Plot summary[ edit ] The main character is Simone Simonini, a man whom Eco claims he has tried to make into the most cynical and disagreeable character in all the history of literature [2] and is the only fictional character in the novel. He was born in Turin in His mother died while he was still a child and his father was killed in fighting for a united Italy. He is brought up by his grandfather, an old reactionary who houses Jesuit refugees and hates the Jews — he claims that the French Revolution was planned by the Knights Templar , the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins , but behind them all, he says, were the Jews.

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The complexity of the writing and the layers of plot turned many readers away, but I found it so refreshing to have a writer that demanded more from his readers and more importantly had faith in his readership. This brings me to The Prague Cemetery. Typical of an Eco book it took me a little while to settle in and fine tune my thoughts to pay proper attention and to relax so that Eco could take me where he wanted me to go.

This man is Simone Simonini. He is a murderer, double agent, triple agent, but more importantly he is the man that can provide the documentation that proves that one side of a conflict is justified in their quest for power. In other words he is a master forger. He finds his calling while apprenticed to a lawyer named Rebaudengo. He learns the fine art of providing the "missing" paperwork for a baptismal record that would allow an inheritance to be obtained or the "missing" will of a family patriarch who may have perished unexpectedly.

Rebaudengo explained. The proper paperwork miraculously is produced that exposes a "fraud" perpetrated by Rebaudengo and he is swiftly convicted and sent to prison. Simone is the type of gentleman that governments find uses for and he is greedy enough not to be worried about the consequences of his actions. He becomes a forger, mercenary for hire. He provides documents that fan the flames of racism and cultism that leads to genocide and in one case the temporary toppling of a foreign government.

He steals from his employers and from his agents working both sides of the equation to net as much money as possible for himself. He is a man without a moral compass except in the case of Abbe Dalla Piccola.

Piccola became an inconvenience for Simone during one of his clandestine missions and Simone as he tended to do when cleaning up a problem, killed him. Simone becomes, unknowingly to himself, so out of sorts over the murder of Piccola that Piccola is actually resurrected in his own mind creating for a time a split personality. Simone becomes more aware of the Abbe as they begin sharing a diary and the missing time that Simone is experience is revealed in the dairy entries made by the Piccola personality.

The book is liberally sprinkled with sketches of the characters involved really evoking a Victorian Dickens feel to the novel. I found this book much more accessible than other Eco novels and actually laughed out loud a couple of times. Back in I had planned to meet Umberto Eco. He was touring for Baudolino and was planning to come to the West Coast.

Unfortunately due to health reasons he only finished his East Coast engagements and did not come to California.

I did pick up a copy of Baudolino from an East Coast bookseller flat signed by Dr. Flat signed is preferred by collectors because the book was actually in the hands of the author. A book plate, signed by the author, does not have the same value to collectors.


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