Dustin Thomason is an American writer and producer. He attended Harvard University, where he studied anthropology and medicine. He won the Hoopes Prize for undergraduate writing, and graduated in 1998. He began writing his first novel, The Rule of Four with his best friend, Ian Caldwell, after graduation, which was published in 2004. The book went on to become the best selling novel of the decade. His second novel 12.21, was again an international bestseller. He is also co-creator of the television drama The Evidence, and is executive producer for several other television series. Thomason now lives in New York City.
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A 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 is ...
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