"The Rule of Four" is Not a DVC

The Rule of Four is a thriller written by fresh writers Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I first saw the book in landmark Chennai. I went through first few pages of the book filled with lot of glorifying reviews. Even one of the reviewers has gone to an extent of saying that it is better than DVC. The comparison of the book to Da Vinci Code is what that tempted me to buy the book.

The premise of the book is something similar to that of DVC. Hyneretomachia is a book written 5 centuries before. The content of the book is so unique and complex to understand as it is written in many languages. It is believed that this puzzling book contains biggest truths and secrets of history. Ever since it got published, many of the research scholars tried and failed to decipher the text in this book. After 500 years, here comes a Princeton university student called Paul Harris. He takes up deciphering the text of Hyneretomachia as his project.

The novel takes us through the journey of Paul in deciphering the text and searching the secret. It moves in a moderate pace answering each of the following questions. How Paul deciphers the text? What is the hidden truth and secret of the text? Did they find the secret?

The story has a nice blend of emotion and action. The friendship between the four guys Tom, Gil, Paul and one more is well depicted. The emotional bonding between them in spite of all the differences reminds me my college friends. There are a quite a lot of action blocks thrown in often. Though they don’t give an edge-of-the-seat experience, it helps to gear up the momentum. The love line of Tom is also a very well conceived and written one. I especially liked the part in which Tom gets caught between his growing interest on the book and his lady love. Tom’s lady love feels that he has to stay away from the book as it may turn a man madly addictive to it. The way in which Paul decodes the text step by step is brilliantly thought of and written. The puzzles and the way the answers are arrived keep us glued to the book. Especially the book turns very interesting in these deciphering parts as these sorts of puzzles and riddles in the book are something we haven’t heard about before. I don’t know whether final reason and story found by Paul for writing such a book is true or not but it is also against Christianity as it was in DVC. Unlike DVC, the emotional content is at par with the action and the writers have struck a right balance between the two.

But the book is not without its negatives. The first 100 pages really tested my patience. There were too many parallel tracks distracting the pace, the long description of characters and places, the nude Olympics, the dating, tunnel action block all seem to be too long a build up for such a story. All these initial pages have very less relevance to what comes later except for Paul’s episode. At least I don’t find many. After reading the book, when you think back how it all got deciphered, you wonder where it started and how it proceeded till the end. We forget the flow. The techniques are not clear and even ambiguous sometimes. It sounds interesting while reading but we can’t remember even a single stage of decoding after completing the book. The loose ending will obviously disappoint anyone considering the buildup all through the book. Also the reason told for writing such high IQ puzzles to understand the book and the so called secret in it is not convincing.

It is a strange book which equally bores and interests you at various stages. I could not wholeheartedly say you to read the book for its interesting parts nor could I say to stay away from the book for its boring parts. Anyway try it at your own risk. But please don’t buy it with high expectations and especially don’t expect another Da Vinci Code in it.


muthuvel said...

So this is book that got you a good nap on that day...:-)

Suresh Kumar said...


Balaji said...

nice review suresh. this is one of the few books that i started but was not able to finish. u're right about the initial parts testing one's patience. they certainly tested mine and i stopped reading the book.