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Math geeks will best appreciate this uneasy mix of higher mathematics and Dan Brown-style intrigue, the fiction debut of science journalist Sangalli (The Importance of Being Fuzzy and Other Insights from the Border Between Math and Computers). The Order of the Beacon, a "Neo-Pythagorean sect" that believes the ancient Greek philosopher has been reincarnated, is seeking Pythagoras' current incarnation. The conspiracy ropes in mathematician Jule Davidson and his twin sister, Johanna, a computer security specialist. Pages of academic prose devoted to such concepts as random numbers as well as unnecessary chronological jumps interrupt the narrative flow. Those who enjoyed Tefcros Michaelides's Pythagorean Crimes (Reviews, July 21, 2008) will find more of the same. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Who would have guessed that a murder-treasure mystery lay hidden behind a geometric formula familiar to every high-schooler? Weaving a wealth of mathematical scholarship into a compellingly plotted novel, Sangalli recounts a fascinating tale of ancient arson and modern sleuthing, as Pythagoras of Samos (forever linked to the triangular theorem bearing his name) perishes amid brutal intrigues sweeping an early Greek colony, yet leaves behind a tantalizing legacy of numerical reasoning and paranormal mysticism. Readers delve deep into that legacy as they join an intrepid late-twentieth-century band of mathematical explorers intent upon recovering a long-lost Pythagorean manuscript containing the distilled wisdom of the secretive philosopher, audaciously even seeking the reincarnated master himself. To be sure, it is the author's own fertile imagination that generates the characters who form this resolute band and then scripts the adventures they encounter in their unlikely international quest. However, readers will learn a great deal about real mathematics and its history as they join Pythagoras' modern epigones in pondering the meaning of geometrical patterns, the surprising randomness in numbers, and the logic of mathematical proofs. Though perhaps a bit too conceptual for some, this engaging narrative will persuade many readers that mathematics offers far more excitement than they had previously supposed.--Christensen, Bryce Copyright 2009 Booklist