Once described as "the thinking man's Da Vinci Code," Eco's sophomore novel, written over the course of eight years, is an exploration not only of lost ancient manuscripts, sinister secret societies, diabolical plans of world domination, but also, at its core, of the underlying psychological basis of humanity's perennial practice of constructing conspiracy theories, the kinds of exercises in paranoia in which novel's protagonists become deeply enmeshed, and the implications this activity has for meaning, interpretation and even sanity itself.

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