I picked this up because it was recommended for people who liked "The Name of the Rose." I wouldn't necessarily second that; I felt it was not very similar at all. However, it was a quite enjoyable literary mystery.
It has to do with four college seniors, roommates who are all studious, academic-career-oriented types. The narrator, Tom, had a father who devoted his life to the study of one book - the 15th-century manuscript called the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (an actual text, although I can't say how accurate the novel's depiction of it is). When Tom's father died, his work metaphorically passed on to Tom and his best friend, the overachieving orphan Paul. Paul's work on the book may very well be brilliant, genius-level stuff - but Tom fights to balance the obsession with the book with trying to maintain a normal relationship with his girlfriend - with great difficulty. It becomes especially hard to distance himself from the work when Paul makes some truly amazing discoveries of secret messages in the text, hinting at greater revelations to come - and when it seems there is a plot afoot to steal Paul's work, involving trusted members of the academic community. Gradually, the antique book and its secrets bring not just the two literary students, but their friends, into increasing danger.
The novel is notable for its extremely believable and realistic portrayal of campus life at Princeton (one of the authors is a graduate of that school), and for a very nice job of meshing the unraveling of both the literary mystery and the actual 'action' of the plot. It's a long book, but a very quick read.