Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Lost Symbol Review

The Lost Symbol
- Dan Brown

Publisher: UK- Corgi

It was the Capitol Building, Washington DC. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom. When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons. It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical world in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth.

This was another one of my best sellers guilt trips and I wish I hadn’t bothered. I read and enjoyed Angels and Demons long before The Da Vinci Code came out – it was a great summer action book – nothing too serious. Then The Da Vinci Code came out and it was OK – if not worth the fuss and bother everyone made. There are plenty of other books combining ancient mysteries out there – and some of them are done a lot better (My favourite is James Rollins!). The Lost Symbol is Dan Brown’s follow up – featuring Langdon star of Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code – but Brown has forgotten that in order to a classified as a thriller something has to happen. The first two thirds of this book involved people standing around talking and arguing. A lot. Most of the characters barely have anything to distinguish themselves from another – no personalities at all. Even the villain doesn’t really prove himself as anything more than a cut-out pantomime villain. Some of the science doesn’t really make sense – why do the experiments have to be done in a giant isolated hanger with no light...but mobile phones are OK?

Brown also seems determined not to annoy the Masons – they are portrayed as mis-understood and true American patriots (not sure how Masons in the rest of the world will react to the fact that it’s all about the US!). Not that I want them to be bad but a little more grey would be nice and add mystery to the plot. However this is a fairly dull by the numbers thriller, passable if you don’t want to think too hard on the beach but not really memorable. Recommended if you don’t want to think too much. 3 out of 10

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