In March, Umberto Eco’s novel is being reissued. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but it was a fun and complex story. I always liked to think of it as the kind of twisty, conspiracy-laden novel that could best be summed up as “The Da Vinci Code” for people who actually liked to read.
Here’s the Library Journal review:
Student of philology in 1970s Milan, Casaubon is completing a thesis on the Templars, a monastic knighthood disbanded in the 1300s for questionable practices. At Pilades Bar, he meets up with Jacopo Belbo, an editor of obscure texts at Garamond Press. Together with Belbo’s colleague Diotallevi, they scrutinize the fantastic theories of a prospective author, Colonel Ardenti, who claims that for seven centuries the Templars have been carrying out a complex scheme of revenge. When Ardenti disappears mysteriously, the three begin using their detailed knowledge of the occult sciences to construct a Plan for the Templars[…] In his compulsively readable new novel, Eco plays with “the notion that everything might be mysteriously related to everything else,” suggesting that we ourselves create the connections that make up reality. As in his best-selling The Name of the Rose, he relies on abstruse reasoning without losing the reader, for he knows how to use “the polyphony of ideas” as much for effect as for content. Indeed, with its investigation of the ever-popular occult, this highly entertaining novel should be every bit as successful as its predecessor.
And in case you’ve no clue what the pendulum is, here’s a YouTube video of it taken at the Musée des arts et métiers (Paris):