Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Book review: The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

Title: The Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon, #3
Genre: Adult mystery conspiracy thriller
Published: 15 September 2009
Famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His planned lecture is interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom. When his mentor Peter Solomon—a longstanding Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn--Brown’s most exciting novel yet.
I love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, and The Lost Symbol was no disappointment. It was amazing.

The story follows Robert Langdon in another of his, oh, so unfortunate adventures. Seriously, though. The guy is just a Harvard professor, why does he just get pulled into so much shit? So, he gets unexpectedly called to the Capitol by what appears to be a call from his mentor and friend Peter Solomon. But then everything goes down the toilet and Langdon is suddenly part of a manic Mason’s search for an ancient mystery that is supposed to allow him to achieve apotheosis, or becoming a god.

This book was just awesome. Conspiracy theories fascinate me. So do secret societies. And the Robert Langdon series has just that. This book was pretty much all about Masonry, just like the first two books had the Illuminati and the Priory of Sion, respectively. It had a really interesting villain, an anti-hero-ish dick, Langdon’s genius and a fantastic plot twist right at the end.

Robert Langdon is great, as always. I love his genius and knowledge. You got to know, I love people, fictional or not, who know lots of stuff. Sue me, I love knowledge. But I still don’t understand how his luck can be so bad. He’s just a sort-of-above-average Harvard professor of symbology. He almost saw the Vatican get ripped apart by antimatter. He discovered the real identity of the Holy Grail. And now he has to protect the world from an ancient knowledge that is dangerous as hell. I’d hate to be him.

The antagonist, Mal’akh, was terrifying and fascinating. His whole body is covered with tattoos. He has a disturbing devotion to the ancient mysteries he is trying so hard to find. He is willing to do anything in order to find them. All he cares about is himself. He is arrogant and selfish. He is definitely the best villain so far in the Bob Langdon series.

Inoue Sato, head of the CIA’s Office of Security, is sort of an antihero in this book. She chases Langdon, who is supposed to help Mal’akh in order to save Solomon. She wants to stop Langdon from unravelling the mystery because it seems like she knows a bit more than she should. But Langdon wants to help Solomon, about whom Sato couldn’t care less. She has good intentions, but she is still an annoying dick.

The ending was... weird. It was sort of underwhelming, but not really. I guess it has to do a lot with the symbolism used to represent the ancient knowledge and the interpretation of it. There was a really great and unexpected plot twist near the end. It really was great.


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