Jacopo Belbo, the senior editor at a publishing house in Milan, Italy, is taken hostage by a shadowy group of occultists. These Diabolicals, as Belbo thinks of them, are convinced that he possesses a secret map or code. They are determined to get hold of it so they can complete the task they believe their society was set up to accomplish. Casaubon, the firm’s junior editor, rushes to Paris, hoping to save Belbo’s life and perhaps his own. He hides in the Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Trades), where the famous pendulum of Léon Foucault is housed. Casaubon’s investigations have led him to believe that the occult society will gather there at midnight that night, as the moment of the summer solstice approaches.
As he waits in hiding, Casaubon thinks over the events of the last dozen years: He first meets Belbo when in a Milan tavern that serves as a meeting place for students and workers of every political persuasion; it has always seemed to him to resemble Rick’s bar from the 1942 film Casablanca. He is then a doctoral student in philology, writing a thesis on documents pertaining to the medieval Knights Templar. Belbo is reviewing a manuscript submitted by a retired army colonel that purports to solve the mystery of the Templars’ lost treasure. Just as Casaubon is brought into the office, where he briefs Belbo and the other editor, Diotallevi, on the Templars, the manuscript’s author disappears, and the three men of...
(The entire section is 592 words.)