Here’s the deal with Dan Brown: once you’ve read one of his novels, the rest become predictable. He’ll hit you with plot twists here and there, to the point that you’re expecting a twist as you progress through his novels. His novels have have a signature beat, and (this is especially true in the last 3-4 years) you begin to wonder if he writes with commercial success in mind.
Regardless of all of these, I’d still read the adventures of Robert Langdon. Nerd that I am, Dan Brown will make me read up on the topics of his novels—the Holy Grail, CERN, the Knights Templar, the Papacy, and now, the Masons and Noetics, thanks to his latest commercial success, “The Lost Symbol”.
In this novel, Robert Langdon is unwittingly drawn in to a sinister plan to unlock secrets of the Masons. The events in the novel take place in a span of several hours, written in a way that cuts from one event to another simultaneously happening. And the main antagonist? A more sinister version of Silas and the Hassassin, who, oddly enough, reminds me of Xerxes in the movie “300”. As with “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons”, the novel is based on a hefty amount of research. In true Dan Brown fashion, you’re now drawn in to try and determine for yourself what is fact and what is fiction.
“The Lost Symbol” is a pretty easy read, despite having over 600 pages in mass market paperback version (no, sorry, Dan Brown doesn’t merit to be purchased in hardbound cover in my book). Brown packed in more back stories and explanations of Masonic symbols in this book than his previous efforts, which I didn’t mind much. What gets my beef is when he goes into the dialogue between and among characters—that’s when the writing gets sloppy, with the abuse of the ellipsis (ack, one of my greatest writing pet peeves!). Good thing the book is fast-paced, so one doesn’t have to dwell much on the writing style of the dialogue. My other beef—Brown can sure get corny. (Circulating a video to all media outfits nationwide via email? Really?)
Nothing really impressive about “The Lost Symbol”, but if you’re a nutter who’d want to know more about the Masons or even the buildings in Washington D.C., then this should be a start. One other thing—the book solidifies that Brown’s works have both a tone and a template in terms of unfolding the story. Again, just a few things one might want to overlook to enjoy the book.
And I just want to say that CIA administrator Inoue Sato is quite the Dragon Lady!