Latest, — September 28, 2009 9:45 — 0 Comments

Lost Symbol: Dan Brown

Unlike the author named above or his subject matter, I make no claim to saving the world or civilization as we know it: no, just your money and your precious time. 

Do not purchase this dreadful book!


I admit to having read and hugely enjoyed that ridiculous caper Da Vinci Code :  I couldn’t wait to gobble up more, starting with Angels & Demons and moving on to Digital Fortress and Deception Point. However after the first named, all Brown thrillers leave a sour aftertaste – a feeling of a promising working plot ruined. 

Admittedly even with the first two (Da Vinci and Angels & Demons) I found it difficult to suspend
all faith and knowledge, in order to accept that the Christian Church and its highest clerics were involved, not just in criminal conspiracies but in murder and worse : or that alien life had been discovered on earth (Deception Point): but this time we’re expected to accept that the Freemasons are a benevolent group charged (by whom?) with the safekeeping of Sacred Mysteries.    (Brown capitalizes ad nauseum).  And that – and this is the work’s final denouement – the ‘Lost Word’ is none other than the Christian Bible, a copy of which was buried in the cornerstone of the Washington Monument (or was it the Capitol Building? Or both? Or does it matter? ).

Let me be clear at once : there is no ‘Lost Symbol’ – the title of this work.   There is not even a search for such thing.   I don’t even recall the phrase – ‘the lost symbol’ – being mentioned!  There is some reference to a fabled huge underground repository holding  ‘The Ancient Secrets of the Ages ‘ in hundreds of thousands of tomes, but this doesn’t materialise and the very concept is eventually left hanging … or, are we meant to assume that the Christian Bible contains so many layers of meaning that it fulfils exactly that role?  I think that’s what is implied as a penultimate twist!

This latest novel is just ludicrous from beginning to end.  This ‘thriller’ is NOT, like its predecessors, a ‘page-turner’.  Its first 200 pages drag.  Then when Brown literally ‘cuts to the chase’ [his speciality is high-speed drama] it becomes absorbing for about 150 pages.  Then inevitably the work founders on its ridiculous main story-line and many equally silly sub-plots. 

Eventually and mercifully the book simply peters out without conclusion.

Except that I intended to write this review I would have halted as soon as I learned that the twin heroes – an ageing but sage, highly-qualified brother (Peter – as in ‘rock’, geddit?) and sister, bore the moniker … wait for it … Solomon, while the villain was called … I kid you not … Abaddon.    It gets worse!

Our omnipresent Robert Langdon is a professor of Symbology (no such nonsense chair exists in any University) while his love-interest (well, only just: no sex, no kissing, no spice of any kind)  Katherine Solomon has invented the new ‘science’ of Noetics (a fantasy marriage of modern science with religion). 

Conclusion?  Having seriously eroded people’s faith in his previous offerings Brown has decided on a total volte-face and presents faith as the new salvation of the world. 

Thoughts have ‘mass’ {Katherine has proved this conclusively, irrefutably and  scientifically} and therefore exert a gravitational force and so can effect changes in the physical world.  The ‘soul’ can be (indeed HAS been) weighed in Katherine’s laboratory (her Kg measurement is given correct to 6 decimal places!)  There is irrefutable scientific proof (Brown is hooked on hyperbole, superlatives surging from his pen like an incoming tide and freely and frequently resorts to italics to further  underline his serious intent) that the collective power of thought and prayer (whose real physical force increases exponentially with the numbers of people participating) can – AND WILL  – effect great changes for the better in our world in the near future. 

I can’t help but wonder whether Dan Brown has received bad news about his health and is trying to make his peace with the Great Architect of the Universe.  I can hypothesise no other explanation for this waffle.

I could go on in this vein ad nauseum (he loves Latin And Greek expressions) but you get the point.

Don’t get the book, though!

 

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