After a violent storm in the South Pacific in the year 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island surrounded by treacherous coral reefs. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the vessel and descends into madness, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the 30 Years' War in which he lost his father and his illusions; the Aristotelian metaphor machine of Padre Emanuele; the salons of Paris; the theory of the Powder of Sympathy; the approach of his unapproachable Lady, then prison; and finally, the summons of Cardinal Mazarin himself.
In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of an international race to master the seas by unraveling the mysteries of longitude; of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitude, the depths of the ocean, and the Biblical Flood.
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Umberto EcoTim Curry