The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon) Paperback – 22 Jul 2010
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Vehicles move through the murky night, carrying highly secret material. And that clandestine material will only be available--after midnight--to those who have signed non-disclosure notices. The plot of the new Dan Brown novel? No, it’s actually how reviewers such as myself obtained our copies of the much-anticipated The Lost Symbol, the follow-up to the Da Vinci Code. And as we read it in (literally) the cold light of dawn, we wonder: is it likely to match the earlier book’s all-conquering, phenomenal success?
Firstly, it should be noted that The Lost Symbol has incorporated all the elements that so transfixed readers in The Da Vinci Code: a complex, mystifying plot (with the reader set quite as many challenges as the protagonist); breathless, helter-skelter pace (James Patterson's patented technique of keeping readers hooked by ending chapters with a tantalisingly unresolved situation is very much part of Dan Brown’s armoury). And, of course, the winning central character, resourceful symbologist Robert Langdon, is back, risking his life to crack a dangerous mystery involving the Freemasons (replacing the controversial trappings of the Catholic Church and homicidal monks of the last book). And while Dan Brown will never win any prizes for literary elegance, his prose is always succinctly at the service of delivering a thoroughly involving thriller narrative in vividly evoked locales (here, Washington DC, colourfully conjured).
Robert Langdon flies to Washington after an urgent invitation to speak in the Capitol building. The invitation appears to have come from a friend with copper-bottomed Masonic connections, Peter Solomon. But Langdon has been tricked: Solomon has, in fact, been kidnapped, and (echoing the grisly opening of the last book) a macabre mutilation plunges Langdon into a tortuous quest. His friend’s severed hand lies in the Capitol building, positioned to point to a George Washington portrait that shows the father of his country as a pagan deity. The ruthless criminal nemesis here is another terrifying figure in Brown’s gallery of grotesques: Mal’akh, a powerfully built eunuch with a body festooned with tattoos. Mal’akh is seeking a Masonic pyramid that possesses a formidable supernatural power, and a pulse-pounding hunt is afoot, with Langdon stalled rather than aided by the CIA.
Caveats are pointless here; Dan Brown, comfortably the world’s most successful author, is utterly review-proof. And there's no arguing with the fact that he has his finger on the pulse of the modern thriller reader, furnishing the mechanics of the blockbuster adventure with energy and invention. Like its predecessor, The Lost Symbol will unquestionably be--in fact, already is--a publishing phenomenon. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a rollercoaster" (Los Angeles Times)
"So compelling that several times I came close to a cardiac arrest...As perfectly constructed as the Washington architecture it escorts us around" (Sunday Express)
"A narrative that can grip you like a vice... As engaging a hero as you could wish for" (Daily Mail)
"Unputdownable...Gripping...Jaw-dropping...The blockbuster read of the year" (News of the World)
"Impossible to put down...Another mind-blowing Robert Langdon story" (The New York Times)
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There are times that you do wish Dan Brown got to the point in some parts of the story (for example when some details are statements of the obvious), and also I found myself not liking Langdon character as much as in Angels & Demons or even in DVC - for some reason between his last fictional outing and this one Langdon has become a little thicker :o) and those around him a little cleverer and quicker to figure things out - anyway perhaps that was intentional on the author's part
The baddie in this story reminds me a bit of the one in Red Dragon. The thriller elements of the novel are very good and the way the narrator reads and characterises is excellent. I would recommend going for the unabridged version if you choose the audiobook.
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