Nineteenth-century Europe, from Turin to Prague to Paris, abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian priests are strangled with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate black masses by night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to the notorious forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat.
But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay just one man? What if that evil genius created the most infamous document of all?
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[This] magnificent new novel... marks a return to the heady mixture of absorbing ideas and down-and-dirty historical detail that made The Name of the Rose such an international bestseller in the 1980's. - Sunday Times
Eco's most accessible novel since The Name of the Rose, a temptingly complex tale of 19th-century plots and conspiracies, and of an evil genius who may be behind them all. - Sunday Times
Erudite and pop, sinister and passionate... A work destined to become a classic. - La Repubblica
An extremely readable narrative of betrayal, terrorism, murder… chilling. - Daily Telegraph
This is a great mystery novel about paranoia, prejudice and forgery... We gain access to a world of city streets, strange anecdotes, gourmet menus, and conspiratorial minds... Eco’s best novel since The Name of the Rose. - Independent
A smartly entertaining fin-de-siècle romp. - Independent
A heady fictional mixture of absorbing ideas and historical detail. - Sunday Times
A novel that takes the power of fakery in history to new heights... This work of teasing historical pseudo-reconstruction combines an intriguing philosophy of history with an elaborate set of reflections on narrative and the nature of fiction. - Times Literary Supplement
Imagine Dan Brown adorned with a PhD: that's Umberto Eco - Observer
There are little games between the author and the reader, but what makes this novel superior to Eco's recent fictional work, and perhaps even the best novel of the six he has produced, is that he combines a deep seriousness and intrigue of the best fiction. It is a historical novel dealing with issues - like the fear and hatred of anyone regarded as alien - still important today - Herald
The Prague Cemetery, snakes along an underground trail that twists through the enlightened heresies and bigoted gospels respectively propagated by Freemasons and Illuminati, Jesuits and Jew-baiters, before hinting at an ideological conspiracy that underlines the deceits of contemporary politics. - Observer
Has latterly been dubbed the thinking person's Da Vinci Code. But Eco is at home in history in a way that Dan Brown is not... Eco has a sure grasp not only of historical fact but of a period's literature. He's a dab hand at intertextuality...His intent in exposing the moment that lies at the origin of modern anti-Semitism seems to be to show how fictions can have factual consequences. Contemporary spin-doctors take note. Lies, particularly if they follow the pattern of paranoid conspiracies and create an enemy, can have dire effects...Eco is a comic master and, in his 80th year, his irreverent intelligence, if not always his plotting or scabrous taste, remains bracing. - Independent
Perhaps history's first and biggest conspiracy theory - Daily Mail
A must for all conspiracy theory diehards. - London Magazine
Umberto Eco has written works of fiction, literary criticism and philosophy. His first novel, The Name of the Rose, was a major international bestseller. His other works include Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before, Baudolino, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana and The Prague Cemetery, along with many brilliant collections of essays.