The Rule of Four
Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason
Dell Book – 2004
The Gaudi Key
Esteban Martin, Andreu Carranza
Harper Collins 2008
Angels & Demons
Pocket Start Books – 2000
For someone who did not like the Da Vinci Code at all because the plot seemed so stale and contrived, I just went overboard the past few days reading three similar thrillers in a row. And I have to admit: the winner is Dan Brown (by far).
The Rule of Four is a fun read, and manages to use a paper thin plot to elaborate on Ivy League campus life. Interesting and fun, but when you reach the end it is very much like watching a sitcom episode that just needed a close before the next episode. Not having read fiction in a while, I was amazed how these books are designed for reading fast. It’s like the pages turn themselves.
The Gaudi Key is a translation from Spanish, and maybe that did some damage to the prose. I found the story much more enjoyable, but the writing less so. But for the couple of hours it takes to read it is like walking around Barcelona again. It has all the characteristics to be a post-guide book, you go through all the nice places again, and maybe see some new things half-imagined while you read based on what was half-seen seen when you were actually walking there.
Martin and Carranza have chose some remarkably similar backdrops for their novel compared to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. The “upon this rock I will build my church” quote from bible the comes back literally, and so does the Illuminati brotherhood. The difference is that Bown’s novel is vastly better researched, and is able to create some true suspense through the story telling. Closing with a grand finale of high-tech fireworks it kept me on alert throughout. Much like the Spaniards he has written a post-guide book of Rome and Vatican City. Only here recognizing the places adds to the sense of reality and the suspense of the Story.