Umberto Eco is often a difficult read, he has a tendency to take a really good (semi-fictional) plot and wrap in a lot of intellectual posturing that can become annoying and fundamentally far too distracting to continue reading. I am well aware of his vices and whilst I frequently have no idea what he is talking about I still really enjoying reading his books and would even list him as one of my favourite authors. The Island of the Day before is perhaps one of Umberto Eco's easiest reads with a fairly simple plot by his standards and enough beautifully written descriptions and prose to cope with a relatively small amount of intellectual discussion. The story tells of a young noble in the 17th century who gets abandoned on a mysterious ship in an unknown location and his (and the western world's) coming to grips with discovering new worlds, sciences and cultures whilst attempting to cling on to the familiar, mystical and old world. A wonderful read with a lead character that you will love, despise, support and become frustrated with throughout the book.