His second novel, Foucault's Pendulum, took eight years to write. It was about three editors at a Milan publishing house trying to link every conspiracy theory in history, including that now famous one about the medieval Knights Templar and the secret of the Holy Grail.Elsewhere:
'I know, I know,' he says with a laugh. 'My book included the plot for The Da Vinci Code. But I was not being a prophet. It was old occult material. It was already all there. I treated it in a more sceptical way than Dan Brown did. He had the excellent idea of treating it as if it were true. Millions of people believed him. They took it seriously, but it was all a hoax.'
'I would describe myself as an insecure optimist who is sensitive to criticism. I always fear to be wrong. Those who are always certain of their own work risk being idiots. Insecurity is a great force, apropos of teaching. The moment I start a new class I feel panic. If you don't feel panic, you cannot succeed.'
They also discuss The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, his formerly fascist youth, and his family.