What readers think of The Rule of Four, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Rule of Four

by Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason X
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2004, 384 pages

    Jun 2005, 464 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 1 of 4
There are currently 27 reader reviews for The Rule of Four
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


This book was fantastic. I believe it had a strong plot and, at the same time, was a lot of fun to read. It was a cerebral, challenging read that would give satisfaction to even the most harsh critic. Being in my teenage years, it is very important for me to read something that is interesting, yet at the same time is not completely brainless. This book, actually enthralled me as I too tried to crack the mystery. As compared to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I would definetly rate this one a bit better. Don't get me wrong now, those books were awesome as well, its just that The Rule of Four made you think whereas Dan Brown's books give you the answers relatively soon.

I try to find time to read good books. Now I make the time. This is great story! I am excited to see great writers adding more than just another story. Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason along with another great writer Dan brown all research and write fiction with fact and come up with plots for stories that grab you take you along for the ride through the world secrets,and thrilling suspense. I want more. Good story good plot and a toast to GREAT NEW AUTHORS LIKE THEM. thank you all I'm exited when I pick up a book again. I loved it and read it 3 timesBRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Geoff Morrison

Not only an entertaining book, but one with subtle and overwhelming truths about early adulthood and the implicit challenges of being that age. I could not put it down!

I just finished reading this book and all I can say is "kudos" to these two relatively young authors for creating such an intense, enlightening, and engrossing read. The character development in this story was excellent and I found myself wishing I had gone to school with their four main characters. The analogies and metaphors used throughout the writing were so well written; I found myself reading many of the passages over and over again.

To those readers who are looking for a page turner from the get-go, this is not. I wasn't grabbed until the second half of the book at which point I could not put it down. However, allow the first half of the book to let you become acquainted with the characters so you understand where each have come from and what motivates them. My only criticism is that some of the description of the Princeton campus and its events and minor characters which were not critical to the storyline could have been edited to keep the plot flow better connected. I sometimes could not tell right away when an event was happening in the present or past.

I'm sorry to see this very well written book constantly compared to Dan Brown novels (which I also thought were great) because the writing styles are so different. Don't expect a fast paced Brown story; give this one time to develop, enjoy the beautifully descriptive writing and you'll be unhappy when the story ends....only because you can't read any more of it!

I loved this book (more than The Da Vinci Code), the prose is great, the caracteres are vibrant, and the misteries of the Hypenerotomachia are fun to watch unravel. I understand that it's not as fast passed as Dan brown's books, but the time the authors give to each caracter is extremely important. It makes us care for them (something that never happens in "The Da Vinci Code"). I recommend this book. It's not as bombastic as Dan Brown's book, but I find much more satisfying to read.
Roanoke CPA

For me, a good book is one which does two things. First, it must relate a "good story" in a "fresh manner" so that it keeps my interest. Second, it must make me dog ear many of its pages because I am so moved by passages whose structure perfectly describes a situation, an emotion or well, just life.

The Rule of Four met both of my requirements. The story idea and plot structure were very creative, though the book retells the old tales of love and loss, betrayal, redemption, and the rite of passage from carefree college existence to real life. Many times I stopped my reading cold, as I found myself rereading and savoring each word of a poignant passage: a most impressive accomplishment from two authors with limited "real life" experience.

A tremendous first effort!


Shadow of the Wind meets the DaVinci Code
If you're in between books, and want a nice, light read, The Rule of Four is it. Well written, not too deep, it's a nice story of love between friends, love between parents/children, and what connects them. I enjoyed it because it didn't demand too much of me and I didn't expect much of it.

A decent read, with a misleading book jacket.
This book could best be summarized as the result of Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook) attempting to write a guide to college life at Princeton, while occasionally mentioning a mysterious ancient encoded document just enough to serve as the proverbial dangling carrot for the reader lured in by comparisons to Dan Brown.

The Rule of Four is first a book about four young men at college, and their trials and tribulations and interpersonal relationships. It is second a book about the fond remembrance of time spent at Princeton, and only third a book about an ancient encoded document, which seems a subplot at best.

First the good, then the bad. This is a well-written book, with rich almost tactile descriptions, intense character depth and development, intelligent references to historical events, fantastic similies and metaphors, and warm nostalgia for anyone who enjoyed college life. Unfortunately, this list excludes what most paperback readers look for first- an exciting plot. It appears that the list of compliments presented above seems to have taken the authors' attention away from crafting a thrilling plot. Only a handful of chapters can be called "page-turners"- the rest of the book plods along slowly and sometimes seemingly aimlessly, spending many chapters on tangents developing the characters to a level only a psychologist could appreciate, and describing locations, traditions and events at Princeton only an alumnus could appreciate. Clearly it takes a skillful writer to do these things so well as the authors, but when the effort takes away from an involving plot, it leaves the reader wanting more.

Perhaps if the jacket had not made comparisons to Dan Brown's DaVinci Code (which I found enthralling), my comments would be different. Then again, if the jacket had more accurately compared the story to Nicholas Sparks, I would not have read it.

Join BookBrowse

For a year of great reading
about exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Loved and Missed
    by Susie Boyt
    London-based author and theater director Susie Boyt has written seven novels and the PEN Ackerley ...
  • Book Jacket: Beyond the Door of No Return
    Beyond the Door of No Return
    by David Diop
    In early 19th-century France, Aglaé's father Michel Adanson dies of old age. Sitting at ...
  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    by Ben Goldfarb
    We've all seen it—a dead animal carcass on the side of the road, clearly mowed down by a car. ...
  • Book Jacket: Wifedom
    by Anna Funder
    When life became overwhelming for writer, wife, and mother Anna Funder in the summer of 2017, she ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Fair Rosaline
by Natasha Solomons
A subversive, powerful untelling of Romeo and Juliet by New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    All You Have to Do Is Call
    by Kerri Maher

    An inspiring novel based on the true story of the Jane Collective and the brave women who fought for our right to choose.

  • Book Jacket

    Digging Stars
    by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

    Blending drama and satire, Digging Stars probes the emotional universes of love, friendship, family, and nationhood.

Win This Book
Win Moscow X

25 Copies to Give Away!

A daring CIA operation threatens chaos in the Kremlin. But can Langley trust the Russian at its center?



Solve this clue:

A M I A Terrible T T W

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.