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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The Lost Symbol

The new book from Dan Brown has hit the Bookazine shelves and is being hailed as a best seller, even before the cash register rings. Dan Brown has that kind of ‘pull’ these days. And he needs a big pull, when the book is hardcover and has an RRP of B. 895. It has also been quoted that the publishers initial print run has been around six million copies.
The Lost Symbol (ISBN 978-0-385-50422-5, Doubleday, 2009) again introduces Brown’s main character Robert Langdon, the university symbologist who is led a merry chase by forces of evil, masquerading behind ancient organizations and secret societies.
This has been the formula for success for Dan Brown, as these organizations, such as splinter groups from the Catholic Church, are already looked upon with suspicion by the laity. On an unnumbered page before the prologue Brown has “FACT. All organizations in this novel exist, including the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real.”
Part of Dan Brown’s empathy with the reader is his ability to include the reader in the story. All detail, even down to the mundane, is given. Nobody just ‘parks their car’, but they would ‘drive the white Volvo into the usual parking space, listening to the crunch of the gravel beneath the tyres’.
This book deals with the mysticism surrounding the Freemasons, and although it would appear that Dan Brown is letting a pile of cats out of the bag, in actual fact, much is in the public domain, such as even the Freemason’s pyramid.
So much information is given to the reader, information which appears fantastic or science fiction, but as you trawl through your favorite search engine, it all has the hallmarks of truth, even oxygenated perfluorocarbon liquid. Yes, it exists.
The pace quickens as you get towards the end of the book, with some terrifying twists and turns. The inside of the jacket cover states that this is Dan Brown’s most thrilling novel yet, and it probably is. Until the next one.
Interestingly, Dan Brown’s first book of this genre was Angels and Demons (released in 2000) and the second was The Da Vinci Code (2003), but it was The Da Vinci Code which really took off, in turn spurring the sales of Angels and Demons. Lost Symbol is a worthy successor.
If I were to venture some criticisms, it is in the depth of historical detail which slows the pace of the book. The encyclopedic mind of Robert Langdon can drag on a little too far at times. The plot also follows a very similar direction to his other books, with ancients being involved in convoluted plots, each piece hanging on another and there are some leaps of faith.
However, it is one great read and at B. 895, this book is too good to wait for the cheaper paperback next year. It is a book that will stand the test of time, and one you should keep for your children to enjoy as well.