Humanities is the milieu that this intense intellectual thriller traverses. But it's not just another book comparing its plot to that of its subject: an ancient Italian text. Rather, Rule of Four
connects and weaves the story and intricacies of the fifteenth-century text to that of the main characters who are attempting to solve its riddles.
The topics may seem esoteric, but the outcome is a detailed and nuanced adventure story, complete with rich character development. Caldwell and Thomason make it easy to root for the protagonists, two college students bombarded with day-to-day life but driven to unlock the many secrets of the mysteries at hand.
The pace is quick and resonates the archetype of "quest," but on an intellectually challenging level rather than a relic-gathering type of journey -- enlightenment and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge vs. a Tomb Raider, Da Vinci Code treasure hunt. But note: you don't have to be a humanities lover to find a lot to enjoy in this consuming, erudite thriller.