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Origin: A Novel Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"Fans of The Da Vinci Code rejoice! Professor Robert Langdon is again solving the mysteries of the universe."
"A brisk new book that pits creationism against science, and is liable to stir up as much controversy as The Da Vinci Code did. In Origin, the brash futurist Edmond Kirsch comes up with a theory so bold, so daring that, as he modestly thinks to himself in Brown’s beloved italics, “It will not shake your foundations. It will shatter them.” Kirsch is of course addressing The World, because that’s the scale on which Brown writes. Brown and serious ideas: they do fit together, never more than they have in Origin."
–-Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Origin asks the questions Where do we come from? Where are we going? They are questions about humanity--but they could just as easily be questions about Robert Langdon. The Mickey Mouse watch-wearing, claustrophobic, always-near-trouble symbology professor is back in Dan Brown’s latest book. And just like he was in his original exploits (Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code), Dr. Langdon is once again wrapped up in a global-scale event that could have massive ramifications on the world’s religions. As he does in all his novels, Brown[‘s] extensive research on art, architecture, and history informs every page."
"Entertaining . . . Loyal fans of his globetrotting symbologist Robert Langdon will no doubt be thrilled with the fifth book in the series."
"Dan Brown is once again taking on the big questions: God and science and the future of the world. Origin is a familiar blend of travelogue, history, conspiracies and whodunit, with asides on everything from the poetry of William Blake to the rise and fall of fascism in Spain."
"The bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code is back with a new book that looks to the future. Origin features many of Brown’s signature themes. An evil, Catholic-adjacent cult, in this case the Palmarian Church, is behind some murders. Gems from art history are the key to solving the mystery. [And] if the reader is in it for the thrill and the twist, the faithful will be glad to hear that there’s a Da Vinci Code-esque background to Robert Langdon’s mission."
--The New Republic
About the Author
DAN BROWN is the author of numerous #1 international bestsellers, including The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.
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Moving from a secret, mountain-top meeting at Montserrat just outside Barcelona to a huge public affair at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, we are teased with the idea that a revelation will be made which shakes all known religions to their core. Then things blow up and Langdon is on the run with the remarkable Ambra by his side. Yet even in the midst of all that we are bombarded with clues and insights about modern art that I would not have imagined could be so fascinating. And I’m still shaking my head over the very strange Uber car ride. How does he come up with these things?
Every time I thought I’d figured out who the "bad guy" was, it shifted and looked like it was someone else. Finally I just stopped trying and went along for the ride. And it is a joyride! If I had any complaint, it would be that Dan has developed a habit of sometimes opening new scenes while giving us no idea where we are (until later). It interferes with the otherwise enjoyable story, but it’s not a big problem. The most exciting thing that happens is when Langdon . . . well, OK, I won’t tell you the rest. Read the book and see for yourself!
*** ARE THERE PROFANITIES USED? ***
Extremely few. Indeed, the f-word makes just one appearance and I didn’t find any s-words.
BLUSH FACTOR Your 80-year-old grandmother will probably be begging you to read more books just like this. No worries here.
POV Written in third person primarily from Robert Langdon’s POV.
KEY POINTS Using history, science and religion for a thriller is one of the better ways to incite curiosity among readers. By this, I mean, curiosity to learn the truth. In other words, Brown’s books should not be regarded as actual history, although they certainly are fun and informative.
LANGUAGE Written in everyday English, the book is not especially artsy. Yet, it is a quick, fun read because the writing is honest, clear, and concise.
DOES THIS WRITER SHOW OR TELL WHAT WE SEE/FEEL/HEAR? Mostly, it is written to show us what is seen, felt, heard or feared.
DOES THE WRITER EVOKE THE FIVE SENSES? Yes.
IS THIS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OR SHOULD I READ AN EARLIER BOOK FIRST?
CLIFFHANGER? Although it leaves us in knowledge that another tale is coming, this is a stand-alone novel.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A – I bought both the Kindle version and the Audible Whispersync copy so I could read and listen.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – A page-turner leisure read. You’ll probably skip a meal or two.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A – Can’t wait for the movie.
To give a feel for the editing, and the style and flow of this work, I am posting a brief excerpt below.
‘…“If you’ve read my books,” Langdon’s voice continued, “you will have heard me use the term ‘God of the Gaps.’ That is to say, when the ancients experienced gaps in their understanding of the world around them, they filled those gaps with God.”
The sky filled now with a massive collage of paintings and statues depicting dozens of ancient deities.
“Countless gods filled countless gaps,” Langdon said. “And yet, over the centuries, scientific knowledge increased.” A collage of mathematical and technical symbols flooded the sky overhead. “As the gaps in our understanding of the natural world gradually disappeared, our pantheon of gods began to shrink.”
On the ceiling, the image of Poseidon came to the forefront.
“For example, when we learned that the tides were caused by lunar cycles,
Poseidon was no longer necessary, and we banished him as a foolish myth of an unenlightened time.”
The image of Poseidon evaporated in a puff of smoke.
“As you know, the same fate befell all the gods—dying off, one by one, as they outlived their relevance to our evolving intellects.”
Overhead, the images of gods began twinkling out, one by one—gods of thunder, earthquakes, plagues, and on and on.
As the number of images dwindled, Langdon added, “But make no mistake about it. These gods did not ‘go gentle into that good night’; it is a messy process for a culture to abandon its deities. Spiritual beliefs are etched deeply on our psyches at a young age by those we love and trust most—our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders. Therefore, any religious shifts occur over generations, and not without great angst, and often bloodshed.”
The sound of clattering swords and shouting now accompanied the gradual disappearance of the gods, whose images winked out one by one. Finally, the image of a single god remained—an iconic wizened face with a flowing white beard.
“Zeus…,” Langdon declared, his voice powerful. “The god of all gods. The most feared and revered of all the pagan deities. Zeus, more than any other god, resisted his own extinction, mounting a violent battle against the dying of his own light, precisely as had the earlier gods Zeus had replaced.”
On the ceiling flashed images of Stonehenge, the Sumerian cuneiform tablets, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Then Zeus’s bust returned.
“Zeus’s followers were so resistant to giving up on their god that the conquering faith of Christianity had no choice but to adopt the face of Zeus as the face of their new God.”
On the ceiling, the bearded bust of Zeus dissolved…’
Brown, Dan. Origin: A Novel (Kindle Locations 1554-1576). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
A bit of a challenge to decide between four stars and five. In the end, though, the story is just too darned fun to read for me to rate it lower than five stars.
Five stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
There are a few weak moments in the story line that are a bit sanguine but I can forgive Brown for a bit of the platitudes and failed development of characters. Overall a good read.
I am sure it will find its way to the screen within a couple of years.