Latest Dan Brown novel true to form

Ellen Gustavson/Staff Writer

Dan Brown, author of the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time, The DaVinci Code, has just released his latest novel, The Lost Symbol. It has proved to be successful already with a first printing of five million copies for its Sept. 15 release.

Brown’s previous novels, Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code, seem to have been written directly for the dramatics, as both have been made into movies. The DaVinci Code came out in May 2006 and had one of the biggest opening weekends in both the United States and worldwide for that year. More recently, its prequel Angels and Demons came out this summer and will be released to DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 24. Both movies starred Tom Hanks and were directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard.

Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code both begin with Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, being called urgently to travel to a famous European city because of an appalling murder by a pyschotic killer, who happens to be part of an ancient secret organization. He is asked to help get to the bottom of the crime using his knowledge of symbols, and he finds himself wrapped up in a race to save the day while interpreting codes and discovering ancient secrets. Both end with a stunning twist, making them unforgettable and suspenseful reads.

Although the plots of Brown’s previous novels are very similar to The Lost Symbol, there promises to be some differences. Having finally exhausted the mysteries of Europe, the location switches to our own Washington, D.C. It revolves around the Freemasons society as opposed to the Holy Grail and the Vatican, which made Brown’s previous novels a bit controversial.

The Lost Symbol begins with the protagonist Robert Langdon being called urgently, yet again, to give a lecture at the capital building. When he arrives though, he finds his old friend and high ranking member of the Freemasons, Peter Solomon, has been taken captive, with a gruesome clue that happens to be a Masonic “invitation” for receiving ancient wisdom. Solomon’s captor, Mal-akh, demands that Langdon cooperates with him if he ever wants to see Solomon again. Langdon finds himself running from the CIA for refusing to help them, and running to decipher the clues that will lead to finding the ancient wisdom to save Peter, all of which takes place in Washington, D.C.’s famous sites. The ending once again has a shocking twist, and also a surprisingly insightful resolution.

The Lost Symbol has a good plot that would make it a very exciting read — if you haven’t already read Brown’s previous books. The fact that Brown has been recycling the same plot makes it a bit boring to read after a while. The book starts off very fast paced and exciting, but slows down in the middle because of the repetiviveness of Langdon’s symbolic scavenger hunt. It also has some mentioning of noetic science (a branch of science involving using the human brain for purposes never thought possible) which is very similar to the scientific aspect of Angels and Demons, so it seemed less remarkable the second time around.

However, it gains momentum again at the end when a piece of information is revealed to the reader that turns the plot completely upside-down.
This makes it a good read overall, but maybe a bit too long. With all its 510 pages, it becomes a bit boring, with unnecessary rants about various symbols and histories in the middle. If it were to follow in the footprints of The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, it would probably make a good movie, though very similar to National Treasure.

Class of 2014

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