The Rule of Four

“A son is the promise that time makes to a man, the guarantee every father receives that whatever he holds dear will someday be considered foolish, and that the person he loves best in the world will misunderstand him.”

From that sentence in the first chapter of The Rule of Four, I knew I was going to enjoy the book. And it did not disappoint. It’s set at Princeton in 1999, and follows the story of four seniors as one of them is trying to finish his thesis, which centers around a confusing Renaissance text. (If you want to read actual reviews of the book instead of just my random thoughts, go here.)

It’s being compared to The Da Vinci Code, which is an apt comparison. Except, this book is much better written than Dan Brown’s novel, which I think needed another round or two of editing. I laughed, though, when I saw reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble saying things like, “These guys are no Dan Brown,” or “This book is no Da Vinci Code.” Thank goodness! Oh, wait, that’s not what they meant. So, if you loved The Da Vinci Code, you might not love this book. But if you enjoyed the style of Da Vinci with its intellectual puzzles but thought it went on a bit too long with a few too many silly “reveals,” you might like this one better. Most of the problem-solving was over my head, but it was still interesting, even though I had never heard of the Hypnerotomachia. I enjoyed the characters and the setting – it was filled with information about life at Princeton, which was fun to compare to my own undergraduate experience.

Overall, a fun read. The ending was a bit clich├ęd, but it left me satisfied. I agree with Book Page’s review: A thinking person’s thriller of the highest order.

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