Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery

By Arturo Sangalli | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
THE TEAM

Three years later, Trench had become a Companion, the secondhighest grade in the Order of The Beacon, a Neo-Pythagorean sect whose activities he had generously helped to fund.

The Order operated in the most secretive fashion, so that practically nothing was known about it outside the close-knit circle of its fifty or so members. These, who called themselves “fellows,” were generally wealthy and influential professionals and businesspeople, some 20 percent of them women. In Pythagoras’ doctrines, which they interpreted with an emphasis on their esoteric aspects, they had found a kind of spiritual fulfillment that mainstream religions had not provided. Such was their veneration for the famous philosopher that they worshipped him as a deity.

The Beacon had been founded in 1979 by a mysterious personage known to the other members only as Mr. S, who was convinced that Pythagoras would be reincarnated around the middle of the twentieth century. And so, not only did the members of the Order adore the spirit of Pythagoras, they also anxiously awaited his return among the living, the way followers of other religions wait for the coming of a messiah.

New members were admitted following a proposition from two fellows, and only after a thorough scrutiny of the candidate’s background, personality, lifestyle, and motivation had established that certain strict criteria were met. On acceptance, the new fellow had to take an oath of loyalty and vow to financially support the Order and its search for Pythagoras reincarnate.

-98-

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Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • List of Main Characters (Chapter in Which They Are Introduced) xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • Part I- A Time Capsule? 1
  • Chapter 1- The Fifteen Puzzle 3
  • Chapter 2- The Impossible Manuscript 10
  • Chapter 3- Game over 19
  • Chapter 4- A Trip to London 25
  • Chapter 5- A Letter from the Past 32
  • Chapter 6- Found and Lost 38
  • Chapter 7- A Death in the Family 46
  • Part II- An Extraordinarily Gifted Man 51
  • Chapter 8- The Mission 53
  • Chapter 9- Norton Thorp 63
  • Chapter 10- Random Numbers 69
  • Chapter 11- Randomness Everywhere 76
  • Chapter 12- Vanished 82
  • Part III- A Sect of Neo­ Pythagoreans 83
  • Chapter 13- The Mandate 85
  • Chapter 14- The Beacon 87
  • Chapter 15- The Team 98
  • Chapter 16- The Hunt 106
  • Chapter 17- The Symbol of the Serpent 115
  • Chapter 18- A Professional Job 122
  • Chapter 19- with a Little Help from Your Sister 126
  • Part IV- Pythagoras' Mission 137
  • Chapter 20- All Roads Lead to Rome 139
  • Chapter 21- Kidnapped 152
  • Chapter 22- The Last Piece of the Puzzle 158
  • Epilogue 169
  • Appendix 1- Jule's Solution 171
  • Appendix 2- Infinitely Many Primes 173
  • Appendix 3- Random Sequences 175
  • Appendix 4- A Simple Visual Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem 177
  • Appendix 5- Perfect and Figured Numbers 178
  • Notes, Credits, and Bibliographical Sources 181
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