The Rule of Four

by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, 2004

Good read. Four roommates at Princeton, two are researching the Hypnerotomachia, a 500-year old book which is a mystery. Paul figures it out – you think he is dead. Tom is whiling away his life as a software analyst in Texas when an ancient painting shows up in his mail. No return address except a code, which is deciphered, Italy, Florence, Gen 45:19. Joseph says to his brothers, “Get your father and come.” Means Paul has found Francesco Colonna’s crypt where he saved artifacts from Savonarola’s bonfire of the vanities.

This is all the last part – last few pages of the book. Tom decides to quit his job in Texas and go to Florence and help Paul. Most of the book is the struggle to interpret the Hypnerotomachia and how Tom would help Paul, then quit, then start, then stop.

Real good character development. Loved the 4 guys – good friends. Sometimes hard to follow though – philosophical, etc.