Eco has the fascinating ability to write about medieval Europe like no other. The book brings back to life the siege and fall of Casale, the ecclesiocratic atmosphere of the 16-17th centuries and characters as true to life as they could possibly get.
Our main character, through an unfortunate series of accidents, is stranded on this abandoned ship God knows where on the planet. and that's where the real story begins...to go wrong. Although the main idea for the book is ingenius and quite frankly, fascinating, Eco just cannot keep from rambling on about things that are not important to the story or particularly informative to the reader unless they are the type of person who reads literature strictly 'to learn about how people used to live back then'.
Although the book is very clever, it is too long, much more than Foucault's pendulum. You will not be gripped by the story unless you are a huge historical literature fan, and although I really enjoy the genre, it still failed to engage me. A lot of the extra (and quite honestly, unnecessary) information in this book could have been edited to thicken the plot or just to allow the reader to actually concentrate long enough between two pages!
I was not very satisfied at all with this book and although I was thrilled by the Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum, I have to say this particular book disappointed me.