It's a murder mystery set in a 14th century Italian monastery. It's Eco's thesis on symbols and faith. It drags at times, but the whole picture is such a well constructed story that gives you a great basis to appreciate Eco's later works (which are sometimes a response to this book's success).
@email@example.com while the Name of the Rose is certainly more "consumable" the Pendulum blow my mind. Thats actually one of my favorites books. So dense and full of history that largely actually happened ... a masterpiece.