The critics, especially here in Britain, have been hyper-dismissive of INFERNO. Echoing Dan Brown's previous Robert Langdon adventures, it's easy to read - and easy to forget.
The medieval poet Dante provides the book with its title and most of the 'symbology' which is Brown's hallmark. He injects lumbering quantities of guidebook history in Florence and Venice and the city (I won't spoil the surprise) where the story reaches its climax. What he doesn't inject is very much originality. The plot is as threadbare as an early episode of DR WHO.
The critics are right to lambaste the author.The writing is pitifully bland. 'There are probably endless possibilities,' Langdon says at one point: nobody in his editorial team (he thanks them all by name) spotted the tautology? If Brown thinks that repeated use of the word 'chthonic' (relating to the Underworld) gives his book a touch of class, he is mistaken. At the end our hero and heroine are 'locked in an embrace that neither seemed willing to end' - there's a line Barbara Cartland would be (and probably is) proud of!
The law of diminishing returns is applying to Dan Brown's books. For all the hoopla, THE DA VINCI CODE wasn't as original or as pacy as ANGELS & DEMONS, Langdon's first foray; this latest episode (and THE LOST SYMBOL) would not have made it past the publisher's slush pile from an author without his track record. But Mr Brown rightly feels free to ignore his critics: like Liberace, he's laughing all the way to the bank.
[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]