Book: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Entertaining thriller with art-historian hero

Dan Brown
The Lost Symbol
Doubleday, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-50422-5
509 pages

As with Dan Brown's earlier novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol is a thriller that's heavy on symbology. Or hero is once again the Mickey-Mouse-watch-wearing art-historian Professor Robert Langdon. As the book begins, his friend and mentor, Peter Solomon, who is also the boss of the Smithsonian Institution, has asked him to fill in at short notice for a speaker who has fallen ill. A private jet takes Robert Langdon from Boston to Washington, D.C. where a car is waiting for him. In fact, he is being lured to Washington under false pretenses. He is being manipulated by a much-tattooed man who calls himself Mal'akh. Mal'akh arranges for Professor Langdon to receive a grisly sort of invitation and hopes to force him to decode some Masonic symbology which he is convinced will reveal a symbol which will give him a great deal of power.

What follows is an improbable and entertaining night-long chase around and under Washington in which various people with various agendas attempt to figure things out and control what happens when they are figured out. It should be noted that all the Masons (well, except for one) in the book are perfectly sensible and likable people. The organization is a bit secretive and uses some unusual symbology, but it's entirely benign. The actual MacGuffin in the book turns out not to be all that interesting and the plots of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are grander and more entertaining, but the book is still good entertainment for a night or two's reading.

Mr Brown even pokes a bit of fun at himself when a character makes the sincere/without wax pun from Angels and Demons and Robert Langdon recognizes it as coming from a "mediocre thriller" he had read (p. 355).

Posted: Mon - January 18, 2010 at 09:06 PM   Main   Category: