Written by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason Published Year 2007
An ivy league murder, a mysterious coded manuscript, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide memorably in The Rule of Four - a brilliant work of fiction that weaves together suspense and scholarship, high art and unimaginable treachery.
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.
Suddenly the stakes are raised, and as the two friends sift through the codes and riddles at the heart of the text, they are beginnning to see the manuscript in a new light - not simply as a story of faith, eroticism and pedantry, but as a bizarre, coded mathematical maze. And as they come closer and closer to deciphering the final puzzle of a book that has shattered careers, friendships and families, they know that their own lives are in mortal danger. Because at least one person has been killed for knowing too much. And they know even more.
"Make no friends, and kick the old. All I want is silver and gold." "Why silver and gold?" she said, sitting me down in the small back room of the bookstore, where she kept the overstocks and old filling cabinets. "What do you mean?" I asked. There was an outdated calendar on the wall from the Columbus Museum of Art, turned to the month of May, showing an Edward Hopper painitng od a woman sitting alone in her bed. I couldn't help staring at it. "Why not bottle rockets?" she asked "or campires?" "Because those don't work." I remember feeling annoyed; the answers seemed so obvious. "The last word has to rhyme with old."
"Listen to me, Tom" My mother placed a hand on my chin and turned my head until I was facing her. Her hair seemed gold in the right light, the same way the woman's did in the Hopper painting. "It's unnatural. A boy your age shouldn't care about silver and gold." "I don't. What does it matter?" "Because every desire has it's proper object." It sounded like something I'd been told once at Sunday school. "What's that supposed to mean?" "It means people spend their lives wanting things they shouldn't. The world confuses them into taking their love and aiming it where it doesn't belong." She adjusted the neck on her sundress, then sat beside me. "All it takes to be happy is to love the right things, in the right amounts. Not money. Not books. People. Adults who don't understand that never feel fulfilled. I dont want you to turn out like that."
I've always enjoyed reading historical thrillers in the likes of Dan Brown, Steve Berry and such. This book peeked my interest because I've read on amazon that it's comparable to the works of Dan Brown. Hardly! The subject seemed interesting at first but eventually it became such a drag to read, it doesn't really give that feel of urgency/anxiety even if the murders unfold, it's so slow paced that it's a bore to read. It'a also over sentimental though that's not really a bad thing maybe it what's the story is about; how people is destoryed by perverse obsessions on things that are immaterial?