Don Quixote Goes to Yale brings a classic and much loved book into the twenty-first century and is jam packed with mystery, hidden societies, globe-trotting travel, and romance. Michael Porter is a studious senior at Yale who is idealistic and passionate about literature, while his girlfriend, Liz, is more the more practical half of the pair. They take an advanced literature class on Don Quixote in order to spend more time together, which is taught by the imperious and handsome Professor Edwards who flirts with Liz during class. Driven by the thought of proving Professor Edwards wrong, Michael takes off on a reckless trip through Spain to finally prove that Cervantes’ treasure really exists. Unbeknownst to him, his search draws the attention of a dangerous, secret group of monks who think Michael knows too much. As Liz and Professor Edwards chase after him to warn him of the danger, a centuries old grudge is played out. Michael and Liz are in more danger than they could have ever imagined.
Halaban’s modernization of this timeless classic offers readers an intriguing take on the book’s most well-known tropes. The college setting is especially interesting as it is the setting by which most people are familiar with Don Quixote. Passages are expertly weaved throughout the book and drive the plot along, rather than slow the narrative down. The multiple secret societies with rival interests make for an intricate sequence of events, and Halaban’s writing makes each plot twist not only exciting and unexpected, but also smooth and well organized; there are obvious parallels to The Da Vinci Code here. At times, though, the urgency and passions propelling Michael and Liz were hard to fully invest in, and some characters’ motives seemed strained under the heavy back stories and century long feuds. Still, for those looking to dive into Don Quixote and enjoy a modern, fast-paced adventure surrounding the text’s secrets, Eytan Halaban won’t disappoint and will leave readers wanting more.