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The Prague Cemetery

by Umberto Eco

Steeped in intrigue and conspiracy this is a novel that draws heavily on late nineteenth century European history. It provides a fascinating backdrop to the period offering a tantalising account into the origins of anti-Semitism in the twentieth century. One for the history buffs for sure.

Extract

Meanwhile I went to meet Clement Fabre de Lagrange. My former contacts in Turin had directed me to a certain office in an apparently derelict building, in a street which professional discretion prevents me from naming, even on a sheet of paper which no one is ever going to read. I believe that Lagrange was involved with the Political Division of the Direction Generale de Surete Publique, but I never knew whether he was at the top or bottom of the pyramid. He didn't seem answerable to anyone else and I would be unable, even under torture, to say anything about that political intelligence machine I wasn't even sure, in fact, whether Lagrange had on office in the building. I wrote to that address informing him that I had a letter of introduction from Cavalier Bianco, and two days later received a card arranging a meeting in place Notre Dame. I would recognise him by a red carnation in his buttonhole. Lagrange thereafter always met me in the most unlikely places -a cabaret, a church, a public garden, and never in the same place twice.
Translated by Richard Dixon

Parallels

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
Palace Council by Stephen Carter
 

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