Monday, January 02, 2012

The Lost Symbol - reviewed

I finished reading “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown yesterday. It was published by Anchor Books in 2009. “The Lost Symbol” is the third book in the Robert Langdon, symbologist, series. The first two are “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”. This book continues the saga of Langdon, with murder, mystery, misconceptions, and the race to save the world from an unknown fate. It includes ancient languages, history, religion with particular focus on the founding fathers and Masonry.

Dan Brown’s books seem to follow a formula. The story moves at neck breaking speed, Robert Langston will continue his inability to turn off "professor mode" and drown everyone around him in random trivia/facts; A female sidekick will be present who does some scientific/global prolific work; There will be an antagonist who does strange things to his body and threatens the world; a collection of secret societies, symbols, codes, various Latin phrases, and artifacts; an amazing cell phone service provider that allows cell phone service from deep underground, or anywhere Robert Langston is; Robert Langston will be on the run from some organization(s); and none of these groups including Robert Langston will have any care about money as they have an unlimited number of private jets and chaffered vehicles. Well those are the reason you read his books.

The story line for “The Lost Symbol” is;
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Since I have never been to Paris or the Vatican I found this book more interesting than the previous two as it is set in Washington DC, a place even I have been too. I always like history trivia and this book has more than you would want. Once you are finished with this book you will want to use it as a guidebook for the next time you visit DC.

My paperback was 639 pages long consisting of short chapters (133 of them plus prologue and epilogue) so it is very readable as you can read a chapter or two during those many TV commercials or while taking a coffee break. The story line for the entire 639 pages only cover about ten hours of Robert Langston’s life. Because it moves at neck breaking speed the book was a page turner and I will admit Dan Brown is a story teller, and it was hard to put down. I was really into it until about page 546 where it goes to hell. It is at this point you realize the CIA is involved for no real reason but to protect the image of high ranking officials. As the book progresses on from this point it become even more unreal with the antagonist, Mal'akh ("angel" in Hebrew), a muscled, full body tattooed eunuch who wears makeup with a blonde wig that has a video camera hidden in it and fools everyone with his appearance, including his father. By the time you arrive to the last 50 pages you really don’t care how the story ends. But as is usual in a Dan Brown’s novel the world is saved from the bad guys - for the time being - and a hidden secret that the masses can not comprehend remains with an elite group of people who control the world. The main good guy characters live and as usual, in Dan Brown’s view, only a few non-essential, blue collar types (police, janitors, etc) are killed off. Dan Brown is a snob who writes for snobs.

My final comment, in spite of the last hundred or so pages, if you are a Dan Brown fan you will be drawn into to this book like a moth to a flame. It is not good but as I said previously you will keep the book for your next visit to DC just to look up some of the buildings and places mentioned, plus you will have at your finger tips (untattoed I hope) a wealth of historical esoteric to amaze and bore your friends, co-workers and blog readers.

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