No magic here, but there may be buried treasure at the end of The Rule of Four, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's debut novel and runaway bestseller. Days before graduation, two Princeton seniors who have spent years peeling back the labyrinthine layers of a coded, weirdly erotic Renaissance manuscript finally crack the cipher only to find themselves in an equally labyrinthine maelstrom of murder, madness and betrayal. Erudite, intricate, well paced and entertaining all the way. Jeff Woodman, who reads this 13-hour tour de force, keeps the tension high and the tone tenable.

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