Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Book Review - Dan Brown The Lost Symbol

So I've slated Mr Brown's books in the past notably a year ago when reviewing Digital Fortress which was frankly tosh!

However Deception Point is a bloody good read. Angels and Demons not too bad however the Dan Brown way of making the baddie really the goodie or is that the other way round? meant I'd long figured some of the plot line and that nonsense with the anti-matter from CERN was again tosh! The DaVinci Code is of course a huge success and created a myth about it as Mr Brown claims a lot of factual basis to his stories - possibly true to some point but the level that you get other books and TV shows trying to retrace the routes and all the symbols etc. is mind boggling. Whatever you have to say Mr Brown has tapped into the modern interest.

And so The Lost Symbol carries on from where The DaVinci Code left off (the books go Angels and Demons, DaVinci Code, Lost Symbol - the 2 films reversed the sequence). Our hero is again the Harvard symbolist professor Robert Langden. He gets completely wrapped up in a masonic dripping conspiracy centred in the USA capital Washington DC. I'm not sure how much of the history of many of the buildings etc. that are used within the book is true but it has wet my appetite for a trip to Washington some time in the future if I can to have a look around.

The book bustles along in a rip roaring pace - I think I'm correct that the whole thing plays out in one day. The CIA are involved, masons are popping out of the stone work left right and centre and believe it or not the secret of all knowledge is apparently buried in Washington. Yes guarded by the masons for millennia since the time of pharaohs in Egypt and it's buried... in a city built only 200 years ago... sorry!? Okay as ever with our Dan put aside the incredulity for a moment and remember more than anything that Dan probably needs a USA setting to ensure his best seller status remains.... oh cynical me :-)

Whatever - it actually isn't a bad read - it had me hooked at least in wanting to know where the next turn would be. Some of the references to Noetic science have me pondering - I think stating these are facts is a little stretching the point. Unexplained findings or phenomena maybe but this isn't really science as I understand it.

There is a twist - the goodie that is actually the badie theme that has been through most of his works to date isn't there. I soon realised I needn't look for that but I was able to see through who the badie was before the reveal which meant that was a little bit of a let down as it was portrayed as a massive surprise.

So - worth a read? Yep - one Mr Brown's better ones but I'm still perplexed by the hyperbole that surrounds him and his works... there are plenty other mystical thriller type writers out there that are just as good if not better.


  1. I've read DaVinci and Angels.

    I think, for me, the allure of the books (or at least TDC) was twofold.

    First off, there was enough fact sprinkled in with the speculation to make the basic premise believable (almost) and yes, being anti-organised-religion, the bru-ha-ha surrounding them was a selling point. I probably wouldn't have read the DVC if it weren't for the uproar.

    Secondly, the required attention span when reading a Dan Brown novel is minimal. You can read each chapter in about 2 minutes flat and the plotlines are so linear that there was no way you can miss anything important. The style of writing is perfect for vacations or stolen moments, but also, as the reading is easy, you can sit there and plough through large chunks in a short space of time.

    Some of my favourite novels, ones that I come back to over and over, are pretty tough going as the imagery is beautifully complex and takes time and patience to digest. Comprehension is required before every page turn.

    Mr Brown's books are the antithesis of that: pure narrative with precious little imagery or description. I guess it's kind of like pop-art. You read it, you get it, you move on.

  2. i liked angels and demons , but you read one dan brown book , you've basically read them all.

    and btw ..im always looking for a lotion rubber on-er :)

  3. Oh right, I'll get it then. I hadn't yet although I've read his others. Da Vinci was a page-turner while the others were predictable.