Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Losing the plot in 'The Lost Symbol'

The Illumnati, the Vatican and now the Freemasons. It's obvious that the secret society at the centre of Dan Brown's next novel will be Al Qaeda. They are bound to have fanatical members that follow the ideals too literally; they are secretive (you don't get much more secretive than living in a web of caves); and there are bound to be a host of new symbols for Robert Langdon to interpret.

I am a fan of Dan Brown novels. I think he researches them well and he weaves many facts into the narrative to add to the excitement and broaden our understanding of history and especially symbology. Don't misunderstand me. I do not think the stuff he wrote about Jesus Christ in the Da Vinci Code is fact because I had the unfortunate honour of previously reading the book he took most of his ideas from "Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and therefore knew already that the Priory of Sion was considered by many researchers and journalists to be among the biggest hoaxes of the 20th Century but that did not detract from the novel which I could not put down and finished within 2 days.

Image Source: Wikipedia

His latest novel, 'The Lost Symbol', was not as good. It was entertaining and a good read but the tension and suspense seemed forced. Expect spoilers from here so stop reading now if you intend reading the book. The relationship between the antagonist and the good guys was revealed too early to the reader so when it is finally revealed to the characters in the book, the reader is not at all surprised by the reaction.

The aspect of the book that frustrated me the most however, was what can only be described as Dan Brown's 3 chapter apology to Christianity for the 'Da Vinci Code'. I am all for apologies when you believe you did something wrong but make a personal statement in the media. Don't weave it into your next novel because there is a strong liklihood that the people you are aiming to please, are not reading. This came at the very end of the book as well, so the protagonist had died, the world was saved and Robert Langdon is in the company of a beautiful woman, but the reader has to read on so he can understand how Science is only now beginning to catch up to religion (i.e all the miracles can be explained now with science) and that religion held all the answers all along,  but in code. The epilogue was so drawn out that even Robert Langdon needed a nap in the middle of the explanation!

My only hope while I wait for Dan Brown to unmask the next secret society is that Ron Howard chooses to not turn this novel into a movie.

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