Thursday, October 29, 2009
The (Very) Lost Symbol
In the third installment of the Robert Langdon series, Dan brown’s Ph. D. of symbology takes a break form his adventures overseas to conduct a more domestic adventure of the World’s greatest mysteries. Set in Washington D.C., Robert Langdon is tricked and later forced into helping a psychopathic murderer solve ancient puzzles hidden around the nation’s capital to crack the secret codes of the Free Masons.
Though the book is genuinely riveting and thought provoking, for much of its beginning you feel as though you are reading the script for the 2004 movie National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage. The book alludes to much of the same secrets and urban legends that the film brings up about the history of the Free Masons.
On the whole however I was very impressed with Dan Brown. You would think that an author like him could sit back and turn out mimicked fluff of his previous work just to cash in a large pay check and score a movie deal. On the contrary, Brown actually shows real growth as a writer.
He takes some very bold steps with his characters and adds layering that I have not read in any of his previous works.
Besides the characterization, the story in this novel is incredible. The twists and turns, unlike some of his past works, are unexpected and quite original. As you read you are constantly astounded at how wonderful a story Dan Brown has crafted... and then you get to roughly page 460. For as great as the first 460 pages are, the final 50 are equally disappointing. It feels as though he writes his ending to pacify the religious critics who were upset by the Da Vinci Code. And that would not necessarily be a bad thing if the ending actually made any sense. That what the characters were working so hard to find, and what people had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to hide was what it turned out to be is unfathomable. It would be like Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay climbing to the top of Mount Everest just to find a Starbucks and McDonalds waiting there for them.
This book raises the long debated question of whether the journey is better than the destination. If you are a fan of the journey you will absolutely love this book. If you are a fan of the destination then you should pass.
PS- Just as an aside, I always find it ironic how a book about symbolism and allegory has none.