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The Lost Symbol: Book Review

Author Dan Brown of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” has done it again. In his latest installment of the series based on the adventures of Harvard Professor Robert Langdon, Brown has once again proven his worth among best selling thrill writers. The book is called “The Lost Symbol” and the story is more exciting and filled with more twists and turns than ever before.

“The Lost Symbol” demonstrates Dan Brown’s master story telling by taking the reader into a deadly race in a real-life maze of secret codes and unseen truths all under the mastermind of Brown’s most horrifying villain yet. Taking place within the hidden chambers and tunnels of legend in Washington D.C., the book takes the reader through an adventure full of suspense and emotion, ending with an unbelievable finale.

When the book begins, Langdon is unexpectedly summoned to give a lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Shortly after his arrival, the evening takes a very unusual turn. The bizarre events begin with a disturbing object found in the Capitol’s rotunda bearing five mysterious symbols.

Langdon deciphers the object as an ancient invitation, one that is meant to be accepted and brings the recipient into a world of esoteric wisdom. Langdon later comes to find that his mentor Peter Solomon, a prominent Freemason and philanthropist, has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is to accept this mysterious invitation. Langdon is then thrown head first into a world of Masonic secrets and hidden histories. Along the way, he finds clues and codes that seem to be leading him toward an inconceivable truth.

The style in which Dan Brown writes pulls the reader into a world and an adventure that simply jumps off the pages. The way Brown switches between the different perspectives of different characters allows for a lightning paced thriller that keeps the reader intrigued. At the same time, the alternating of perspectives was rather frustrating. When the story got to a point where it was extremely thrilling, the chapter ends and another begins with a different character’s perspective. This, I suppose, allows for the adrenaline raising suspense throughout.

Brown also has a certain way with words that allows the readers to experience the emotional roller coaster that each character rides throughout the book. A character never stumbles into darkness, but inky darkness and never listens in shock, but must listen in utter shock.

Another thing that makes this book fascinating and enjoyable, is that unlike “Code” and “Angels,” it takes place on home soil and deals well known American mystery of Freemasonry. It shows that America is just as mysterious as other countries. However, it is hard to imagine that anyone, after reading “The Lost Symbol” getting fired up about Freemasonry in Washington D.C. the way people did after Dan Brown’s radical vision of Mary Magdalene and Jesus in “The Da Vinci Code” or the mystery of the Path of Illumination in “Angels and Demons.” Those books, especially “Code” stirred the public for obvious reasons; “The Lost Symbol” is more like a roller coaster that is thrilling and adrenaline-pumping but then it is over.

There are unfortunately two small complaints that I have for this book. Dan Brown seems to have a guilty pleasure with the use of italics. It seems that more often than one would like, the story’s dialogue take place in the head of the character. This is where the use of italics gets out of hand.

Some may enjoy the use of inner-mind dialogue in books, but I am not a fan. In some cases it is necessary, I will agree, but in “The Lost Symbol” it is used slightly too often. Another complaint that I had for the book was that Brown has a tendency to make characters sound like encyclopedias when they are in a situation in which they need to explain something or give information to another character. I did not mind this in some instances (such as one in which Professor Langdon is addressing his students), but in others it was rather dull. Despite these two negative points, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was intrigued and on edge the entire way through.

If you are a fan of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” then this is the book that you have been waiting for. As with Dan Brown’s previous installments, this novel is a brilliant combination of veiled histories, arcane symbols and enigmatic codes.