once a passionate love story, an intricate mathematical labyrinth, and a tale of arcane brutality. Paul Harris, Tom's room-mate, has deeply personal reasons of his own for wanting to unveil the secrets the book hides. When a long-lost diary surfaces, it seems the two friends have found the key to the labyrinth - but when a fellow researcher is murdered only hours later, they suddenly find themselves in great danger. And what they discover embedded in the text stuns them: a narrative detailing the passion of a Renaissance prince, a hidden crypt, and a secret worth dying to protect.
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If you liked Dan Brown"s "Da VInci Code":take note
I read this on the heels of re-reading "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown and I while I found this book a bit slow in the beginning, I soon found I wasn't disappointed in my choice of novels.
I am the type of person who will buy and read a series in the order its written which some times means a long wait between books and I was very, very happy to have this book in my bag as I travelled on buses for long rides into and out of New York City. I was sorry to have the tale end!
Oct 25, 2007
A Poor Dan Brown Imitation
The Rule of Four has a beginning and an end. In between, however, nothing much happens. The youth of the authors is evident as a bulk of the novel concerns itself with walking across campus, talking to professors, worrying about classes and hanging out with friends. There's an awkward, unconvincing romance, some immature relationships between roommates and, from time to time, a mystery involving an ancient book. Note to Dan Brown wannabes: it's okay if your hero's a student or professor, but they should actually leave campus at some point. Supposedly there's an ancient treasure at stake, but instead exploring the catacombs and back alleys of Italy, we get to explore the buildings and dormitories of Princeton. Sorry, the wishy-washy desires of the immature protagonist are not enough conflict to propel this story.
Apr 3, 2007
Tom Sullivan is running away from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili which he views as his father's mistress. He watched its hypnotic effect on his father before his father's death and doesn't want to be drawn in. But his friend Paul Harris, working on his culminating paper at the close of his senior year at Princeton, asks for his help anyway. Due to several fateful and fated circumstances, Tom finds himself drawn in despite his apprehension. The story draws one in like a spider dancing on a web. Each strand pulls the reader farther & farther into the center until one realizes that, just like Tom, its mystery is appealing. It's major drawback is also part of its appeal: each revealed passage is convoluted and cryptic enough so one needs the authors' interpretation to understand it.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-03-15 Caldwell and Thomason's intriguing intellectual suspense novel stars four brainy roommates at Princeton, two of whom have links to a mysterious 15th-century manuscript, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This rare text (a real book) contains embedded codes revealing the location of a buried Roman treasure. Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are inevitable, but Caldwell and Thomason's book is the more cerebral-and better written-of the two: think Dan Brown by way of Donna Tartt and Umberto Eco. The four seniors are Tom Sullivan, Paul Harris, Charlie Freeman and Gil Rankin. Tom, the narrator, is the son of a Renaissance scholar who spent his life studying the ancient book, "an encyclopedia masquerading as a novel, a dissertation on everything from architecture to zoology." The manuscript is also an endless source of fascination for Paul, who sees it as "a siren, a fetching song on a distant shore, all claws and clutches in person. You court her at your risk." This debut novel's range of topics almost rivals the Hypnerotomachia's itself, including etymology, Renaissance art and architecture, Princeton eating clubs, friendship, steganography (riddles) and self-interpreting manuscripts. It's a complicated, intricate and sometimes difficult read, but that's the point and the pleasure. There are murders, romances, dangers and detection, and by the end the heroes are in a race not only to solve the puzzle, but also to stay alive. Readers might be tempted to buy their own copy of the Hypnerotomachia and have a go at the puzzle. After all, Caldwell and Thomason have done most of the heavy deciphering-all that's left is to solve the final riddle, head for Rome and start digging. Agent, Nicholas Ellison. (May 4) Forecast: You don't have to be an expert at decoding to see that an excellent cover, high production values throughout, a gripping story, a strong publisher push and reader interest still stirred up by The Da Vinci Code will add up to big numbers for this one. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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