Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery

By Arturo Sangalli | Go to book overview

Chapter 21
KIDNAPPED

The bedside clock read 11:20 p.m. James Parker, better known as Jim or Houdini, was lying in bed on his back, fully clothed, hands clasped under his head, reflecting on the day’s events. What should have been a smoothly executed operation had become a complicated one. He could blame it all on Rocky for mishandling Mr. T, but what was the use of laying blame at this point?

Houdini remembered the meeting less than one week ago in Dr. Trench’s office. Dr. Trench had then stressed the importance of the operation for the members of the Order, who had long been waiting with anticipation for the moment they would be united with their Master reincarnate. Recently, after a search that had lasted many years, it had been established beyond the shadow of a doubt that their Master had reincarnated as Norton Thorp, a famous mathematician presently living in New York.

But Dr. Thorp was not aware of his true identity, Dr. Trench had explained to them, or of his destiny as a spiritual leader. However, if they, Houdini and Rocky, succeeded in bringing him to the Temple, the evidence that would be presented to him coupled with the heartfelt devotion of his followers would eventually win him over and persuade him to become their Master and guide.

“Dr. Thorp should be treated at all times with the respect due to a sacred person,” Dr. Trench had told them. And, looking Rocky straight in the eyes, as if the recommendation were addressed particularly to him, he had added: “Persuasion is the key, with coercion to be used as

-152-

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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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