Foucault's Pendulum, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (9 ratings)


Three book editors, jaded by reading far too many crackpot manuscripts on the mystic and the occult, are inspired by an extraordinary conspiracy story told to them by a strange colonel to have some fun.

They start feeding random bits of information into a powerful computer capable of inventing connections between the entries, thinking they are creating nothing more than an amusing game, but then their game starts to take over, the deaths start mounting, and they are forced into a frantic search for the truth.




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Showing 1 - 5 of 9 reviews.

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Don't read this book if you don't like your authors long-winded; don't read it if you find name-dropping, academic smugness and multiple languages irritating and definitely don't read it if you are bored of the Templars.I however enjoyed every moment of it. Yes, it is pretentious - that is sort of the point, and additionally without those excessive amounts of learning and the endless cross-referencing the plot would fall apart and some of the subtler philosophical points would also fall by the wayside. This book is about the creation of the mother of all conspiracy theories spanning centuries and a variety of civilisations by academic publishers. The ideas spin out of the control of their originators and teach the a few unexpected things. The story reminds us a little bit about the connections we make in our everyday lives and our desire to attribute all sorts to a higher power. It is also a warning to academics about the nature of proof and documentary evidence. The novel is packed full of facts and history. It has some brilliant quotable quotes and pithily puts forward important ideas but in general its too long. I recommend reading it fast so you dont get swamped and don't take it too seriously.

Review by
They had no idea of the pandemonium they were unleashing. Andreae spent the rest of his life swearing he hadn't written the manifestoes, which he claimed were a lusus, a ludibrium, a prank. It cost him his academic reputation. He grew angry, said that the Rosicrucians, if indeed they existed, were all impostors. But that didn't help. Once the manifestoes appeared, it was as if people had been waiting for them. Learned men from all over Europe actually wrote to the Rosicrucians, and since there was no address, they sent open letters, pamphlets, printed volumes.Casaubon, Belbo and Diotallevi are editors working on a series of esoteric books for a Milan publisher. As a game, they decide to create their own Templar mystery, basing it on bits and pieces from the manuscripts that have been submitted to the publisher, but when someone starts taking their theory seriously, they are in big trouble.My favourite part was when Casaubon's wife Lia presented him with her prosaic interpretation of the document that started it all off!
Review by

A great story, strong characters, didn't want to put it down - but I found it was really heavy going, really dense, had read and re-read throughout. It was worth the effort though.

Review by

I'm really not sure what to make of this - is it a sublimely constructed masterpiece or meaningless drivel? Well, I have given up after ploughing through 40% of it. There are some interesting historical discussions and some amusing bits, but the whole is much less than the sum of these intermittent good parts, and the characters flat and didn't evoke any sympathy with me. Much of it reads like some vast brain dump of every cultural, religious and mystic reference the author could lay his hands on (that is, assuming those parts of it that don't mean anything to me have not just been made up by the author). I had made quite rapid progress with reading it (skimming a few parts) but then decided, in light of the vast number of other books on my TBR list, that I was simply not willing to spend any more of my life on it.

Review by

Foucault’s Pendulum is a very important point, well (if a little long-windedly) made. Mocking the delusions of conspiracy theorists who can see a global conspiracy behind every event (tracing it all back to the Knights Templar in this instance), three bored academics use similar methods of using incomplete and incoherent evidence to formulate a great cabalistic Plan, succeeding only in dragging themselves and others into a nightmare founded on a lie. By acting as if a lie were true they transform people’s actions, and with them reality, to more closely resemble the lie and edge the fantasy ever closer to truth.The book is very funny and (I hesitate to say it), might just be essential reading. I felt that at times it rambled a bit, as another torturous theory was elucidated, but more often than not the intricacy served well as part of the whole. I suspect that this book will be one that leaps to mind regularly from now on.

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