|Posted by Fred on November 22, 2012 at 7:30 AM|
August 26, 2010
After the phenomenal success of his "Da Vinci Code," Dan Brown finally came out with his follow-up "The Lost Symbol" last year. The long 6 year wait sparked excited anticipation from his fans, making it sell more than one million copies (hardcovers and e-books) on its very first day out. It was only now that I was able to borrow a copy (thank you Lei) and finally sat down to read what is considered the fastest-selling adult novel in history. So, how was it?
"The Lost Symbol" brings the "Da Vinci Code" adventure and Robert Langdon to Washington DC. A prominent historian and philanthropist, Peter Solomon, invites Langdon to the US capital to lecture at a grand event as a last minute pinch-hitter. However, when Langdon gets there, it seems that Mr. Solomon may have probably been kidnapped and maimed by a madman. For Langdon to get his friend back alive, he needs to solve the secret riddles hidden in an old stone pyramid model and its golden capstone, in order to lead the villain towards the Treasure. Throughout, this basic plot is thickened and confounded by involvement of the Masons, the CIA and Noetic Science.
All said, "The Lost Symbol" is really a page-turner. The style of Dan Brown in creating suspense by prolonging the descriptions of what were just simple events with elaborate build-up is certainly very familiar, and frankly, made me turn the pages faster. The storytelling is not organized in a linear fashion, as events were admixed wtih flashbacks, which can make you make a double-take at times. I enjoyed most the trivia about the Freemasonry and numerology (especially about the number 33) that are generously sprinkled among the text.
I thought the title was a pretty lame and uninteresting one, when compared to his previous four books. The detailed background of arch-villain Malakh was too long, repetitive and derivative to be truly interesting. There was a lot of computer-tech speak that went above my head. The race-against-the-clock climactic sequence was exciting, but not to the level of "Angels and Demons." There is an interesting death scene of an important character described, but I found it too contrived, even corny. The ending was too vague, long winded and esoteric to be really convincing.
Overall, "The Lost Symbol" is Dan Brown catering to what his readers are clamoring for--an interesting mix of history and art into a twisty potboiler of an action-mystery story. You can already see the movie version in your mind, while you read the book, as it was written practically like a screenplay. (Although again, "Angels and Demons" was better in this regard.) I do get the feeling though that the Robert Langdon character should already be ready to retire.