I remember reading tis book like it was yesterday. I had the luxury of lying on a raft in a pool for nearly a week just before I started my second year of teaching high school English and wanted to read something that wasn't for school. Easily one of the best books I've ever read. I tried to read some of Umberto Eco's more literary criticism-oriented stuff (Foucault's Pendulum) in college and almost suffocated. I'm glad I didn't hold it against him and went ahead and picked this up anyway. It's an amazing (and based on history) story of the Spanish Inquisition in a monastery where books are being copied - by hand with gorgeous calligraphy and illuminations, etc. The mystery involves people being killed one at a time over a particular manuscript that the Catholic Church wants to disappear. It all stems from an old argument over whether Jesus had a sense of humor. Remarkable book, very thought provoking. Theres a sort of dark, sketchy movie of this book with Sean Connery and Christian Slater that's a bit old and dated, but not altogether horrible. Doesn't begin to approach how good the book is, though.