If you’ve read previous Dan Brown books, this is another one, much better than The Lost Symbol, but still a Dan Brown book. Personally, I like Dan Brown books. They fly off the shelves, so I’m guessing that there are a lot of Dan Brown fans out there. Many of the reviews that I have read have been critical of this book, but I’m not sure what they were expecting? It was a Dan Brown book, and a pretty decent one.
Robert Langdon, an expert on symbology, is embroiled in an international mystery that is centered on Dante’s Inferno. At the beginning of the story he finds himself in a hospital bed, having short-term memory loss, with no idea why he is in Italy or why he was found saying “very sorry, very sorry”. Before too long, it is clear that someone is trying to kill him and he is on the run, trying to solve the mystery of the strange object sewn inside his coat while trying to stay alive. The clues to the mystery revolve around Dante’s Inferno and lead Robert and his female companion through Italy and through Dante’s work.
I will admit that there was a point in the book where I was getting tired of them running, almost getting caught, improbably escaping through Langdon’s sudden remembrance of some obscure piece of history, and then running again. However, once I got through that, the story took some twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, leaving me surprised and reengaging me.
There are a lot of facts in the book, which is actually one of the reasons that I like Dan Brown novels. It is great to read a thriller while also absorbing new knowledge about art, history, and architecture. I found myself looking up the art and the buildings he talked about to learn more about them, to see pictures of what was being described. It’s never bad to learn a little while you’re having fun… There are also some interesting moral and ethical twists in the story which give you pause, something to think about, even if your mind says that your heart knows the right answer.
Unrealistic? Absolutely. Informative? Definitely. Fun? I thought so.
Author: Dan Brown
Publication: Doubleday, May 2013