While this book is ostensibly about conspiracies, ancient orders, secret societies, codes, riddles, catacombs and satanic rites it is also about less esoteric themes - obsession, meaning, reality vs. fantasy. Possibly it is an analogy to the dangers of historical revision. It attacks both modernism and tradition, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It derides false authenticity, and yet hints at a diffusionism in which nothing can be authentic. Eco combines scholarly treatises, human interest stories, absurd character studies and serious introspection in a story that encompasses all of written history. Taught, measured, delivered expertly in careful doses, the narrative is addictive - I read this book in three days. The only thing I can compare it to is the [b:Illuminatus Trilogy
The Illuminatus! Trilogy The Eye in the Pyramid/The Golden Apple/Leviathan
Robert Joseph Shea
813], but none of its humor is self-aware or full of winking fan-service; or perhaps the film “Pi,” but of course, Eco is much more skilled than poor Aronofsky, and the journey of descent into obsessive desire for grand secret knowledge (and thus madness) is gradually illuminated rather than drilled into our heads... In short, this book is fantastic. You should read it you uncultured fascist pig!