Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
A pretty mind blowing read!
on 18 August 2010
Follows the same thriller formula as his other books which Hitchock devised 50 years ago - a 24 hours chase with the protagonist (with girl) pursued by both the cops and the baddies while they follow a trail of clues in an attempt to solve all the puzzles before an imminent deadline that threatens with catastophy. There is also the obligatory completely mad bad guy leaving a trail of dead bodies.
The formula aspect doesn't make it bad, it's just worn itself out a bit. While the Da Vinci Code created a sensation, we can hardly expect to achieve the same sensation by repeating the formula for a third time. On the good side, the book does make us question certain assumptions we might have about Masonry and the origins of Washington D.C, and inspires thought about the true nature of spirituality. If you understand what the secret is, then reading Dans book will put a smile on your face. If you don't, then the ending will be anti-climatic, as many reviews have pointed out. That's because any search for a "Holy Grail" is going end up as an anti-climax - a point which Douglas Adams made in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with the number 42 being the answer to everything. The answer is not something which can grasped conceptually, but is more a kind of enlightenment. At the end of the book, the author showed Langdon struggling to understand this, perhaps as a symbol of the position we all now find ourselves in - on the verge of being enlightened...
I don't believe Brown is right in saying that the secret was deliberately hidden -- that the Bible uses code words to cloak the real meaning. I see the bible more as struggling to convey the meaning, but lacking the language and concepts to do so, and thus appearing metaphoric.
However, "The Lost Symbol" is great story, with a important message, and overflowing with fascinating historical references that had me running to the computer every five minutes and Googling them up to find out if they were true or not. Nine times out of ten they were true and I learned some astonishing facts about freemasonry and Washington D.C.s architecture.
It is undoubtedly a good read!
On the negative side, the characters seemed more wooden when compared to those in his earlier works, especially towards the end where Solomon, one of the main characters, acts as if nothing has happened after what ought to have been a tarumatic ordeal. He had been in and out of sensory deprivation tank, had his hand chopped off, witnessed his son come back from the dead, only to die horrifically minutes in front of him -- all within 24 hours! I get the impression that the author didn't want to bother so much with the characters at the end, but rather focus on concluding the theme of the book.