"Imagine a medieval castle run by the Benedictines, with cellarists, herbalists, gardeners, young novices. One after the other half a dozen monks are found murdered in the most bizarre of ways. A learned Franciscan who is sent to solve the mystery finds himself involved in the frightening events ... a sleuth's pursuit of the truth behind the mystery also involves the pursuit of meaning - in words, symbols, ideas, every conceivable sign the visible universe contains ... Umberto Eco has written a novel - his first - and it has become a literary event".
New York Times Book Review
"The late medieval world, teetering on the edge of discoveries and ideas that will hurl it into one more recognisably like ours, its thought, its life-style, its intense political and ecclesiastical intrigues ... its steamy and seductive currents of heresy of thought ... all these are evoked with a force and a wit that are breathtaking".
"This novel belongs with Voltaire's philosophical tales ... in the entertaining guise of an erudite fiction story, it is also a vibrant plea for freedom, moderation and wisdom".