464 pages, 7.86 × 5.41 × 1.08 in
August 29, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0547844204
ISBN - 13: 9780547844206
About the Book
Nineteenth-century Europe abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Every nation has its own secret service, and conspiracies rule history. What if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man?
Read from the Book
1 A PASSERBY ON THAT GRAY MORNING A passerby on that gray morning in March 1897, crossing, at his own risk and peril, place Maubert, or the Maub, as it was known in criminal circles (formerly a center of university life in the Middle Ages, when students flocked there from the Faculty of Arts in Vicus Stramineus, or rue du Fouarre, and later a place of execution for apostles of free thought such as Étienne Dolet), would have found himself in one of the few spots in Paris spared from Baron Haussmann’s devastations, amid a tangle of malodorous alleys, sliced in two by the course of the Bièvre, which still emerged here, flowing out from the bowels of the metropolis, where it had long been confined, before emptying feverish, gasping and verminous into the nearby Seine. From place Maubert, already scarred by boulevard Saint-Germain, a web of narrow lanes still branched off, such as rue Maître-Albert, rue Saint-Séverin, rue Galande, rue de la Bûcherie, rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, as far as rue de la Huchette, littered with filthy hotels generally run by Auvergnat hoteliers of legendary cupidity, who demanded one franc for the first night and forty centimes thereafter (plus twenty sous if you wanted a sheet). If he were to turn into what was later to become rue Sauton but was then still rue d’Amboise, about halfway along the street, between a brothel masquerading as a brasserie and a tavern that served dinner with foul wine for two sous (cheap even then, but all that was affordabl
From the Publisher
The #1 international bestseller, from Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose
'Vintage Eco . . . the book is a triumph.' - New York Review of Books
Nineteenth-century Europe-from Turin to Prague to Paris-abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. Conspiracies rule history. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man?
'[Eco] demonstrates once again that his is a voice that compels our attention' - San Francisco Chronicle
'Choreographed by a truth that is itself so strange a novelist need hardly expand on it to produce a wondrous tale . . . Eco is to be applauded for bringing this stranger-than-fiction truth vividly to life.' - New York Times
'Classic Eco, with a difference.' - Los Angeles Times
About the Author
UMBERTO ECO is the author of five novels and numerous essay collections, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. RICHARD DIXON lives and works in Italy. His translations include works by Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, and Giacomo Leopardi. His translation of The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco was short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2012.
"I find this book fascinating, perhaps the best Eco has written in years." —Huffington Post
"A well-executed thriller . . . provocative and suspenseful." —USA Today
"[Eco's] latest takes that longtime thriller darling, the conspiracy theory, and turns it into something grander...Sold to 40 countries and said to be controversial; a speed-read with smarts." —Library Journal, "My Picks"
"A whirlwind tour of conspiracy and political intrigue...this dark tale is delightfully embellished with sophisticated and playful commentary on, among other things, Freud, metafiction, and the challenges of historiography." —Booklist
"Intriguing, hilarious....a tale by a master." —Publishers Weekly boxed review
"He's got a humdinger in this new high-level whodunit...a perplexing, multilayered, attention-holding mystery." —Kirkus