Monday, August 3, 2009

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

From the back cover: It's Easter at Princeton. Seniors are scrambling to finish their theses. And two students, Tom Sullivan and Paul Harris, are a hair's breadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili—a renowned text attributed to an Italian nobleman, a work that has baffled scholars since its publication in 1499. For Tom, their research has been a link to his family's past — and an obstacle to the woman he loves. For Paul, it has become an obsession, the very reason for living. But as their deadline looms, research has stalled — until a long-lost diary surfaces with a vital clue. And when a fellow researcher is murdered just hours later, Tom and Paul realize that they are not the first to glimpse the Hypnerotomachia's secrets.

This is one of those books that makes me wonder how out of touch I am with the rest of the world. The web site promoting the book has some grand figure for sales and for number of weeks on the best seller list but I didn't like it. The story was very flat - lots of scholarly information that sounded like reading a textbook aloud for conversation. the four young men who were the main characters didn't coem to life enough that they each had their own disinct personalities; they stayed kind of a bland mash-up the whole time. There were glimpses of interesting and quirky Princeton traditions, insider scoop always appeals to me, but this came off kind of arrogant so I didn't get a lot of pleasure there. The whole book felt like these two Princeton guys had read and loved Angels and Demons and said, "Hey, we could write a book like that!" and Rule of Four is the result. But apparently I am really in the minority with this opinion so go ahead and buy it - you may love it1

I've finished up the audio book challenge but I'm adding the extras as I finish them.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I tried reading this a while ago and it didn't work for me either.