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Inferno (Robert Langdon) Paperback – May 6, 2014

4 out of 5 stars 18,956 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Robert Langdon Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Inside Inferno

Explore the sights of Inferno alongside Robert Langdon in this exclusive first look at Dan Brown's latest thriller.

As Langdon continued on toward the elbow of the square, he could
see, directly ahead in the distance, the shimmering blue glass dial of the
St. Mark’s Clock Tower—the same astronomical clock through which
James Bond had thrown a villain in the film Moonraker.


The Tetrarchs statue was well known for its missing foot, broken
off while it was being plundered from Constantinople in the thirteenth
century. Miraculously, in the 1960s, the foot was unearthed in Istanbul.
Venice petitioned for the missing piece of statue, but the Turkish authorities
replied with a simple message: You stole the statue—we’re keeping our


Amid a contour of spires and domes, a single illuminated facade dominated
Langdon’s field of view. The building was an imposing stone fortress
with a notched parapet and a three-hundred-foot tower that swelled
near the top, bulging outward into a massive machicolated battlement.


Langdon found himself standing before a familiar face—that of Dante Alighieri.
Depicted in the legendary fresco by Michelino, the great poet stood before
Mount Purgatory and held forth in his hands, as if in humble offering,
his masterpiece The Divine Comedy.


Amazon Exclusve: Additional Reading Suggestions from Dan Brown

  • The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno—(Penguin Classics)
  • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology—Ray Kurzweil (Author)
  • Brunelleschi's Dome—Ross King (Author)
  • The Lives of the Artists Volume 1—Giorgio Vasari (Author), George Bull (Translator)
  • The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images—ARAS

Q&A with Dan Brown

Dan Brown

Q. Inferno refers to Dante Alighieri´s The Divine Comedy. What is Dante’s significance? What features of his work or life inspired you?

A. The Divine Comedy—like The Mona Lisa—is one of those rare artistic achievements that transcends its moment in history and becomes an enduring cultural touchstone. Like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, The Divine Comedy speaks to us centuries after its creation and is considered an example of one of the finest works ever produced in its artistic field. For me, the most captivating quality of Dante Alighieri is his staggering influence on culture, religion, history, and the arts. In addition to codifying the early Christian vision of Hell, Dante’s work has inspired some of history’s greatest luminaries—Longfellow, Chaucer, Borges, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Monteverdi, Michelangelo, Blake, Dalí—and even a few modern video game designers. Despite Dante’s enduring influence on the arts, however, most of us today have only a vague notion of what his work actually says—both literally and symbolically (which, of course, is of great interest to Robert Langdon). A few years ago, I became very excited about the prospect of writing a contemporary thriller that incorporated the philosophy, history, and text of Dante’s timeless descent into The Inferno.

Q. Where did do your research for Inferno? How long did you spend on it?

A. Researching Inferno began with six months of reading, including several translations of The Divine Comedy, various annotations by Dante scholars, historical texts about Dante’s life and philosophies, as well as a lot of background reading on Florence itself. At the same time, I was poring over all the new scientific information that I could find on a cutting edge technology that I had decided to incorporate into the novel. Once I had enough understanding of these topics to proceed, I traveled to Florence and Venice, where I was fortunate to meet with some wonderful art historians, librarians, and other scholars who helped me enormously.

Once this initial phase of research was complete, I began outlining and writing the novel. As is always the case, when a book begins to take shape, I am drawn in unexpected directions that require additional research. This was also the case with Inferno, which took about 3 years from conception to publication.

With respect to the process, the success of these novels has been a bit of a Catch-22. On one hand, I now have wonderful access to specialists, authorities, and even secret archives from which to draw information and inspiration. On the other hand, because there is increased speculation about my works in progress, I need to be increasingly discreet about the places I go and the specialists with whom I speak. Even so, there is one aspect of my research that will never change—making personal visits to the locations about which I’m writing. When it comes to capturing the feel of a novel’s setting, I find there is no substitute for being there in the flesh...even if sometimes I need to do it incognito.

Q. What kind of adventure will Robert Langdon face this time? Can you give us any sneak peak at the new novel?

A. Inferno is very much a Robert Langdon thriller. It’s filled with codes, symbols, art, and the exotic locations that my readers love to explore. In this novel, Dante Alighieri’s ancient literary masterpiece—The Divine Comedy—becomes a catalyst that inspires a macabre genius to unleash a scientific creation of enormous destructive potential. Robert Langdon must battle this dark adversary by deciphering a Dante-related riddle, which leads him to Florence, where he finds himself in a desperate race through a landscape of classical art, secret passageways, and futuristic technology.

Q. What made Florence the ideal location for Inferno?

A. No city on earth is more closely tied to Dante Alighieri. Dante grew up in Florence, fell in love in Florence, and began writing in Florence. Later in life, when he was exiled for political reasons, the longing he felt for his beloved Florence became a catalyst for The Divine Comedy. Through his enduring poem, Dante enjoyed the “last word” over his political enemies, banishing them to various rings of Inferno where they suffered terrible tortures.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The threat of world overpopulation is the latest assignment for Brown's art historian and accidental sleuth Robert Langdon. Awakening in a Florence hospital with no memory of the preceding 36 hours, Langdon and an attractive attending physician with an oversized intellect are immediately pursued by an ominous underground organization and the Italian police. Detailed tours of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul mean to establish setting, but instead bog down the story and border on showoffmanship. Relying on a deceased villain's trail of clues threaded through the text of Dante's The Divine Comedy, the duo attempt to unravel the events leading up to Langdon's amnesia and thwart a global genocide scheme. Suspension of disbelief is required as miraculous coincidences pile upon pure luck. Near the three-quarters point everything established gets upended and Brown, hoping to draw us in deeper, nearly drives us out. Though the prose is fast-paced and sharp, the burdensome dialogue only serves plot and back story, and is interspersed with unfortunate attempts at folksy humor. It's hard not to appreciate a present day mega-selling thriller that attempts a refresher course in Italian literature and European history. But the real mystery is in the book's denouement and how Brown can possibly bring his hero back for more. Agent: Heide Lange, Sanford J. Greenberger Associates. (May) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Robert Langdon (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st Printing edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400079152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400079155
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18,956 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and, previously, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, and Angels and Demons. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts fully to writing. He lives in New England with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I like a good scavenger hunt, and what Mr Brown basically does is this: Turn it into a novel. The fourth Langdon is still nice fun, and here is a recommendation for those who enjoy the genre: A Suitcase Full Of Blood (Berlin Noir) is very exciting and also incredibly funny.

The Lost Symbol was not so great, let's be honest, but Robert Langdon is back on track now. Medieval literature, historic intrigue, ancient symbols (of course, what else would Langdon be there for), a secret organization and lots of codes are this book's basic elements. The best part of it (in every sense) is set in Florence, birth place of poet Dante Alighieri. Langdon has got a new "assistant" in form of a clever and energetic female doctor. A sinister organization wants to kill them before they find out about the hidden clues in paintings and artefacts connected to Dante's Inferno. Classic Brown and a rollercoaster for his fans - but just for them.

If there is something I have to criticise, it would be that Brown put a bit too much into it. Sometimes the book almost turns into a tourist guide, and not only that: In addition to the medieval theme it's about biological terrorism, there are scifi elements and the idea of a new world order. Trying a bit too hard here to be exciting, I think, and eventually landing on the slightly absurd side. But we shouldn't think too much about it, there are other writers for that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Inferno (I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $9.99 but now I see the price has increased - shame on Amazon or whoever is to blame for charging so much for an e-book!) and was not disappointed.

I know people are getting tired of the repetitive formula (not me), but in my opinion, if you want to read an entertaining book, turn to Dan Brown. If you want to read literature or something with more substance, then go for Jumpa Lahiri or other award-winning authors, because Dan Brown is not about to win any literary prizes any time soon. I bet many prize winners would love to have half of Brown's books sales, though.

And don't get me wrong: I love Mr. Brown's books and have read them all many times because they are so entertaining. I don't see that there's a problem with an autor using a formula that has worked well for him before. I mean, Ken Follett tends to do the same thing in a few of his books, and I've never seen him get any heat for it, so why pick on Dan Brown?

Anyway, this is basically Brown's formula: Langdon gets himself sucked into a situation to which he was called to provide his expert opinion; suddenly everything gets complicated and goes global; he finds himself traveling around the world looking for clues and gets to run around with an attractive woman at some point. That's his basic premise.

What's different about Inferno? Not much, really, except this time it's all about Dante's Divine Comedy and not the Bible or Da Vinci's works. However, the premise behind the whole thing is rather interesting and forward-looking , instead of just reflecting on the clues left by artists of the past, so it was definitely a page-turner for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

I'm a Dan Brown fan... I've read all of his works, not just the Robert Langdon series - Digital Fortress is probably my favorite work of his. Anyway, being a fan, I was excited to hear that he was coming out with a new book, had Inferno pre-ordered, and actually waited up until after midnight on release day so I could start it immediately keeping the next day free of commitments so I could dedicate it to reading. Sadly, the only thought that kept running through my head while reading was "Oh Dan, where is the heart!!?" :-/

I like Brown's writing style despite the harsh critique it's received. I enjoy how his books are layered with codes and mysteries, how they're incredibly fast-paced & often surprising, & how he takes facts and then pulls and twists them like taffy as far as they'll go without breaking to turn them into riveting fiction.

I don't even mind the repeated format within the Robert Langdon series - professor and expert on symbology and iconography finds himself embroiled in the middle of a high-stakes mystery, teams up with an attractive, smart and capable foreign woman who helps fill in the gaps and challenges him, and the two cement alliances, skirt villains, and undergo a hair raising adventure to save the world's (or the world itself).

With all that said, Inferno just fell flat for me. It had the expected format as mentioned above. It had the twisted facts as also mentioned above. What it didn't have was any of the action packed thrills and gasp inducing surprises I've come to know and love in Dan Brown's books.
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Format: Hardcover
"Inferno" reads like a series of Wikipedia entries but with even less wit, charm, and literary merit (not to mention factual accuracy.) Dan Brown apparently writes his novels by skimming through a few guide books and encyclopedia articles and coming up with a bunch of "neat facts" that he hopes to stitch into something resembling a coherent plot. Unfortunately, this time even coherence is lost as he takes us on a lightning greatest hits tour through Italy and beyond. Why does Professor Langdon wake up with amnesia in a hospital in Florence? Why does he flee with the beautiful Sienna to Venice, where he must explore the nether reaches of St. Mark's Cathedral? Why not Des Moines or Oakland? The pursuit of the evil genius at the heart of this book could just as easily have led them to these less picturesque cities, but then no one would have read the book. In fact the presence of the Harvard professor of Symbology (is this a real academic field?) seems completely gratuitous. Brown justifies these improbable elements by transforming his villain into a Dante aficionado who drops clues that only someone with Langdon's expertise can decode. Perhaps in Dan Brown's next book the villain will be a baseball fan, posing stat-filled puzzles that only an intrepid Nate Silver can decipher.

One of the most peculiar things is how ignorant this Harvard professor is of basic art history. He is constantly surprised by facts known to anyone who has ever taken a basic art history course, and when Brown tries to establish the great man's bona fides by showing him in front of a spellbound audience, Langdon spouts cliches worthy of a college sophomore whose knowledge extends only to the Cliff Notes.
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