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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty mind blowing read!
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...
Published on 18 Aug 2010 by Dedonno Jason Enzo

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a bit of a drag
back when I worked in a bar I had one customer who loved to hear his own voice. Out of politeness I would stand or sit and listen to him drone on about things he knew of. He'd go on for hours on end. Sometimes he'd come up with a gem of a saying or some vital bit of gossip, but aside from that it was painful having to listen to him.

Reading this book felt just...
Published 19 months ago by C. Winterburn


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty mind blowing read!, 18 Aug 2010
By 
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.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a bit of a drag, 25 Feb 2013
By 
C. Winterburn (Wakefield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost Symbol: (Robert Langdon Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
back when I worked in a bar I had one customer who loved to hear his own voice. Out of politeness I would stand or sit and listen to him drone on about things he knew of. He'd go on for hours on end. Sometimes he'd come up with a gem of a saying or some vital bit of gossip, but aside from that it was painful having to listen to him.

Reading this book felt just like that, painful!

OK so there's the usual character building and he lets you get to know a character before then killing them. Death is usually by some immensely powerful homo-erotic character.

The book hooked me then dropped me then hooked me and dropped me again and so it went on. I've been hooked all the way through by previous books of his and was hoping to be so again with this one but it weren't to be.

I enjoyed Da Vinci Code, Digital Fortress, Deception Point. I absolutely loved Angels and Demons. Maybe once you've read one symbolist mystery, you've read them all?

I had high hopes but feel let down.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire, 27 Oct 2009
By 
Carol Haynes (North Yorkshire UK) - See all my reviews
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Dan Brown isn't a literary genius but I loved Angels and Demons and da Vinci Code (having both paperback and hardback illustrated versions) but the Lost Symbol is just plain dire. The previous books are rollicking yarns that have pace, tension, humour and a bit of controversy thrown in for fun.

In the Lost symbol the charcaters are unintelligent and annoying. It is not possible to care about them as they wandering aimless about without much rhyme or reason to avoid yet another weirdo (this time instead of being albino he is covered in tatoos but other than that...). Noetic 'science' (aka noetic tosh), too many pages filled up to make the book longer and an ending I just wanted to finish to say 'there done it, now I never have to see it again'.

The first two Dan Brown books weren't brilliant but at least they had some situations and ideas that made you occasionally think and more often laugh at the absurdity but at least they were entertaining. The Lost Symbol is just plain uninteresting, the story (for what it is worth) could have been written in about 50 pages (the rest of the book is pure padding). Ultimately it is too self referencing and tries too hard to spin some sort of ancient historical interest that the USA simply doesn't have.

It won't get read again for anything and I wouldn't insult anyone by trying to sell this second hand - it just deserves the paper recycling bin.
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119 of 141 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather Predictible, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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I can understand why this book has received varied reviews - anything from "it's an unputdownable classic" to "what a load of tosh."

I fall somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed it but towards the end it dragged and the unravelling of the lost symbol was hugely disappointing as all Dan Brown books seem to be. It's almost is if the author is pulling back from producing something ground shattering because 1/he runs out of ideas and 2/ is afraid to take the book out of its believable past. Brown wants us to believe in his symbolism, but he stretches the point.

Firstly let's take the positive points:

1/ It is a good read. The early chapters rattle past
2/ Much of what occurs is intriguing. On more than one occasion I stopped reading to look up information and claims on the internet
3/ There is plenty of action

Now to the negatives which sadly outweigh the positives.

1/ The characters have become wooden. I no longer care what happens to Robert Langdon and when it looked as if he had been drowned I was quietly pleased.
2/ Much of the action is contrived and ridiculous
3/ The "baddie" is a typical Brown character that we have seen so many times in his previous books
4/ Brown seems to have run out of ideas - just forcing into us numeorus codes
5/ He has an annoying ability to end every chapter as a cliffhanger with pompous phrases leading us to believe that a stunning revelation is about to be uncovered.
6/ The stunning revelations never come leading to a feeling of so what.
7/ The action is, as with all of his books, very difficult to visualise.
8/ The plot twists and turns and the whole thing becomes very dull towards the end where one of the main characters acts as if nothing has happened despite the fact his son has been killed and he has had a hand chopped off (a fact he seemingly ignores as being pretty irrelevant).

Brown seems scared to geniuinely give is a catyclismic novel, preferring to lead us on, promising much but delivering relatively little. For the first half of this novel I was intrigued but it then got rather dull and predictible.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great disappointment, 12 Nov 2009
This book was hyped to death by the publishers and I ordered it from Amazon as soon as pre-order became possible. When I read it it was a great disappointment - the book is dull, self indulgent and turgid. I find it quite beyond belief that the solution to all the world's problems might be found under the Capitol in Washington - Washington is about two hundred years old as we know! Dan Brown will make a lot of money out of it, but I'm sorry to say that I have bought my last one of his books. The only good thing about it was that the Amazon price was incredibly cheap - a pity that it was not worth the money!
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So dull, 11 Mar 2010
By 
I quite enjoyed 'The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons", so I was quite excited to read the third book in the series.
However, it was extremely dull and became quite a chore to finish.
You do not sympathise with any of the characters whatsoever. In fact you are more likely to wish that the villan would come out on top, at least that would make things interesting.
Dan Browne has concentrated far too much on facts and figures, that end up becoming awfully tedious, and you end up feeling that you would have been better off reading an encyclopedia.
I suspect that, as can sometimes happen after an author becomes succesful, that Dan Browne has been a little lazy with this Novel.
I hate to be so negatvie, as I really do enjoy most books I read, but this book was really bad.
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91 of 110 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining - though not as good as Da Vinci Code, 17 Sep 2009
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
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The Lost Symbol opens with Robert Langdon being called to Washington DC at short notice to deliver a speech. The request has come from his old friend, Peter Solomon, head of the Smithsonian Institution and also a high-ranking Mason. When Langdon gets to the Capitol Building, he quickly discovers that there is no event planned and that Solomon has not invited him. Instead he has been lured there because an unknown individual believes that Langdon can help him to unlock an "ancient portal" hidden in Washington DC. The first clue is delivered via a severed hand (Solomon's). In next to no time Langdon finds himself teaming up with Solomon's sister (a former romantic interest) frantically deceiphering clues in a bid to save his friend Peter, all the while on the run from the authorities - and also from a mysterious eunuch with a distinctive tatooed appearance who is desperate to discover the most closely guarded secrets of the Freemasons.

Whilst there are obvious similarities to The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol focuses on new territory, specifically the world of Freemasons. Unfortunately, while interesting, the revelations lack the "wow" factor of The Da Vinci revelations. The Lost Symbol is still an enjoyable book, but it's definitely not as good as The Da Vinci Code. I'd put it more on a par with his earlier novels.

The book takes a while to find its momentum. The early chapters are cluttered with back story after back story. Also lots of "encyclopedia speak". Dan Brown has clearly done lots of research while writing this book, but do we need to be told ALL of it? Sometimes it felt more like I was reading excerpts from Wikipedia than a novel! The pace does pick up though, and Dan Brown is still the master of the hanging chapters that get you staying up late reading "just one more" - it's a long book, but you tear through it. You do need to be willing to ride with the (many) improbabilities, like the idea that Langdon could immediately identify the owner of a severed hand or that the CIA would let him help himself to criminal evidence or that he would totally forget that he was carrying a secret and vital box with him (until of course it was convenient for him to remember). The final chapters are also a let down: they drag out and the main twist is unlikely to come as a surprise.

Despite these flaws, most of The Lost Symbol moves at a good pace and kept me entertained throughout. Ultimately it delivers much what you would expect it to and if you've enjoyed previous novels by Dan Brown, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll enjoy this one too.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much 'The Lost Symbol' more 'The Lost Plot', 16 Sep 2009
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I had a very strong sense of deja-vu reading this book. Robert Langdon becomes embroiled in trying the uncover the secrets of the Freemasons by deciphering the coded messages contained within the closely guarded Masonic Pyramid whilst on a jaunt around the major landmarks of Washington DC in order to save his long time friend and Master Mason who has been held hostage by the villain of the piece, whilst accompanied by the hostage's brilliant scientist sister. Does this all sound a bit familiar? Well it should, because it's basically the Da Vinci code with the Roman Catholic church substituted for the Freemasons, moved from Paris and London to Washington DC. There are the same coded symbols, mathematical puzzles, and lectures on artistic symbolism that we know so well. The plot is also something of a conjuring trick, because we realise at the end that there is no great secret. The solution of the coded pyramid takes us to what is basically a rather trite conclusion and appears to be already known to Peter Solomon, the guardian of the Masonic Pyramid. Therefore, when all is revealed the whole plot becomes a bit of a 'so what'. A very disappointing conclusion.

The book contains a lot of factual information and descriptions of buildings in Washington DC, reading in many places like a guide book and pages from Wikipedia. The Washington DC tourist board will no doubt be raising a few glasses to Mr Brown. Not being very familar with the lay out of central Wasington DC, a map included in the front of the book would have been useful to me.

There has been a lot of criticism of Brown's writing style, which is no doubt very sensationalist with lots of hyperbole and over the top descriptions and adjectives. However, the result is undoubtedly a great pager turner despite the fact that it ultimately leads absolutely nowhere. As usual characterisation isn't a very strong point. Robert Langdon's two dimensional cardboard cut-out character in tweed jacket and suede loafers only serves to make the main villain, the deranged and tatooed Mal'akh, seem uneven more implausible. The vertically challenged CIA Director is almost as equally unbelievable. In fact, the whole plotting is really pretty unbelievable! Towards the end of the book Robert Langdon survives a near death experience which would have put most people in a hospital bed for a few days at least, but not our tweed-jacket and chino-clad symbol cracking super sleuth! Oh, no! He just dries himself off and resumes his relentless charge around Washington DC, together with Peter Solomon who almost as miraculously levers himself out of his wheel chair minus a hand. The identity of the villain Mal'akh, which turns out to be a major twist in the story, is telegraphed in the extreme. Was there anyone who didn't work this out??

I note there are some lists of 'great' (or not so great!) Dan Brown sentences complied from his previous works. From this novel three favourites I managed to find were;
P285 - "The Upper West Side apartment offered breathtaking views of Central Park. Andros has chosen it because the sea of green outside his window reminded him of his lost view of the Adriatic." I can picture the similarity only too readily: the sun, the sand, the sea, the tavernas etc..... In any case as Andros went to the Greek Islands I assume he actually meant the Aegean or Ionian Seas.
P314 - "That's why science has advanced more in the last five years than the last five thousand." Can anyone remember the dark days of 2004? Really, Dan, are you 'aving a laugh!??
P440 - "According to Nola's spec sheet, the UH60 had a chassis-mounted, laser-sighted, six-gigahertz magnetron with a fifty-dB-gain horn that yielded a ten giga-Watt pulse." Blimey! I wonder if I can get one of those on E-Bay!????

In conclusion, it is the rather familiar formula which has made DB such a popular author. Very readable, very unbelievable, with a very anti-climatic ending, involving secret code-breaking, artistic symbolism, pyramids and (again) Sir Isaac Newton.

For the next installment, I'm putting my money on Robert Langdon charging around London (replete in tweed jacket, loafers and Mickey Mouse watch....of course) in search of Lord Lucan, deciphering hidden clues on Cleopatra's Needle and the National Gallery that will lead him to Central America, the lost treasures of the Aztecs and Lord Lucan himself living in a cardboard box at the top of Chichen Itza temples. Remember.....you first heard it here!
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointing, 22 Oct 2009
I bought this book as I enjoyed all of Dan Brown's previous books, especially Angels & Demons. This book is nowhere near as good for me. The story never grabbed me, I did not see the point of it all, and I found myself towards the end, and even the last 30 or so pages, just scanning through it. I didn't care anymore, just couldn't wait to finish it, and move on to a better book. Disappointing for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars facile hokum, 2 Sep 2013
By 
Chris (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost Symbol: (Robert Langdon Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
Not a bad yarn, and as a thriller manages the odd surprise, but requires a suspension of disbelief I could not willingly muster.
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