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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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The end of the book drags.
I'm not sure I'll read the next one.
This time it hits closer to home with the Free Masons, CIA, our capitals history as well as a good taste of Christianity and religion in general. It is amazing how all of this fits into story without preaching or telling us how are or should be. If you have ever been to the capital or any of the other great monuments in Washington D.C. you will find yourself comparing what you saw with what you are reading.
In this third installment Robert Langdon is once again our hero and we get some more history on his relationship with Peter Soloman as well as learn more about Peter and his life and meet his sister.
This is another great read by Dan Brown with lots of twists and turns and a great new way to look at some of the things that are at the center of many debates.
If you enjoyed the first two books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons then you will truly enjoy this one.
Aside from a new toybox of symbols to play with and a change of faces of villains and sidekicks, the same story told to us in his two previous Langdon adventures is served up again on a different platter. Pure fantasy? Of course. That's why we buy fiction. Same story? Yep. But that's OK. There are hundreds of ways to make spaghetti and I nearly always like spaghetti.
Brown takes great liberty with his symbology and for an anthropologist, linguist and mythologist, I can get a little impatient with his fast and loose handling of the tools and concepts that are the stock of my trade and profession but I keep buying his books.
So, I guess that makes us both winners.
Brown's writing style hasn't changed much: his Perils-of-Pauline chapter structure continues for over a hundred or so chapters. Rather than adding interest or suspense, after a while it is predictable and downright annoying. Getting back to our hero for a moment: he's a cardboard cut-out. We get to learn precious little more about him; he is merely a vehicle by which Brown can transport us across the DC landscape. The villain is nicely grotesque and villainy. There's a kind of a heroine, I guess. And the supporting characters are shades and degrees between the two extremes.
There is no doubt that the plot is entertaining. And the Mason references are all very interesting. Hopefully, however, much of Brown's linguistic pontification and erudition will not be taken all that seriously, as for example, his explanation of the etymology of the word "sincere," which is more folk etymology than fact.
Lastly, this review is on the Kindle edition, so I didn't have a chance to participate in the decoding of the cover game that owners of the hard-bound edition were privy to. The formatting was very nice (Kindle 2), but I still can't understand how spell and grammar checker allows certain typos to get through, as I've seen in several Kindle editions.
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The symbols described in this book caught and held my interest.Read more