Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Rule of Four

Last night I finished reading The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. After the phenomenal success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, there have been a number of books of the same genre of which The Rule of Four was one of the first to catch the wave. It is an interesting book but pales in comparison to The Da Vinci Code. In fact if you don't compare the two books, only then can you say it was good.

The narrative was long and winding often leading nowhere in particular. The time moved from present to past to future to past and back and forth until you're left counting months and looking for references to the weather to decipher what (st)age the story has reached. The actual story about the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (pronounced Hip-ner-AH-toe-mak-ee-a Poh-LI-fi-ly) was very good but I think it got lost in the stories of the four characters at Princeton. All the characters names were quite commonplace and character-less, namely: Paul, Tom, Charlie, Richard, Vincent, Katie, Bill and Gil. They all sounded so mundane that it was hard to distinguish between their personalities.

Overall, I felt that this book was more about Princeton, the campus, the buildings, the history and traditions and only the background was about the Hypnerotomachia and the mystery surrounding its author and contents.

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