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Pythagoras' Revenge:
A Mathematical Mystery
Arturo Sangalli

Paperback | 2011 | $18.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691150192
208 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 10 line illus. 1 map.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400829903 |
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The celebrated mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras left no writings. But what if he had and the manuscript was never found? Where would it be located? And what information would it reveal? These questions are the inspiration for the mathematical mystery novel Pythagoras' Revenge. Suspenseful and instructive, Pythagoras' Revenge weaves fact, fiction, mathematics, computer science, and ancient history into a surprising and sophisticated thriller.

The intrigue begins when Jule Davidson, a young American mathematician who trolls the internet for difficult math riddles and stumbles upon a neo-Pythagorean sect searching for the promised reincarnation of Pythagoras. Across the ocean, Elmer Galway, a professor of classical history at Oxford, discovers an Arabic manuscript hinting at the existence of an ancient scroll--possibly left by Pythagoras himself. Unknown to one another, Jule and Elmer each have information that the other requires and, as they race to solve the philosophical and mathematical puzzles set before them, their paths ultimately collide. Set in 1998 with flashbacks to classical Greece, Pythagoras' Revenge investigates the confrontation between opposing views of mathematics and reality, and explores ideas from both early and cutting-edge mathematics.

From academic Oxford to suburban Chicago and historic Rome, Pythagoras' Revenge is a sophisticated thriller that will grip readers from beginning to surprising end.


"Who would have guessed that a murder-treasure mystery lay hidden behind a geometric formula familiar to every high-schooler? Weaving a wealth of mathematical scholarship into a compellingly plotted novel, Sangalli recounts a fascinating tale of ancient arson and modern sleuthing, as Pythagoras of Samos (forever linked to the triangular theorem bearing his name) perishes amid brutal intrigues sweeping an early Greek colony, yet leaves behind a tantalizing legacy of numerical reasoning and paranormal mysticism. . . . To be sure, it is the author's own fertile imagination that generates the characters who form this resolute band and then scripts the adventures they encounter in their unlikely international quest. . . . [R]eaders will learn a great deal about real mathematics and its history as they join Pythagoras' modern epigones in pondering the meaning of geometrical patterns, the surprising randomness in numbers, and the logic of mathematical proofs. . . . [T]his engaging narrative will persuade many readers that mathematics offers far more excitement than they had previously supposed."--Bryce Christensen, Booklist

"[The book] comes together [around] the tantalizing possibility that Pythagoras, who forbade his followers to write down any of his sayings, may just have left something tangible after all. Sangalli builds his story on this, using clues from ancient texts, bits of mathematical lore and interesting arcana, like the puzzle that couldn't be patented because it had no solution. For a total escape, this novel is perfect."--Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

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This book has been translated into:

  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Greek
  • German
  • French

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    File created: 7/11/2017

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