Ian Caldwell attended Princeton University, where he studied history. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1998. He began writing The Rule of Four with his best friend, Dustin Thomason, after graduation. His second book, The Fifth Gospel, was published in 2015.
He lives in Newport News, Virginia.
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Conversation with Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason,
authors of the debut novel
The Rule of Four
The novel centers on a real Renaissance text, The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili;
a book that is fairly obscure. Explain how you discovered this book and why
you choose to develop your story around it.
We owe it to a Princeton seminar entitled "Renaissance Art, Science, and Magic." Ians final paper for the seminar dealt with a 1499 text entitled Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, one of the most beautiful and valuable books of early Western printing, and one that has divided scholars for years over its meaning and the identity of its author. By the time the research paper was finished, we were already planning to spend the summer writing an intellectual suspense novel together. The mystery of the Hypnerotomachia supplied a perfect starting point, and before long we had hatched a "solution" to the books mystery that became the centerpiece of the plot.
You seamlessly blend fact and fiction throughout the novel. For example, Savonarola is a real historical figure, about whom much is known, but what of Francesco Colonna, the author of the Hypnerotomachia? How much...
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