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Foucault's Pendulum

Narrated by: Tim Curry
Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (461 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One Colonel Ardenti, who has unnaturally black, brilliantined hair, a carefully groomed mustache, wears maroon socks, and who once served in the Foreign Legion, starts it all. He tells three Milan book editors that he has discovered a coded message about a Templar Plan, centuries old and involving Stonehenge, a plan to tap a mystic source of power far greater than atomic energy.

The editors, who have spent altogether too much time rewriting crackpot manuscripts on the occult by fanatics and dilettante, decide to have a little fun. They'll create a Plan of their own. But how? Randomly they throw together manuscript pages on hermetic thought: The Masters of the World, who live beneath the earth. The Comte de Saint-Germain, who lives forever. They add Satanic initiation rites of the Kings of the Temple, Assassins, Rosicrucians, Brazilian voodoo, the Third Reich. And they feed all this, and much more, into their powerful computer. Abulafia. A terrific joke, they think, until the Plan assumes a life and power of its own, and turns people mysteriously begin to disappear, one by one, starting with Colonel Ardenti.

©1988 Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri-Bompiani, Snzogno, Etas S.p.A.; 1989 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. (P)1995 Audio Renaissance

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • elkridge, MD, USA
  • 01-29-07

too much missing

whoever edited this book for this too short audio book pretty much ruined it. most of the things that truly make this book interesting were cut out. this is my favorite book to read...least favorite to listen to. on the good side, tim curry did a fine job reading this one.

49 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

such a shame

I love this book, and I love Tim Curry. However, I do not love this recording at all. Basically the issues can be summed up as thus: the way it is abridged makes it difficult to follow if you haven't already read the full text; and the quality of the audio recording (although NOT the quality of the narration, which is excellent) makes listening difficult at best. This is such a shame, as I love the text and the reader and had hoped for great things.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

audio quality too poor

I couldn't listen to this book because the audio quality is simply too bad. I had listened to the sample and thought it would be okay because I was in the comfort of my house, without any ambient noise. In the car however, I couldn't follow the story because I was missing too many words due to the poor quality of the audio recording.

Too bad, it seemed like a great book otherwise.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't follow the plot - abridgement problem?

First, be aware that the audio quality isn't super, being a conversion from Format 1, but I got beyond that without issue. The big problem I had with this audio book was that it was near impossible to follow the story. I can only suspect that the abridgement of this book took a lot away from the flow of the story. The entire time I listened it seemed like there were meaningful details and scenes just plain missing. By the time I was finished I really had very little idea of what was the significance of the ending. A colleague read the book, and listened to the audio version later, and enjoyed it immensely so I can only suppose that the abridgement had something to do with it.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 02-21-05


I like Ecco and enjoyed in the Name of the Rose, but am disappointed in this audiobook. I think I would prefer the story if I were reading it. I found the audiobook a bit hard to follow. Perhaps this is due to the abridgement. I also disliked the narrator. I found his pronunciation of foreign words affected and a bit irritating. The most difficult thing about this audiobook, however, is the terrible sound. Audible states that format 2 is akin to AM radio. I'd say its worse than that if this audiobook is a typical example. The sound is very muddy. I listen to audiobooks while walking to work and this one was very difficult to hear with street noise in the bankground. It's not all that easy to listen to in silence.

I did like the story and may actually read the book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Timothy
  • Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 06-16-03

Great book, great reader, but abridged . . .

I really enjoyed this book. Not only is Eco a master of language and story-telling, he is a master of suspense as well. I spent the entire time I listened to this book on the edge of my proverbial seat.
Tim Curry, the actor from Clue, does an amazing job reading the book. Bot only does he handle the different languages, but he conveys the mood and tempo of the book while remaining intelligible.
In the end, however, I spent much of the book wondering what I was missing. I dislike abridged works for that feeling. In this version's favor, the story line maintained its cohesiveness, as far as I could tell, unlike most of the other abridgemens I have read.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • Coconut Grove, FL, United States
  • 10-08-10

Too much missing

This version is too heavily abridged, the unabridged version by Alexander Adams (aka Grover Gardner) is superior in every way. Too bad it’s not available, it was only ever available on cassette tapes. Tim Curry brings drama to this version, though he mispronounces some names (notably Wagner, where the desired pronunciation is specified in the text) and his vigorous inflection of the key phrase “Ma gavte la nata” is completely wrong.

Some of the book is retranslated, and some foreign phrases that, in the text, remain as foreign phrases, are instead translated into English. One egregious case of mistranslation comes near the end, during Casaubon’s final meeting with Wagner, whose reply “Monsieur, vous etes fou”, is rendered as “Monsieur, you are a fool” (it should be: Sir, you are insane).

Another complaint is about the distorted sound quality of the transitional music, which I regard as extraneous in any event. Nevertheless, on balance I did enjoy listening to this, being quite fanatical about the book. Hopefully the unabridged versions of Eco’s novels will reappear.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Woodinville, WA, USA
  • 05-04-07

Very Interesting

I originally thought this would just be a fun listen of fringe conspiricy theories woven into a story, and it was that. But it is also so much more. I've learned alot of obscure history by researching some of the story lines mentioned, like the Rosicrucian order. Or even the science behind the Foucault pendulum. All of which is fascinating. If you liked the DiVinci Code you'll love this, it is made even better by Tim Curry's reading of it. His voice was made for books on tape!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

not very good

I liked some aspects of the plot. The whole idea of creating a story that takes on a life of its own. However the audio, the way the story was told, and probably some things missing from the book really made this story no that good. At the end I wish I would have listened to something else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Parker
  • Decatur, GA, USA
  • 08-17-04

Absolutely Brilliant!

Tim Curry does an exemplary job reading Eco's brilliant meditation on the nature of secrets, of life, and the pursuit of truth and beauty. Having read the book twice before, I knew it intimately, and expected to be disappointed by the abridgement. To my surprise, the novel crackled along so well that it took me a while to realize what was missing: Belbo's diaries telling of his battles with fear and self-doubt, the tales of Seven Seas Jim, Don Tico's band, and the word games played with Belbo's computer Abulafia.

Contrary to earlier reviews, the book listens brilliantly, with much warmth, humor and suspense. It might also be your best introduction to Eco. Nor does the ending leave one wanting; Eco knows how to make his novels end with moments of deep revelation. I can say without hesitation that Foucault's Pendulum is one of the greatest books I have ever read (three times!). It will forever hold a special place in my life.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful