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

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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:

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  • First Published:
    May 2004, 384 pages

    Jun 2005, 464 pages


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There are currently 27 reader reviews for The Rule of Four
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Kenneth Laufer

I wasn't deficient.....the book was!
I was glad to read the negative opinions of this book, because I blamed myself for finding it for the most part incomprehensible and boring. I agree with all the lousy feelings about this book.
Elle Mac

Lacks Four= plot, character, pace and writing.
This book was compared on the jacket to The Da Vinci Code , The Name of the Rose and The Secret History. All I can say is; Donna Tartt and Umberto Eco must be furious: and I never thought I'd say this, but come back, Dan Brown, all is forgiven.
At least Dan Brown understands pace.

Tartt and Eco wear their erudition lightly, but their craft lies in the flow of the story, relatively unencumbered by detail which detracts from the events unfolding.

Caldwell and Thomason bombard you with detail: arcane too-clever-by-half detail: obsessive detail about life at Princeton: constant repetitions of poverty-stricken phraseology and unintentionally-grating use of colloquialisms.

I cannot remember how many times I cringed at the term "figure out" to explain how they variously computed something mathematically, understood an argument, recognised a reference or simply pondered deeply upon the meaning of life until they had come to some simple conclusion.

The word "okay" is similarly over-used considering the desire of the authors to demonstrate the scholarly erudition of their characters.
I laughed out loud when one of the major incidents of the book occurred- the murder of a student who is shot, and explodes backwards out of an office window to fall to the hard surface of the quadrangle on a freezing night- and Gil, one of the four main protagonists, comments, "I hope he's okay".

The paucity of the language used in the book really upset me considering the high-falutin' tone.

Very well, it has ciphers, Renaissance mysteries, undergraduates, murders, theses, characters. All good ingredients for a book- but these ingredients don't cook up to a good repast, more of a stodgy pudding that requires a good lie-down afterwards to recover from the indigestion.
Tim O.

My sentiments exactly...
I echo many of the review on this website...the beginning of the story has potential, then dies on the vine. I was extremely disappointed with the book.

Although I'm not a huge Dan Brown fan, at least his books have good pacing to them. "Rule of Four" just meanders around most of the time without any real purpose. For all the authors wordiness trying to establish and build-up the characters, I never really cared for any of them. I felt little if any emotion for the characters or story itself. Very disappointing.

I read this book following an almost obsessive plunge into the Da Vinci code and Angels and Demons. There was a great idea flowing through this story, and the 'hypnerotomachia' plot was fascinating. But it was far too diluted and distracted I felt by everything else that was going on. It seemed very weighted by it's nostalgia for student life and Princeton, which I'm sure was great for the authors but when you live in London is really not that riveting. I wanted the story to pick me up and keep me reading, but i really felt that I was perservering just to get to the end and a conclusion, rather than because I was absorbed by it. Wereas Dan Brown delivered a 3 course meal, this really felt a bit more like a starter.

This book meanders aimlessly around the main topic...decyphering an ancient book. Throughout the story, the book weaves tiresomely from one trivial historical facts to another without tying any them together or to the mystery at hand. A story that could have been told in less than 100 pages...instead, craws on as a murder mystery that was very boring. The relentless description of college life and traditions distracted me from the main point of this fiction.

Nelson DeMille's review stated, "If Scott Fitzgerald, Umberto Eco, and Dan Brown teamed up to write a novel, the result would be THE RULE OF FOUR." Please, Mr. DeMille, don't insult readers or those talented writers who have earned their reputation. In fact, your review is a better piece of fiction than this book. Caldwell and Thomason have done a good job for first time writers, but let's just leave it at that. This book is nothing spectacular. The characters are not worth remembering, nor is the plot. Let's hope that their next endeavor does not revolve around Princeton coeds. I might have enjoyed this book more if I was a Princeton coed, but since I am not, and I really don't care to learn anything about the Ivy League school, I found the book pretty boring. I think that Caldwell and Thomason are intelligent young men who may find a better audience writing college textbooks.
John Ryley

I rated this book a two. There is no comparison to Dan Brown's books. The theme of the book is interesting, but the relationship of the students at Princeton is boring. The ending is unsatisfactory suggesting a sequel. I won't be reading the sequel. I usually don't read books written by two authors, but since there was nothing new out, I decided to get this book at the library. Don't bother adding this one to your collection. The critics' hype is undeserved.

Is it just me that feels that this book was nothing more than a 400 page introduction of characters? The best thing about this book was the lightning-fast speed at which I would fall asleep when reading it. I recommend this book to all insomniacs desperately seeking an alternative to prescription drugs.

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