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The Lost Symbol Paperback – May 1, 2012
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Let's start with the question every Dan Brown fan wants answered: Is The Lost Symbol as good as The Da Vinci Code? Simply put, yes. Brown has mastered the art of blending nail-biting suspense with random arcana (from pop science to religion), and The Lost Symbol is an enthralling mix. And what a dazzling accomplishment that is, considering that rabid fans and skeptics alike are scrutinizing every word.
The Lost Symbol begins with an ancient ritual, a shadowy enclave, and of course, a secret. Readers know they are in Dan Brown territory when, by the end of the first chapter, a secret within a secret is revealed. To tell too much would ruin the fun of reading this delicious thriller, so you will find no spoilers here. Suffice it to say that as with many series featuring a recurring character, there is a bit of a formula at work (one that fans will love). Again, brilliant Harvard professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a predicament that requires his vast knowledge of symbology and superior problem-solving skills to save the day. The setting, unlike other Robert Langdon novels, is stateside, and in Brown's hands Washington D.C. is as fascinating as Paris or Vatican City (note to the D.C. tourism board: get your "Lost Symbol" tour in order). And, as with other Dan Brown books, the pace is relentless, the revelations many, and there is an endless parade of intriguing factoids that will make you feel like you are spending the afternoon with Robert Langdon and the guys from Mythbusters.
Nothing is as it seems in a Robert Langdon novel, and The Lost Symbol itself is no exception--a page-turner to be sure, but Brown also challenges his fans to open their minds to new information. Skeptical? Imagine how many other thrillers would spawn millions of Google searches for noetic science, superstring theory, and Apotheosis of Washington. The Lost Symbol is brain candy of the best sort--just make sure to set aside time to enjoy your meal. --Daphne Durham
More from Dan Brown
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. After scores of Da Vinci Code knockoffs, spinoffs, copies and caricatures, Brown has had the stroke of brilliance to set his breakneck new thriller not in some far-off exotic locale, but right here in our own backyard. Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter's severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages. A villain known as Mal'akh, a steroid-swollen, fantastically tattooed, muscle-bodied madman, wants to locate the wisdom so he can rule the world. Mal'akh has captured Peter and promises to kill him if Langdon doesn't agree to help find the portal. Joining Langdon in his search is Peter's younger sister, Kathleen, who has been conducting experiments in a secret museum. This is just the kickoff for a deadly chase that careens back and forth, across, above and below the nation's capital, darting from revelation to revelation, pausing only to explain some piece of wondrous, historical esoterica. Jealous thriller writers will despair, doubters and nay-sayers will be proved wrong, and readers will rejoice: Dan Brown has done it again. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Yeah, I bought it the day it went on sale, but I was at home sick as a dog with the flu. The price was right on Kindle, as was the convenience factor, and I was hoping to have the machine read to me as I wasn't quite well enough to tackle the task for myself. Therefore, I was disappointed after purchase to see the read aloud feature disabled for this novel. Boo hiss, Doubleday. Anyway, I eventually got healthier and began to read again and discovered that Dan Brown has finally tackled a subject of real interest to me--my hometown, Washington, DC.
As the novel opens, Robert Langdon is literally jetting to DC to give an important speech as a favor to a dear friend. Rushing to his destination in the US capitol, Langdon discovers the circumstances of his visit to DC are not what he was led to believe. Soon, he's embroiled in another elaborate, puzzle-filled, life-threatening hunt through the nation's capitol. He's dodging the CIA, while unraveling arcane Masonic clues, and sparring with a mad man. In other words, pretty much what you'd expect from Dan Brown.
For me, personally, the symbolic tour of Washington, DC was a true joy. And the ties to the Smithsonian Institution, where I once worked, were an added bonus. These plot elements had me happily flipping electronic pages all through the first half of this lengthy novel. I was enjoying The Lost Symbol significantly more than I had expected. However, the deeper I got into the novel, the less fresh it felt.
First, there is the villain, Mal'akh, or whatever he wants to call himself. It doesn't take the reader long to realize the guy is a complete and total nut job. And once you get past the more lurid aspects of his character and story, it gets kind of old. How much crazy do you have to read before it get boring and repetitive. He's nuts. We know it. Move on.
Second, Brown again falls back on all his favorite plot devices. Tricks like referring to characters without using their name, so as to obscure identity as long as possible. Or having characters have major information that is hidden from the reader. These things are tricks. They're used in a heavy-handed manner. And, again, it all just begins to feel manipulative and old. Plus, the revelations when they finally, finally come just aren't that exciting.
Third, there are plot elements that were supposed to be huge surprises that were just so obvious to me. I'm not saying that every single reader will pick up on the stuff that I did, but they might have clued into something else. I'd be surprised if they didn't.
So, a mixed reaction from me. I really enjoy Robert Langdon's lectures. I think the symbology is genuinely interesting. Having so much of it revolve around a location I'm intimately familiar with was a special treat for me. There were a lot of plot elements that were just a lot of fun, and on one level this is a light, entertaining read. The second half of the book didn't work as well for me. I think Brown returned to his bag of tricks too often and ultimately revelations disappointed. For a less critical reader simply looking for a page-turner, you could do worse.
A surprising book if one has studied the occult and mysticism. Many references to the Rosicrucian Order, the Masons, , San Jose, AMORC, the Rosy Cross, Rosae Crucis, and more.
Apotheosis is the name of a painting of George.Washington in the Capitol Rotunda.
Apotheosis meaning changing from Man to God. "Elevation to divine status" from
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., P. 59.
P. 272: The Folger Shakespeare Library house original Latin manuscript of Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, "...utopian vision on which the American forefathers had allegedly modeled a new world based on ancient knowledge."
P. 290. A Bronze of George Washington in full Masonic regalia. In the Capitol building, nine levels bear names like the Grotto, the Crypt Room and the Knights Templar Chapel. Also over 20,000 volumes of Masonic writings. Small model of King Solomon's temple
P. 291: CIA guilty of studying "Remote Viewing," psychic abilities to transport mind's eye to any location and spy there.
P. 486 Mentions Ancient Mysteries, the Lost Word, the Secrets of the Ages. Albrecht Durer's Melencolia I--the image of the dejected Adept, failed efforts to unveil the mystical secrets of alchemy.
P. 490: Sir Francis Bacon, the luminary hired by King James to literally create the authorized King James Bible, cryptic, still studied today. Bacon was a Rosicrucian, penned The Wisdom of the Ancients.
P. 497: Mentions Brumidi's The Apotheosis of Washington, huge painting, 1700s.
P. 498b: The science of Noetics, The science of Noetics may be new, but it's actually the oldest science on earth--the study of human thought. And we're learning that the ancients actually understood thought more profoundly than we do today. The Vedas describe the flow of mind energy. the Pistis Sophia describes universal consciousness. The Zohar explores the nature of Mind spirit. The Shamanic texts predict Einstein's 'remote influence' in terms of healing at a distance.
P. 499. The Bible encoded with scientific information....Read some of Newton's esoteric texts on the Bible....cryptic parables. 499b. Healing with the Pineal Gland during meditation. Regeneration. Rosicrucian teachings. Noetic.org. Laus Deo. Read this a year
ago, May 17, 2010. May 21, 2011. Purchased May, 2011. Eml: email@example.com