Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$4.30
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: ELIGIBLE FOR *FREE* SUPER SAVER SHIPPING. AMAZON CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH DELIVERY TRACKING.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Rule of Four Hardcover – May 11, 2004

2.6 out of 5 stars 1,316 customer reviews

See all 37 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$1.39 $0.01

You Will Know Me: A Novel by Megan Abbott
"You Will Know Me" by Megan Abbott
The audacious new novel about family and ambition from the award-winning author of The Fever, Megan Abbott. Learn more | See related books
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Caldwell and Thomason's intriguing intellectual suspense novel stars four brainy roommates at Princeton, two of whom have links to a mysterious 15th-century manuscript, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This rare text (a real book) contains embedded codes revealing the location of a buried Roman treasure. Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are inevitable, but Caldwell and Thomason's book is the more cerebral-and better written-of the two: think Dan Brown by way of Donna Tartt and Umberto Eco. The four seniors are Tom Sullivan, Paul Harris, Charlie Freeman and Gil Rankin. Tom, the narrator, is the son of a Renaissance scholar who spent his life studying the ancient book, "an encyclopedia masquerading as a novel, a dissertation on everything from architecture to zoology." The manuscript is also an endless source of fascination for Paul, who sees it as "a siren, a fetching song on a distant shore, all claws and clutches in person. You court her at your risk." This debut novel's range of topics almost rivals the Hypnerotomachia's itself, including etymology, Renaissance art and architecture, Princeton eating clubs, friendship, steganography (riddles) and self-interpreting manuscripts. It's a complicated, intricate and sometimes difficult read, but that's the point and the pleasure. There are murders, romances, dangers and detection, and by the end the heroes are in a race not only to solve the puzzle, but also to stay alive. Readers might be tempted to buy their own copy of the Hypnerotomachia and have a go at the puzzle. After all, Caldwell and Thomason have done most of the heavy deciphering-all that's left is to solve the final riddle, head for Rome and start digging.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–A compelling modern thriller that cleverly combines history and mystery. When four Princeton seniors begin the Easter weekend, they are more concerned with their plans for the next year and an upcoming dance than with a 500-year-old literary mystery. But by the end of the holiday, two people are dead, two of the students are injured, and one has disappeared. These events, blended with Renaissance history, code breaking, acrostics, sleuthing, and personal discovery, move the story along at a rapid pace. Tom Sullivan, the narrator, tells of his late father's and then a roommate's obsession with the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a 15th-century "novel" that has long puzzled scholars. Paul has built his senior thesis on an unpopular theory posited by Tom's father–that the author was an upper-class Roman rather than a monk–and has come close to proving it. While much of the material on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is arcane and specialized, it is clearly explained and its puzzles are truly puzzling, while the present-day action is compelling enough to keep teens reading. There is a love interest for Tom and a lively portrayal of Princeton life. This novel will appeal to readers of Dan Brown's TheDa Vinci Code (Doubleday, 2003) but it supplies a lot more food for thought, even including some salacious woodcuts from the original book as well as coded excerpts and their solutions.–Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 373 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; 1st edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385337116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385337113
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,316 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Comparisons between this book and The DaVinci Code were as inevitable as they were unfair. It's *not* another DaVinci Code. It's not a fast-paced thriller or mystery. While ancient secrets, old paintings, and mysterious codes drive TDC they are simply plot devices in The Rule of Four.

This is a classic coming-of-age tale. Perhaps it would be more fair to compare it to A Separate Peace. It is far more cerebral than TDC or any of Dan Brown's work. It contains more emotion in one chapter than in all of the Dan Brown mysteries put together.

I loved this book. Parts of it are absolutely brilliant. But to appreciate that, you must read this book for what it is. I'm certain that calling it the next DaVinci Code has helped sales. I'm equally certain it hasn't helped readers to appreciate this novel and has probably left many of them confused and disappointed.

Don't read it because someone said it's the next flash-in-the-pan mystery, the next big thing.

Read it for it's exploration of human relationships, the complexity and changes of growing up, the difficulties of integrating our pasts with our futures.
1 Comment 62 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
According to the press reviews, this looked like my kind of book: a scholarly, erudite, well-written thriller. At the moment, I'm trying desperately to make it to page 150, constantly irritated by inconsistencies and downright idiocies. Here are a few examples.
1. The opening scenes take place during an April snowfall. While this is not improbable, it's described as the first snowfall of the year. Give me a break, no snow in New Jersey during January, February, or March?
2. Arcangelo Corelli is referred to as "a slightly obscure Italian composer". As a musician, I found this a strange statement coming from the mouth of a character supposedly named after Corelli, who is not obscure in the least.
3. Another character is portrayed simultaneously as suffering from a heart murmur and as being an athlete and football player. Not impossible, but a potential contradiction which demands some explanation, such as "Despite his heart condition . . . "
4. In one of the events taking place in the 15th century, an "illiterate pickpocket" is hired to break into a residence and copy some documents. How someone illiterate could copy anything written is beyond belief.
And these are just a few. Even without such inanities, the book is poorly written. It sounds just like what it is, the product of a couple of pretentious Ivy League undergrads. What I don't get is the enthusiastic reception it got from the critics. Did they actually read this nonsense?
7 Comments 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Compared to other academic thrillers like Rabid: A Novel, The Dante Club: A Novel, or Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Rule of Four doesn't measure up.

The Rule of Four is set at Princeton, very obviously at Princeton, at look-at-me-I'm-a-Princetonian Princeton. There's a part in this book where the authors (and the characters are obviously the authors,) sneer at someone who is too obsequious, too flashy, not Ivy League subtle enough, and yet that's exactly what they're doing throughout this whole book.

Plotwise, the major turning points were oddly pulled out from under the major characters, much like a duel that happens off-stage and then someone staggers onto stage and tells you about it, and in a boring manner.

It's a first novel, and these two writers are very young. Some of the passages have merit. It will be interesting to watch them mature as writers.

Minna
5 Comments 111 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The premise was interesting, but the characters were lifeless for me. I didn't care about any of them. There was way too much about college life and not enough about the so-called mystery, although if they had stuck to the mystery the book would have been a fraction of the length. If the mystery/suspense aspect hadn't been hyped so much, I wouldn't have bought this in the first place. I have many books that I read and re-read mainly because I enjoy the quality of writing and the characterizations, but this certainly isn't one of them.

The choice of writing in the first person present tense was curious. This works for short stories, but I think this book shows why it doesn't work for novels, at least for me. It made it very difficult to get past the reading process and into the story. I can generally get lost in a story and forget I'm reading, but not with this one.

I rarely get rid of books (I have 3700+ around the house), but this one is headed for Goodwill or Half Price.
6 Comments 98 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book started out with promise, but quickly begand a spiraling descent into a mish mash of history lessons, bad writing, perspective on life, and cardboard cutout characters.

The insight into Princeton, academia, and the Renaissance was interesting...but thats about it. The story was too involved, the 'quest' for knowledge not intriguing enough, and at the end it devolved into a shadow of a man, the main character, pontificating over his life, which meant absolutely nothing to me.

Beyond a few history lessons, this book doesn't have much to offer. The Da Vinci Code at least swept you along in a fast pace of mystry and puzzles, but this one was more like slogging through an end of the year term paper. As opposed to hard to put down, it was hard to pick up.

I'd recommend this one to readers who aren't too selective and who just need a book to kill time...if there's nothing else at the bookstore.
2 Comments 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews