This is the definitive Thinking Man’s Dan Brown.
But it’s much more than that: it’s a meditation on the search for meaning in our lives. It’s an intellectual proving ground for ideas on language. One of the reviews on the back cover describe the book as “a magical mystery tour of the Western mind.” And that does ring true. Eco artfully, playfully mixes and matches all the conspiracies, secret orders of the past 2000 years into one single book. Templars meet ancient Celts and Egyptians, the Assassins meet the Masons, who meet Hitler…it’s all here, brilliantly presented.
Eco is witty and deep, well-researched (massively, and impressively, in fact) and erudite. I have never spent so much time looking up words, phrases, people and ideas. And they are all real figures, real ideas. Mystery, meets historical puzzle, meets novel.
I highly recommend this book: it’s fun, dramatic and very smart.