Reading period: Q1 2011 – Q4 2013 (intermittently).

Spoiler alert


  • A pair of monks/friars came to the monastery, it was winter and they were called to solve the crimes happening there.
  • The plot takes place during seven days + comment of the narrator many years later.

  • Monks mysteriously die.
  • William and Adso investigate.
  • They get into the library with labyrinth.
    • There are many volumes by “infidels” (Muslim authors from Africa).
  • They are only suspicious of some monks (e.g. librarian Malachi).
  • In the end, it’s shown to be caused by old monk Jorge who’s afraid that a book by Aristotle may destroy the faith/obedience of the people.
  • Some of the deaths were suicides, some of them murders and some were poisonings by the book (which was poisoned by Jorge).
  • The finale is tragic:
    • abbot dies when baited by the Jorge into the library,
    • Jorge wanting to destroy the book sets the whole library on fire,
    • the fire later extends to the whole monastery and surroundings,
    • everything is destroyed and the abbey is abandoned.


  • There are many characters to remember (especially when reading takes over two years).

Brother William

  • the main detective, former inquisitor
  • wise, rational, experienced Englishman


  • his young assistant, narrator
  • German


  • in the end is killed/left to die by the old monk Jorge
    • Jorge is actually responsible for all the deaths (indirectly)
    • the book of Aristotles

Bernard Gui

  • inquisitor to come the the abbey
  • he wanted to get a victim, he revealed “heretic” history of one the monks (the cellarer?)

Fra Dolcino

  • former master of heresy
  • leader of rioting crowds/monks

Pope, emperor

  • only mentioned, probably fight for power
  • there’re at least two popes (Avignonese, Roman)


  • fight for power (pope, emperor, inquisitors)
  • keeping the knowledge, information (the library of the monastery)
  • comparison of the faith of the poor/simple people to the monks/aristocracy
  • witch-hunt + monk’s (Adso’s) affair with local girl