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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. But his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths that take place in seven days and nights of apocalyptic terror. Brother William turns detective, and a uniquely deft one at that. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon - all sharpened to a glistening edge by his wry humor and ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols, and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where "the most interesting things happen at night." As Brother William goes about unraveling the mystery of what happens at they abbey by day and by night, listeners step into a brilliant re-creation of the 14th century, with its dark superstitions and wild prejudices, its hidden passions and sordid intrigues. Virtuoso storyteller Umberto Eco conjures up a gloriously rich portrait of this world with such grace, ease, wit, and love that you will become utterly intoxicated with the place and time. The story is performed by Theodore Bikel who has starred in numerous Broadway hits, including The Sound of Music, Zorba, and Fiddler on the Roof.
©1980 by Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri-Bompiani, Snzogno, Etas S.p.A.; English Translation ©1983 by Harcourt Brace & Company and Martin Secker & Warburg Limited; (P)1985 by Audio Renaissance Tapes, a Division of Cassette Productions Unlimited, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By connie on 11-06-07

Abridged is not as sweet

When I read the print version about 20 years ago, I thought it one of the best novels I had come across. I think the audio version's "brilliant re-creation of the 14th century" and plot suffer in abridgement, or perhaps there are just other good historical novels out there these days to compare.

The narration is good and the story is easy to follow, however - and an abridged rose is still sweeter than none.

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24 of 24 people found this review helpful


By Mark Grannis on 03-04-04

Good enough to make me wish it were unabridged

This book -- what I heard of it -- was both an excellent mystery novel and, at a deeper level, a fascinating exploration of the way that piety can beget sin and a love of the truth can beget anti-intellectualism. The narrator did an excellent job, particularly with the German and Italian accents (though the British one could have used some help, I thought). I can't address how much is lost in the abridgement, but I do wish an unabridged version had been available -- especially now that I've heard this version. I have the book on my shelf and based on its length it seems that a great deal must be missing. On the other hand, that book has been on my shelf, unread, for some time, and I suppose the abridged version must be pretty good on its own merits if it left me wanting more.

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24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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