Book Reviews of The Rule of Four (Audio CD) (Abridged)

The Rule of Four (Audio CD) (Abridged)
The Rule of Four - Audio CD - Abridged
Author: Josh Hamilton (Narrator), Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason
Audio Books swap for two (2) credits.
ISBN-13: 9780743552127
ISBN-10: 0743552121
Publication Date: 5/1/2006
Edition: Abridged
Rating:
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 26

2.8 stars, based on 26 ratings
Publisher: Encore
Book Type: Audio CD
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

186 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Rule of Four (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Eh. I finished it, and it read right along. Sort of a rather watered down Davinci Code encased in reliving one's college years. And I'm not sure I believe that it's that cold and snowy in Princeton - I went to school in MN and we didn't get snow on Easter. But that is a minor detail. The book is basically a weak thriller surrounding a lot of information about a mysterious ancient text. I enjoyed it enough to finish it, and if you are in to "puzzle" books, you might, too. If you haven't yet, though, I'd say read Davinci Code or that author's other work first.
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Helpful Score: 5
I don't even know what to say about this book. It was hard to read and it was hard to understand what was going on. I can't say that I didn't like it because I would have stopped reading it if that was the case. But I wouldn't read it again.

I very much enjoyed The Da Vinci Code...but this one just didn't do it for me. I'm sorry, I don't see how you can compare the two...okay they are both about history, art, puzzles, and murder...but I did not get into this one near as much as I did the Da Vinci Code (which fascinated me).
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Helpful Score: 5
I loved this book!!
It's basically the thinking woman's (or man's) "Da Vinci Code."
If you know Latin, art history, or cryptography of any kind you can stay one step ahead of the characters, but it's still really good.
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Helpful Score: 4
Picked this up at the airport and was engrossed before I even boarded my plane. Fast moving plot mixed with historical intrigue reminiscent of the Da Vinci Code, though I enjoyed this book BETTER! Great, great book.
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Helpful Score: 3
The book starts a little slow and ends a little pat, but a good, easy read. It is a little "Shawshank Redemption" meets the "DaVinci Code". Most of the characters are developed and you care what happens to them in the end. Overall....engaging, entertaining and worth the time.
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Helpful Score: 3
Fascinating story! People often compare it to The Da Vinci Code, and there are similarities, but I thought it was much more well-written and intellectually stimulating than Dan Brown's book.
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Helpful Score: 2
Good mystery, hard to get in to
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Helpful Score: 2
I keep wanting to like these types of books but just can't quite get into them. They start with promise but tend to each have their own issues. While this one was well written and I adored the puzzle of the Hypnerotomachia the main character's apathetic nature made me batty. He lets life rule him and for a while strives to break this pattern but in the end his nature over rides any of his desires and leaves the reader feeling lacking. I've seen some people rave about this book but I'll have to admit it wasn't for me.
reviewed The Rule of Four (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great book, not a light read, but worth sticking with it.
reviewed The Rule of Four (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
good setting and story line. some parts were difficult to catch, but eventually they all fall into place.
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Helpful Score: 2
Convoluted, meandering and a waste of time. This is the kind of book that really makes you question the publishing industry choices of what is worth printing. What could have been an interesting story of a quest for a missing treasure is bogged down by confusing text and the desire to make the book seem scholarly. Supposedly, the authors took 6 years to write this book. I hope they spend the next 6 on something more productive.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was riveting from the beginning. I bought it to listen to during my daily commute and ended up not wanting to get out of the car on some nights. The narrator is drawn into the middle of the action but is not the central character. I think this is a great book!
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book. It's a bit more on the intellectual side than similar books like the DaVinci Code or Angels & Demons, but similar. It was predictable in some places but surprising in others. Overall, an interesting read.
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Helpful Score: 1
Good first book. It doesn't have some of the action that others in the historical fiction/ action-adventure genre do, but were it lack in that it makes up in others. The authors take what could have been a very dull plot and invigorated with a sense of something that made it authentic. Their writing allowed you to grow with the characters and allowed you to generally care about them. In the end, it was a little of everything; an interesting object, a buddy story, a mystery wrapped a round a little coming of age story.
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Helpful Score: 1
* * *. Mystery. Some university students attempt to decode an ancient manuscript previously attempted by former alumni/scholars.

This is not the Da Vinci Code. There is no page-turning action, except for the climax. It's more of a cerebral read. The first part is tough because the authors immediately hit us with the historic facts and puzzles. Underlining names with a highlighter helps. Nevertheless, the present day characters seem real, which is a plus.
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Helpful Score: 1
The strength of "The Rule of Four" comes from its honest-yet-idealistic view of college life at Princeton. Tom, the narrator of the novel, evokes the exhiliration and frustration of those years effortlessly, and his academic and emotional triumphs and failures ring true. While Tom does not make me wish that I'd gone to Princeton - it's depicted as even more blue-blood than I could have imagined - he makes me want to book plane tickets for the next Chapel Hill reunion.
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Helpful Score: 1
An exciting read that keeps you in suspense until the very end. It's a very interesting mystery that blends fiction and history into a modern setting.
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Helpful Score: 1
Absolutely an excellent novel that combines the puzzle plot with a murder mystery as the stakes are raised on whoever solves the puzzle first. Careers are at stake, and possibly a fortune could be discovered as the ancient author hid his treasure, intending its discovery only by a worthy lover of knowledge.
The team working to solve the puzzle is made up of students at Cambridge Univ. So it is a very brainy atmosphere that these young men are immersed in, complete with a deep love of knowledge for its own sake.
I rate this very highly and have recommended it to others already. Will not repost book right now since I have lent this copy to a local pal. Possibly I can repost it later after pal finishes book, unless he wants to pass it on to someone else. But this club is all about sharing, right?
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Helpful Score: 1
Mystery,obsession and suspense in a college setting.
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Helpful Score: 1
Follow an Ivy League senior as he's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous mystery. Tom, the narrator, planned to finish his thesis, spend time with his girlfriend, and hang out at graduation events. Instead, his roommate's research into an ancient manuscriptâone that Tom's father had been obsessed withâpulls Tom and his suitemates into a modern mystery, as they unravel the clues hidden in the text. Similar enough to the Da Vinci code to make it a must for fans of Dan Brown, but with enough intellectual heft (the manuscript and its clues are real) and solid writing to provide the same thrills for people who just can't get into Brown's books.
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Exciting DaVinci Code Knock-Off.
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A real page turner, and "academic" too, in the vein of Dan Brown.
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This is the only book in the past few years that I could not finish. It simply seemed like a total waste of time.
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Two Princeton students are on the verge of solving the mysteries of a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Just when a long lost diary that may prove to be the key is unearthed, a longtime student of the book is murdered beginning a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations.
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A very good book, very well written, if you liked the DaVinci Code, you'd like this one too. I cannot recommend it enough, even though it's very far out of my normal scope.
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"The Rule of Four" carries a similar plot line to "DaVinci Code", and deciphering puzzles to solve the mystery, while intertwining history. Fascinating and an enjoyable read.
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A GOOD READ ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIKE SOME HISTORY WITH YOUR SUSPENCE A FIRST NOVEL I HOPE THEY WRITE MORE
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Very good from the start. If you liked "The Da Vinci Code", you will not want to miss this one! I hope they are making it into a movie!
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I couldn't put this book down. Engaging plot, with a lot of interesting factual and historical detail. It'll make a much better movie than "The Da Vinci Code" did!
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An amazing first novel! Dan Brown meets Caleb Carr and Umberto Eco - it's a great historical mystery/thriller. Wriiten with accuracy and lots of twists, often chilling.
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A novel about two friends who find the key to a labyrinth that holds the secrets of an ancient text called the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. When a fellow researcher is murdered, they suddenly realize they are caught in a web of great danger.
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500 years ago the first men were murdered to protect the secret of the rule of four. It's a good puzzler type book
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Terrible. Pseudo-intellecutal.
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Great book! If you like mysteries, this one has plenty of riddles, twists, and turns!
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If you are a fan of " The Da Vinci Code" you will love this book!
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This is one of the best books I read last year. Anyone who enjoys historical novels will enjoy this, even though it is set in the present day. Lots of interesting historical tidbits, but the book is not dull at all.
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Why do I continue to believe the reviews from The NY Times?
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though its heroes are mere college kids. The puzzle was almost as interesting as the DaVinci Code and there was a lot less violence in this one.
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A stunning first novel, a perfect blend of suspense and a sensitive coming-of-age story.
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If you liked Da Vinci Code, you'll probably also enjoy this novel. Intellectually stimulating and an intriguing mystery.
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Page-turning novel with romance and suspense. Would not probably read it again. Characters are stuck in Princeton U with very little to say about life in general.
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If I can read Eco, I thought I could handle this. Just did not keep me interested. Maybe it will you? (Cover is blue rather than red, but same layout and images.)
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Being published on the heels of The DaVinci Code, I could not help but make some comparisons--and this book falls a bit short. Good story as such; I got bogged down a bit in the academia of it all. Perhaps a re-read is in order on a cold, wintry day in front of a warm fire and without expectations of fast-racing movement from one scene to another...
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A good mystery.
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This is a wonderfully well-written book. The authors absorb the reader quickly and easily into their tale of a hunt for a long-lost ancient book, and by book's end, you are completely swept up in the character's obsession. This is an intriguing novel and the prologue sets things off with a bang! The "secret" that the Hypnerotomachia hides might not be quite as big as that of the DaVinci code, but you will definitely be caught up in the hunt for it along with the characters. All I can say is thumbs-up to an absorbing, entertaining read!
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a very good read!
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This book made me crazy...about a quarter into it...I gave up
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I was disappointed by this book. The concept seemed interesting, it just felt disjointed and I often had to go back and relisten to sections to try and figure out what was happening. It definitely wasn't a book that grabbed my attention and held it throughout.
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I am reposting this book because THE RULE OF FOUR was REALLY GOOD !!
I am glad that I ordered it. It is intellectual in the way that The Da Vinci Code is intellectual, BUT for all of you who might have read The Da Vinci Code, The Rule of Four is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT story and plot, so don't think they are alike ! It is very fast-paced, even mesmerizing at times ! It takes place on the Princeton University campus, and the main characters are four college students. It revolves around an ancient manuscript that some of these students are researching. It is a GREAT MYSTERY !! I suggest THE RULE OF FOUR
VERY, VERY HIGHLY !! I would give it 5 STARS !!
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suspenseful!
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Pretty good, but definitely not my favaorite book. Still a good read, though.
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Puzzle/suspense novel along the lines of DaVinci code, but not as good. I liked it, didn't love it. Not long enough; I like my suspense stories with more meat on their bones - but if you like them to get to the point and wrap it up quick, this may be right up your alley.
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Very complex, very mysterious. Keeps you ON YOUR TOES!!! This is not a simple beach read, this is really complex.
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very interesting! almost like da vinci code
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If you liked The DaVinci Code, but would have appreciated better writing, this book is for you.
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I really enjoyed this book. Some of the places were a little more difficult to follow than others, but overall I really enjoyed it!
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I was totally pulled in by the fact that this novel investigates a real literary puzzle that was recently solved. After reading it, I queried the internet to find the true answer...the truth was nowhere as thrilling.

I rank this up with "Angels & Demons" which means it was much better than "The DaVinci Code".
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Very much like the Da Vinci code, historical codes and secrets protected until modern day. Quick paced read.
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I'm sorry but this just was not my cup of tea. I tried it because I adore The Secret History by Donna Tartt, but I simply could not get into this book. Perhaps it was because I couldn't relate to the characters (who were very wealthy/privileged, whereas in The Secret History, the main character was Mr. Everyman), perhaps it was because TWO authors penned this book rather than one, but I was slogging through the first five chapters when I decided to call it quits.
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Really interesting/fun read about two Princeton students attempting to solve a mystery about a Renaissance text.
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Interesting book---hard to put down.
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A compelling modern thriller that cleverly combines history and mystery. When four Princeton seniors begin the Easter weekend, they are more concerned with their plans for the next year and an upcoming dance than with a 500-year-old literary mystery. But by the end of the holiday, two people are dead, two of the students are injured, and one has disappeared. These events, blended with Renaissance history, code breaking, acrostics, sleuthing, and personal discovery, move the story along at a rapid pace. Tom Sullivan, the narrator, tells of his late father's and then a roommate's obsession with the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a 15th-century "novel" that has long puzzled scholars. Paul has built his senior thesis on an unpopular theory posited by Tom's fatherthat the author was an upper-class Roman rather than a monkand has come close to proving it.
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interesting story line following the students, keeps you guessing till the end.
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The runaway favorite of last year. Psychological thriller.
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IF YOU LIKED DA VINCI CODE, YOU'LL LIKE THIS ONE.
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ok .... kinda knew what was going to happen
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Good literary thriller set at Princeton. This kept me turning pages during a long haul flight, but I thought there was too much detail about Princeton undergrad life and the ending was a let down.
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Similiar to "The Da Vinci Code" in nature, however, character development is much deeper and storyline is a bit more feasible. Chocked full of art, literary and philosophical references.
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I enjoyed it, hope that they write more together.
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Two students are close to solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a renaissance text that has baffled scholar for centuries.
I have read this book and found it a bit similar to the DaVinci code. It is exciting and had me on the edge of my seat until the very end
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Exciting page-turner that provides a glimpse into the intense Ivy League atmosphere of the rarified quest of the mind--a sort of DaVinci Code for the academic crowd. Brought back many memories of campus days with a murderous twist. Loved it!
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Good moving plot lead to a lot of other topics for future reading
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Rather dark but it keeps you interested.
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The way the book is written you almost believe the fictional(or is it?) story of the past as having really happened and this makes you care about the characters in the present and how their senior year in college changes their lives and viewpoints of the world around them. Also,a good mystery included. I stayed up 2 nights reading this. Don't skip a line or you will get lost.
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School"A compelling modern thriller that cleverly combines history and mystery. When four Princeton seniors begin the Easter weekend, they are more concerned with their plans for the next year and an upcoming dance than with a 500-year-old literary mystery. But by the end of the holiday, two people are dead, two of the students are injured, and one has disappeared..." "This novel will appeal to readers of Dan Brown's TheDa Vinci Code (Doubleday, 2003) but it supplies a lot more food for thought, even including some salacious woodcuts from the original book as well as coded excerpts and their solutions.Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
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This book can be a little bit slow at times, but is a good book overall.
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One of my favorite books of all time. Could not put it down. 5 Stars!
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About Princeton friends trying to find the key to an ancient manuscript, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
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This story is very meandering. There is meaning to the meandering though. It does jump back and forth a few times (which I personally don't enjoy). Overall it is a good story. One that connects all the loose strings and shows a time period in the characters lives.
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This book is extremely boring. Don't think I'll bother to try and finish it. Not at all what I expected as I had read a review in The Times.
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This book was the selection of the month for my book club. It sounded similar to the Da Vinci Code, which I liked so I was excited to read it. However, I could not for the life of me get into this story. It moved incredibly slow and it did not indicate why this ancient book was relevant to today, so I didn't really care if they unraveled its secrets or not. I had to put this one down. Life is too short and there are too many great books to waste time on a bad read.
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Mystery at Princeton University.
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Has some good information, might learn a thing or two. It was a good airplane book.
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Excellent Read!!
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Lot of interesting things that appear to be genuine relating to Princeton. The authors appear to have captured the essence of the University. The premise is also interesting; interpret an ancient book that no-one has ever been able to solve the mystery of. Some coming-of-age interest. I'm the type person who would like a little plot and a little action in their reading. That's what I got; little plot and little action. If you like words, you'll like this book. If you like plot and action, leave it.
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Gripping story to listen to on a long car ride.
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The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason follows four friends through their last year of college. The plot follows Paul as he attempts to unravel a centuries old mystery hidden in The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a book more rare than the Gutenberg Bible. Are the secrets it contains really worth killing over? But the story is really about friendship. How it is forged, how it is strained, and how it is lost as people drift and are pulled apart by their separate drives. I found the book to be very enjoyable and interesting.

Literary Quality: 9/10

Enjoyment: 9/10
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Not a bad read (listen)
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This is the blue cover paperback edition.. not red like in the picture.

I enjoyed the book as it reminded me of The Da Vinci code. Not the same storyline but the same feel if you know what I mean.

Its worth reading :o)
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I picked this up because it was recommended for people who liked "The Name of the Rose." I wouldn't necessarily second that; I felt it was not very similar at all. However, it was a quite enjoyable literary mystery.
It has to do with four college seniors, roommates who are all studious, academic-career-oriented types. The narrator, Tom, had a father who devoted his life to the study of one book - the 15th-century manuscript called the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (an actual text, although I can't say how accurate the novel's depiction of it is). When Tom's father died, his work metaphorically passed on to Tom and his best friend, the overachieving orphan Paul. Paul's work on the book may very well be brilliant, genius-level stuff - but Tom fights to balance the obsession with the book with trying to maintain a normal relationship with his girlfriend - with great difficulty. It becomes especially hard to distance himself from the work when Paul makes some truly amazing discoveries of secret messages in the text, hinting at greater revelations to come - and when it seems there is a plot afoot to steal Paul's work, involving trusted members of the academic community. Gradually, the antique book and its secrets bring not just the two literary students, but their friends, into increasing danger.
The novel is notable for its extremely believable and realistic portrayal of campus life at Princeton (one of the authors is a graduate of that school), and for a very nice job of meshing the unraveling of both the literary mystery and the actual 'action' of the plot. It's a long book, but a very quick read.
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Likeable mystery and story of interactions among graduate students.
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I loved this book.
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This is a very interesting book about two college students researching a five-hundred year old book that contains a myriad of mysteries - and no one else has been able to solve them. The book is not only about the research, it's also about the main character dealing with his past and future, as well as his relationship with his roommates.
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The story was a little complicated.
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Da Vinci code wannabe, but still adequately entertaining for a plane ride.
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Fun and "intellectual".
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A book for DaVinci Code lovers
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This novel is about two students at Princeton in 1999 trying to unlock the mysteries of a Renaissance text; reviews compared it to "The Da Vince Code", a novel I loved. I didn't enjoy this novel half as much - too esoteric and at times I was actually bored.
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The only thing not boring about this book were the
"nude olympics."
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I enjoyed the interesting idea of the solution to the Hypnerotomachia. I didn't like how flash backs were used, something about their use confused the story line for me. Good story, though no way near the quaility of the "Di Vinci Code".
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A book about an ancient puzzle that some Princeton students set to figure out. A very intellectual story with many facets to it.
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Highly over-rated.
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Very good story and great writing. It goes back and forth between a personal philosophical type of story and an action/mystery, so that gets frustrating sometimes, but a very very good book otherwise!
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Very disappointed with this book. Expected a very good mistery and turned out to be a boring description of college life.
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This is a book that is slightly different than the ordinary mystery but it is good.
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A Davinci Code yarn replete with erudite college students, an Ivy League campus covered in snow and historical Renaissance references. Fun, funny and rich with personal details and observations. A great story teller with a great eye. Much better writing than the Dan Brown books with interesting, real and dimensional characters.
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Reads like a Dan Brown meets Ben Mezrich thriller. Not quite as riveting but entertaining nonetheless.
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SEEMED DISJOINTED.
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While the book's premise is intriguing, its execution is most decidedly not. One previous reviewer referred to the novel as the thinking person's Da Vinci Code, but I found it to be even worse than Dan Brown's book (which is rather poorly written). If you are interested in a truly challenging intellectual thriller, try Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
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interesting story, parts where a little philosical. had me not wanting to put it down though.
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good reading keeps you guessing whole time.
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A fun and engaging book that carries you right along
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An Astonishing NY Times Bestseller. Very exciting. A good read!
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Starts off good but ends dissapointingly. I really wanted more from it and just didn't get it. An entertaining read though. Perfect for a plane or by the pool. The first half is great. Almost makes the ending seem worse.
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Along the lines of the DaVinci Code -- New York TImes besteller
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Very DeVenci Code like. I think it would have been a great hit if it came out before DeVenci Code.
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Very good, loved at the cryptology.
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Pretty good mystery for those that like conspiracies.
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Though the story line could have been great...it tapers off towards the end. I wasn't impressed with this highly recommended book.
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I liked it better than the Da Vinci Code.
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Very engaging mystery.
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I liked it. Started off a little slow, but then really picked up halfway through. Written in the first person present tense, which really adds to the immediacy of action. It's as if you're going along for the ride rather than just being told the story of what happened in the past.
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I found this long, drawn out, hard to follow and boring. What a disappointment. : (
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On the eve of graduation, two Princeton students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphilli, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries.

The book baffled me - I just couldn't get into to it.
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This started out, and was for most of the book, very slow, but the end was good and fitting. I liked the coming of age aspect of the story more than the mystery of it.
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It has been a while since I read it but I remember liking it very much.
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reminiscent of "The Da Vinci Code"
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This is an intelligent suspense novel, a thinking-person's Da Vinci Code. The characters are smartly described, and the writing is far better than Dan Brown's. A New York Times bestseller, highly readable and engaging.
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"Ingenious...A balancing act between riddle-solving and thriller mechanics....The real treat here is the process of discovery." New York Times
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A fair effort, an interesting read. Oversold on the jacket as being of Umberto Eco and Dan Brown caliber. I'm not sure if the person writing the promo ever read any of these authors.
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If you liked The Da Vinci code, you'll like this one. Page turner.
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Really quick read, and an interesting story, in the vein of Da Vinci Code.
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In one word - Horrible! This may not be the worse book I've ever read, but it's pretty darn close. Unless you're an insomniac trying to get some sleep, don't waste your time or energy reading this piece of trash. I almost didn't bother posting it and almost threw it in the trash instead, but maybe someone needs lining for their bird cage.
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Intellectually challenging story plot...along the lines of a coded message written 500 yrs ago and rushing against time to decipher ahead of the fanatics trying to steal it....
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This book is great if you went to Princeton. Another Da Vinci Code it is NOT.
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A 500-year old text is about to open its secrets to two Princeton students. Has been compared to DaVinci Code but is much more intelligent and has no chase scenes. Very intriguing.
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This is about a group of Princton undergrads trying to solve the mystery of an obscure Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Murder mystery on the idea of The DaVinci Code
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Very good story. Similar to DaVinci code but much better writing
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"A stunning first novel, a perfect blend of suspense and a sensitive coming-of-age story.--Nelson DeMille
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best seller suspence and friendship
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I thought it was boring and way too technical. I think they really tried to copy the Davinci Code.
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If you like "National Treasure" and Dan Brown novels, you will love this suspenseful book about an ancient secret mystery.
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A very disorganized book, pretty unbelievable.
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In the line of the DaVinci Code, with ancient documents and murders and such, but not quite the thriller as the other. Still a pretty good read.
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This is a thriller that I couldn't put down until the end.
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This is an intellectual's mystery taking place at Princeton in 1999. It is a coming of age book of four friends about to graduate that includes literary secrets, murder, and suspense.
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Princeton. Good Friday. 1999. On the eve of graduation, 2 students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili", a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the 500-year-old "Hypnerotomachia" may finally reveal its secrets--to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it. As the deadline looms, research has stalled--until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to deciphering the ancient text. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins--one that will force Tom and Paul, with their 2 roommates, into a fiery drama spun from a book whose power and meaning have long been misunderstood....
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I read so many bad reviews about this book that I had to check it out. This is a very well written and exciting book. The continuance of the storyline is well defined and the story is exceptional. If you have read The DiVinci Code I honestly believe you will like this book. Good characters that are so believable I thought "I" was back in college.
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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.
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I really loved this book! If you liked The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, you will probably like this one. Its a bit more tedious than those two, especially at the beginning, but it all comes together in a great ending. I like the fact that it was written by two young college age guys who have been friends for years.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is better than the Da Vinci Code, and I love the "coming of age" twist.
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Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the even of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypernotomachia Poliphill, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. As the deadline looms, reserach has stalled until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to deciphering the ancient text. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins - one that will force Tom and Paul, with their two roommates, into a fiery drama spun from a book whose power and meaning have long been misunderstood.......
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A group of college roomates become involved in deciphering a code that puts all of them in danger.
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I couldn't get into thi9s book, but many of my friends loved it.
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Not my kind of book but others I know have liked it. University students trying to solve a mystery dealing with a Renaissance text.
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The Rule of Four is an excellent read. Really along the lines of the Davinci Code, so if you enjoyed that one, this one will keep you very interested.
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Could not get into it.
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It was okay. Perhaps it would have been better if I hadn't read The Da Vinci Code right before it.
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Just could not get into this book.
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This book stinks. Nothing here.
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On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries.

As the deadline looms, research has stalled - until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to deciphering the ancient text. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins...
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Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets---to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it.
As the deadline looms, research has stalled---until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to
deciphering the ancient text. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins---one that will force Tom and Paul, with their
two roommates, into a fiery drama spun from a book whose power and meaning have long been misunderstood.
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I've given copies of this to everyone I know, and it has been a big hit with everyone!
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interesting plot....tough not to put down
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From the book Jacket

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.

From the streets of fifteenth-century Rome to the rarified realm of the Ivy League, from a shocking 500 year-old murder scene to the drama of a young man's coming of age, The Rule of Four takes us on an entertaining, illuminating tour of history--as it builds to a pinnacle of nearly unbearable suspense.
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500 years ago the first men were murdered to protect the secret. Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachio may finally reveal its secrets---to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it.
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INTERESTING. MY OPINION, NOT A "KEEPER" THOUGH.
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much like dan brown davinchi code. enjoyable and intellectual.
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Students at Princeton try to solve the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. One of the students' fathers was obsessed with the book and one of the students claims that his future depends on solving the mystery. This is a great suspense read.
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One of the BEST books I've read; difficult to put down once you begin. These two young writers are right up their with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child!
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Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets - to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it. As the dealine looms, research had stalled - until a vital clue is unearthed: a long-lost diary that may prove to be the key to deciphering the ancient test. But when a longtime student of the book is murdered just hours later, a chilling cycle of deaths and revelations begins - one that will force Tom and Paul, with their two roommates, into a fiery drama spun from a book whose power and meaning have long been misunderstood
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Interesting read.
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Ultimate puzzle of a book
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INTERESTING SUMMER READ
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Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets -- to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it. As the deadline looms, research has stalled -- until an ancient diary surfaces. What Tom and Paul discover inside shocks even them: proof that the location of a hidden crypt has been ciphered within the pages of the obscure Renaissance text.

Armed with this final clue, the two friends delve into the bizarre world of the Hypnerotomachia -- a world of forgotten erudition, strange sexual appetites, and terrible violence. But just as they begin to realize the magnitude of their discovery, Princeton's snowy campus is rocked: a longtime student of the book is murdered, shot dead in the hushed halls of the history department.

A tale of timeless intrigue, dazzling scholarship, and great imaginative power, The Rule of Four is the story of a young man divided between the future's promise and the past's allure, guided only by friendship and love.
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large print
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I didn't read it
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When four Princeton seniors begin the Easter weekend, they are more concerned with their plans for the next year and an upcoming dance than with a 500-year-old literary mystery. But by the end of the holiday, two people are dead, two of the students are injured, and one has disappeared. These events, blended with Renaissance history, code breaking, acrostics, sleuthing, and personal discovery, move the story along at a rapid pace. Tom Sullivan, the narrator, tells of his late father's and then a roommate's obsession with the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a 15th-century "novel" that has long puzzled scholars. Paul has built his senior thesis on an unpopular theory posited by Tom's fatherthat the author was an upper-class Roman rather than a monkand has come close to proving it.
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500 years ago, men were murdered to protect the Secret. Now a group of Princeton graduates think they have unlocked the secret. A must read.
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I have not read this book (not really my genre of choice). I have heard it was good... similar to the Da Vinci Code.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it:
From Publishers Weekly
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.
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From the back of the book ... "A stunning first novel, a perfect blend of suspense and a sensitive coming-of-age story."
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Princeton. Godd Friday 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text that has baffled scholars for centuries...a long-lost diary...
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I have not read this book
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This book is missing it's dustjacket, but is in otherwise good condition. Sorry, but I have two small children, and sometimes dust jackets get lost.
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A mysterious coded manuscript, a violent Ivy League murder, the secrets of Renaissance prince collide in a labyrinth of betrayal, madness,and genius in THE rule of Four.At once a compelling suspense novel and a richly imagined coming of age story.
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Please note that this book was purchased from a public library sale, so there will be a few places in the book with the libraries stamp on it. Thanks.