This isn't a terrible book, in fact the core story is pretty decent for most of the thing, but if you have read any of the best books in the literary mystery genre, you have read this story before. It is one part Club Dumas, one part Name of the Rose and one part pretension. Seriously, to slough through the book, you have to face down a formidable vocabulary of tongue and mind twisting words and many mind boggeling lists of names and books that show the author did mountains of research, but this verbal and historical pomposity doesn't really add anything to the story. Don't get me wrong, I love many of the erudite elements that the author stabbed at (and others like Perez-Reverte have mastered) but in this case, it became very annoying very quickly. The obscure references and go-grab-the-dictionary terms merely pad the story, they don't add to it. If you like the types of books where books play a major role, you may be able to plod through this as I did, but otherwise, read one of the better efforts in the genre. Otherwise, when you reach the "trick" of the narrative near the end and shake your head at the deux-ex-machina element of the climax, you may become seriously upset at the whole ordeal. I was merely annoyed and wished I hadn't wasted valuable reading hours at the effort.