The Rule of Four is a novel written by two authors; Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. The back cover has a comment from Nelson DeMille; "If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be The Rule of Four." Having read Dan Brown's books, I was intrigue by the comment. Also, I saw this book was featured in a couple of bookstores. I decided to buy the book. It took me a while to read and finish it.
The story in the book is about a mysterious Renaissance text called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This text has seduced many people. Marriage went cold. Friendship was broken. Even murder!
Messages were coded in the text by using steganography and cryptography at the same time. To get the actual message(s) you have to solve some riddles. A student took this text as his thesis at Princeton. Needless to say, there were problems and fiasco. Can he finished his thesis and solve the mystery behind the text?
I love reading books with code and hidden messages, but this book is dancing around it. It doesn't give the actual text to see how difficult it is to write (and break) the riddles. The rule of four itself is only introduced at the end and is only used a little. Why the title bears it, I don't know. Why four? It could be the rule of five for all I care. They should explore more into the rule of four. I've got the feeling that the end of the book was written in a hurry. But, what do I know? I am not a writer.
For some reasons, I found the book difficult to read. Maybe it's because the book uses many references to the Renaissance era which I am not familiar with. It's just difficult for me to memorize the names and events. It goes fast forward dan flashback creating a jumpy flow, in my opinion. Because of that, I'll give 4 stars out of 5.