In the fields of esoteric, religious and ancient knowledge, there can be no doubt that Umberto Eco is an author without equal. His ability to breathe life into a subject matter much eclipsed by falsehood and the aberrations of the retelling of tales through the ages is truly astonishing, all the more so for his gift of making his delivery objective and free of the sensationalism other authors are prone to. This much is apparent in most famous novel, The Name Of The Rose, and indeed this impression is only reinforced in Foucaults' Pendulum. The story revolves mainly around the narrators' entanglement in a plot involving the Knights Templar and various cabalistic organisations in Europe and beyond. The central character, Casaubon, is a thoughtful 30-something relating his journey of discovery as he begins to unravel a sinister movement based with its roots set as far back as the religious sects and practices of the ancient Egyptians. Yet the narrative is not restricted to this thread alone, meandering into masterfully crafted love affairs, diabolical pagan and gnostic rituals, the Comte d'Saint Germain, Brazilian neo- and much more besides. Eco has furthermore cast light (through the various characters' experiences) on the 1960's-era student riots of Paris and the socialist movements of Italy. With his skilful ability he weaves an astonishing yet always entertaining tapestry from what would, on the face of it, seem unrelated incidents and topics. Displaying the same sense of irony and wry humour for which he has become renowned, Eco never lets his focus on historical fact detract from the portrayal of his characters as utterly human - thus enabling him to create manifold storylines which converge and separate. A truly engrossing read, Foucaults' Pendulum casts light in places other less informed authors would be hesitant to investigate. In my opinion, an outstanding piece of work.