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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2009
I'm a bit ambivalent about this book, it was not too bad, but it wasn't great either.

Here's a brief plot summary: Robert Langdon (and Tom Hanks now pops up in my mind whenever I see that name, despite the fact that I never saw the Da Vinci film) goes to Washington D.C. He comes across a body part, there's code to decipher, and this all leads to him being chased by the CIA all across Washington. He solves more codes, saves the day, and at the end there is a big revelation. (All a bit similar to the Da Vinci Code.)

The CIA are involved in the story due to an "issue of national security". This is mentioned fairly soon and is used to convince a secondary character to cooperate, and throughout the book we see the CIA trying to track down Langdon and then the bad guy. After all this building up, when the actual "issue" is revealed it is all a bit of a letdown - it simply is not as big an issue as it was made out to be.

The book started off slowly, and it was quite a few chapters in before the pace picked up. It was not very exciting, and there was no intense pressure to find out what happens next. This is in direct contrast to the Da Vinci Code, which started with a murder and had a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, enticing you to read on.

The characters are all a bit 2D, and were not built sufficiently to seem human. Katherine, the female protaganist (there always has to be one in a book like this), is a scientist whose mother and nephew were murdered, and whose brother has been kidnapped. She is supposed to be clever and marked by family tragedy, but was wholly unconvincing and I had no feelings for her whatsoever. The bad guy, a madman with method, is appallingly badly drawn and is "evil" with not one single redeeming feature. Yes, he's supposed to be mad, but even so he doesn't have to be cruel to absolutely everyone and every thing. Couldn't he have had a cat to pet, or something?!

The setting (Washington) was frankly not as interesting as the various locations in the Da Vinci Code. There is a chase to many landmarks, but I had not heard of most of them and this book has not increased my interest in the city. Perhaps it would mean more to an American.

Some parts of the book made me switch off and skim the contents, namely the bits about Noetic Science (I have no idea if this is a real "science" or not, and I have no interest in finding out because it just sounds preposterous) and the repeated assertions that there is an ancient wisdom that has been passed down through the generations.

I did like the twist near the end, which made everything fit more neatly, though I'm sure a lot of people could have guessed. And I loved the reference to Digital Fortress (which I did find annoyingly cheesy throughout that book).

Overall, I think this is a definite must-read, but only in the sense that if you don't read it you can't talk about it to other people - something that happened with the Da Vinci Code too. The hype is too big to ignore, so you should read it just so you can give your opinion on it. It's really not that bad, but I thought the Da Vinci Code was miles better - it's definitely not as engaging as the earlier book.
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on 24 November 2010
Having read the Davinci Code and Angels and Demons I looked forward to the next instalment from Dan Brown. However, I have to say that I now find the antics of Robert Langdon a bit boring and predictable.

Don't get me wrong the book is certainly a page turner and in the style of Dan Brown always leaves you on a cliff hanger wanting to know what happens in the next chapter - but I felt the storyline was a little disappointing and seemed to lack depth and fizzle away towards the end. I expect more from this author now and am interested to see how (or if) the character develops in the future.

A good read and good entertainment - although out of the Robert Langdon trilogy so far I would have to place this one last behind Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code respectively.

I liked it but just not as much as the others ...
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on 20 November 2016
Very good Thanks Frank.
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on 8 January 2016
Good but not Dan's best.
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on 28 July 2015
As usual epic storyline.
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on 1 October 2014
a good read, enjoyed it.
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on 5 July 2010
After reading all other Dan Brown books I was really looking forward to this one, and I wasn't dissappointed. His style of writing has always kept me engrossed to the point where I want to keep reading no-matter what the time. This book was no exception. Fast paced with twists and turns all the way through. The reason why I haven't given it 5 stars is because I saw quite a lot of the twists coming, especially one of the main ones. I believe this is due to being familiar with his other work as he does, in my opinion, stick to the same formula throughout all his books. This did let me down slightly, but when something works, why change it. Please don't let this put you off what is another good read from Dan Brown, and as I said before, I didn't want to put the book down at all. Not his best, but close behind.
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on 7 October 2009
Had I wanted to enlighten myself about Freemasonry I would have Googled it. Gosh, I wish I had a remote to fast forward through those mundane explanations of what Freemasons supposedly do behind closed doors. And I had to suffer the agony of reading through all those pages for the corniest ending this side of the Potomac. And how many endings does the this book have? One? Nope. Two? Try again. There were multiple times when I wanted to cry out loud, "dude, get to the point." The Lost Symbol smacks of an ulterior motive from page 1: i.e. give Tom Hanks another chance to gain respectability after the first Dan Brown movie flop. So don't waste your precious $$$. Wait for the saturday afternoon matinee on your giant Samsung HD flat screen. It's free and without the feeling of guilt.
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on 4 February 2010
"And if you have any doubts ," Peter added, "Corinthians overtly tells us that the parables have two layers of meaning: `milk for babies and meat for men' -- where the milk is a watered-down reading for infantile minds, and the meat is the true message, accessible only to mature minds."

The Lost Symbold by Dan Brown page 490 Hard Back Edition

This book is definitely milk and much watered down milk at that.

As such it is probably suitable material, as a first step, for people who are trying to escape from reading comics or watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.

PS Hi Dan- Having explained to us what a wonderful collection of people the
Masons really are, could you do the same sort 'image adjusting' job on the Orange
Order, who are very badly in need of it?
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on 23 June 2015
Classic Brown thriller.
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