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The Rule Of Four [Paperback]

Ian Caldwell , Dustin Thomason
2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

17 Feb 2005
Tom Sullivan is about to graduate from Princeton. He's intelligent and popular, but haunted by the violent death several years earlier of his father, an academic who devoted his life to studying one of the rarest, most complex and most valuable books in the world. Since its publication in 1499, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili has baffled scholars who have tried to understand its many mysteries. Coded in seven languages, the text is at once a passionate love story, an intricate mathematical labyrinth, and a tale of arcane brutality. Paul Harris, Tom's roommate, has deeply personal reasons of his own for wanting to unveil the secrets the book hides. When a long-lost diary surfaces, it seems the two friends have found the key to the labyrinth -- but when a fellow researcher is murdered only hours later, they suddenly find themselves in great danger. And what they discover embedded in the text stuns them: a narrative detailing the passion of a Renaissance prince, a hidden crypt, and a secret worth dying to protect ... (2004-03-15)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (17 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099451956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099451952
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This year's biggest publishing sensation (Guardian)

One part The Da Vinci Code, one part The Name of the Rose - A blazingly good yarn [and] an exceptional piece of scholarship ... A smart, swift, multitextured tale that both entertains and informs (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Da Vinci Code for people with brains (Independent)

A stunning first novel ... if Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four. An extraordinary and brilliant accomplishment - a must read (Nelson DeMille)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The waste bin liked it 31 Aug 2009
The cover looked promising....the blurb sounded promising.....the book was pretentious rubbish!!! I love books...I read it through just so that I could consider revising my opinion but no....I'd been right all along....badly engaging characters....I considered donating it to the local charity shop after writing 'this book is VERY BAD' on the inside cover but even that I felt would be cruel to the poor person who bought what else can a girl do?????? Bin it-----tore it up and binned it....waste of good money.
Memo to self: think very carefully before buying books written by two people.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid 10 May 2005
By L. Davidson VINE VOICE
Like many of the other reviewers, I bought "The Rule of Four" in anticipation of it being another "Da Vinci Code" , but it failed to immerse me and I was left disappointed by an insubstantial plot, weak characterisation and stodgy prose. A lot of it reads like some sort of autobiographical blog about the authors' university days , with a lot of uninteresting detail about campus Dining Clubs , "Nude Olympics" and so forth. Virtually the whole novel is set on campus and it centres around a group of Princeton undergraduates solving a hidden set of riddles within an arcane Renaissance novel written by an obscure Italian humanist. While "The Da Vinci Code" was fast paced and combined an absorbing plot with plenty of page-turning drama and excitement, "The Rule of Four" possessed none of these qualities. None of the characters seemed "real" to me and it was hard to empathise with any of them. However one positive thing to be taken from the novel was the way in which the authors conveyed that addictive feeling of obsession with an academic subject and the overwhelming intellectual satisfaction that the study and subsequent understanding of it brings. The glories and delights of Reason. The broadbrush themes of the novel are Reason versus Faith, Humanism versus Religion and Idealism versus Materialism , however these themes really need a pacier writing style and a less one dimensional plot to do them justice. There is too much padding in the form of inconsequential pseudo-philosophical ramblings about love and friendship and excessive detail about trivial undergraduate social events to make this novel rise above being anything more than instantly forgettable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars laboured, dull and a let-down 27 Sep 2004
One of those books where you can skip the first 75 pages and still understand the nuances of the plot, so slow and directionless are the initial chapters. It livens up a little as we progress but the plot is very very weak and I felt no great warmth to any of the main characters. All in all, not much to recommend. 370+ pages that could easily have been condensed into a 100 page short story without losing much of the substance. Whatever Dan Brown's faults, this is no match for a detailed and entertaining plot. As for a rival to Umberto Eco, uhm, no.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really a thriller! 19 July 2004
By A Customer
Probably my mistake, for thinking this was going to be similar to the likes of 'Da Vinci Code'. It isn't. It's more about the lifestyle at Princeton for undergraduates, and how four guys get on there. There's much more of that than plot, to be honest! There is a small amount of interesting 'code' stuff, but it's a slow read, so don't expect a rip roaring roller coaster of a ride!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Ghastly Mistake 5 Dec 2005
It is not generaly fair to compare books with each other and this should not even be compared to the fairly dire Da Vinci Code and certainly not with the Name of the Rose. This book is possibly, without doubt the most tedious ill concieved confections ever written. NEVER buy a book written by two authors. It starts depressingly slow and develops an even slower booring pace that never lifts or entertains at any level. I can only assume that those readers that gave it any praise at all (and there are some) are either in the pay of the authors/publishers or have been consuming substances! I know I would need to have both to find anything of interest or value in this book. Unlikable characters and no stroy development. This is tedious tripe of the lowest order. Possibly one of the most senseless boring books I have ever read. I only hope I can save someone hours of pain. Do not buy this book. Amazon have so many better ones.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Loss of life 21 May 2010
Till the moment I will be lowered into my grave, shall I rue that I ever got involved with this. The authors deserve to be sued for loss of lifetime and for good measure, so should the genius who thought this was "The Da Vinci Code for people with brains." Plotless, smug, pretentious, this makes Dan Brown look like Dostoevsky. More disturbing than the thought of having to ever read this again, is that there are folk in the real world who think this book deserves five stars. If you see a copy of this, even in a charity shop, run to the mountains.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rule of tedium 12 Aug 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book thinking that it would be a good read. What a disappointment!
It is one of the dullest books I've ever read, without any discernable plot,and badly written too. Why the readers have to trawl through all the padding in this book is the only mystery, because at the end, and I did read to the end, I was still wondering when the story would begin
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Four warning for those lured by the hype... 18 May 2005
A thriller without thrills, a pretentious waste of time - for the two 'authors' who apparently took years to bring this farrago to us, as well as anyone unfortunate enough to read it. 'The rule of four' fails on so many levels, it's difficult to know where to begin. By the time the plot actually starts - about 100 pages in, the reader is dizzy from both the chronological shifts and driven to the borders of madness by the petty, self-pitying and ultimately pointlessly dull life story of the chief protagonist. I thought the 'Da Vinci Code' was poorly written, stretching credulity and its readers patience. This is in a league of its own. Were 'the rule of four' a rare book (rather than one that will soon be remaindered), I would fight to hinder its discovery. It would be nice to think that the authors would consider alternate employment after releasing this stinker and hyping it with references to both Dan Brown's publishing phenomenon and to the 'Name of the Rose'. Perhaps they have found a sure fire cure for insomnia. If you like rare books, literary codes or just like to read entertaining fiction, avoid 'the rule of four'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Slavish attention of first rule of debut novel writing leads to...
‘Write what you know’ aspiring writers are frequently advised. Unsurprisingly, therefore, these two Princeton graduates wrote a book about a quartet of Princeton undergraduates and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Philtrum
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story
I've read it before several years ago but enjoying it again. A good page turner with some good writing and ideas from the authors.
Published 4 months ago by marcia astor
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book!!
I don't understand all the negative reviews. This was a perfectly enjoyable thriller. It doesn't rattle along like some books but was definitely not turgid or boring. Read more
Published 5 months ago by stuff 13
1.0 out of 5 stars No!
Bought this book because of the rave reviews. "A Da Vinci Code but more intelligent" Couple of chapters in - scene where an illiterate pickpocket has to steal a super secret... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Tessa66
1.0 out of 5 stars Should be on prescription.
A bad book is a bad book. And this is one of the worsts I have ever read.
I was intrigued by the subject and the settings. Read more
Published 10 months ago by corrado Garofalo
1.0 out of 5 stars None
What a dull book. It would be more exciting counting sheep. I find it hard to believe that two people could write such twaddle.
Published 10 months ago by Peter Cook
1.0 out of 5 stars The Unruly Four
The book offers a truly great idea for a first-class thriller plot. Old Italian nobleman writes mysterious and complicated book in 1499 and has it printed in order both to preserve... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Hansen
1.0 out of 5 stars The Rule of Hype
This dreadful book is a fine example of how marketing hype can elevate the worst writing to the ranks of the 'International Bestseller'. Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2012 by jerryoh
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop comparing to Dan Brown...
I'm no literary scholar, and I really enjoyed Dan Brown's books, but The Rule of Four was fantastic, I couldn't put it down! Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2012 by krustydad
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this one
Tells the story of 4 Princeton roommates getting ready for graduation: Tom, Paul, Charlie and Gil. Paul is trying to solve the mystery contained within an extremely rare and very... Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by Dafydd the Dragon
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