The #1 international bestseller, from Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose
“Vintage Eco . . . the book is a triumph.” – New York Review of Books
Nineteenth-century Europe—from Turin to Prague to Paris—abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. Conspiracies rule history. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man?
“[Eco] demonstrates once again that his is a voice that compels our attention” – San Francisco Chronicle
“Choreographed by a truth that is itself so strange a novelist need hardly expand on it to produce a wondrous tale . . . Eco is to be applauded for bringing this stranger-than-fiction truth vividly to life.” – New York Times
“Classic Eco, with a difference.” – Los Angeles Times
This e-book includes a sample chapter of NAME OF THE ROSE.
Eco's latest takes as its focal point the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous and discredited document used by anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists everywhere as proof of a worldwide Jewish cabal. His fictional main character, Simone Simonini, is a spy, a forger, a murderer, and a misanthrope, whose deep hatred of the Jews (for starters) drives him to cobble together the Protocols from the actual texts of historical figures like Maurice Joly, Abb Augustin Barruel, and L o Taxil. Complicating matters is Simonini's gradual realization that he is suffering from a split personality, dividing his time between his conspiratorial acts as the self-anointed "Captain" Simonini and as a suspicious priest, Abb Dalla Piccola. What follows is an overstuffed, intriguing, hilarious, and frustrating glimpse into the turbulent power struggles of late 19th-century Europe and the imagined path to one of the most notorious documents of the early 20th century. Readers of Eco's oeuvre will no doubt be familiar with, and most likely welcome as a challenge, the author's insistence on cluttering his narrative with what can only be characterized as intellectual braggadocio. Such extemporaneous information certainly adds to the sense of place and the awareness of being told a tale by a master, but the narrative gets lost in the details. While no one expects Dan Brown simplicity from Eco, his desire to impress and demand so much of his readers sometimes works against his best intentions. Illus.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Prague Cemetery
Whether lost, diluted, or deformed in translation, any artistry in the construction and flow of Eco's prose is not to be found in The Prague Cemetery. Readers expecting a thrilling, erudite fictional exploration of Freemasonry and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion had better look elsewhere. The plot boils down to a account of the origin of the controversial Protocols from the vantage of the Eco's protagonist. This may be a worthy starting point for a compelling story, but does not suffice on it's own to drive a plot. Eco throws in a few murders and some split personalities to further contrive things, none of which amount to a book that is fun to read.