It’s been four years since Dan Brown, wildly successful author of The DaVinci Code, came out with his last book. The Lost Symbol is being made into the third Robert Langdon film starring Tom Hanks, according to IMDb. After reading this one, I’m thinking they should call it good with the trilogy and not attempt to make Inferno number four. I was hoping that since it took Brown four years to write Inferno that it must be good. Now it’s looking like it may have taken him four years because he’s run out of good ideas.
The book opens with our intrepid Professor Langdon waking up in a hospital, attended by a pretty female doctor, and suffering from amnesia. Yes, I said amnesia (did I go to sleep while reading this and have a bad dream about a soap opera)? Anyway, he finds that everyone’s speaking Italian, which is funny considering he thinks he’s still back in Massachusetts. He’s having frightening visions of a woman with long, silver hair telling him to “seek and find,” and there’s an odd item sewn into his jacket. Langdon discovers it’s a kind of projector, which when shaken produces an image of Botticelli’s drawing of Dante’s Inferno, his vivid description of Hell. Langdon discovers that this version of the drawing, however, has been revised.
Just when Langdon thinks his biggest problems are figuring out these visions, what Inferno has to do with anything, and getting back two days’ worth of his memory, a woman dressed in black with spiked hair bursts into his hospital room with a silenced pistol and starts shooting.
It’s always the ones in black with spiked hair you have to watch out for, you know? Or maybe the chick from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo wandered into the story.
Having missed being shot somehow, Langdon and the female doctor, Sienna Brooks, start running, ending up at her apartment. (Yes, another woman on the run with our Professor Langdon). Once there, Langdon calls the American embassy for help, but instead of being rescued a van full of guys dressed in black with a small arsenal show up. Oops.
Time to get on the road again. Oddly, this is where the book slows down some, as it seems to take them forever to elude everybody following them with guns. This part of the book could have been tightened up quite a bit to get the action moving again.
All Langdon and Brooks have to go on is the projected image, so off they go to follow the trail of clues. All the while Langdon gives the reader lessons in history, art, literature and iconography. One thing that is interesting about Dan Brown’s books is how you’ll find yourself Google’ing a painting, or a statue, or a building, just because you want to be able to see what Langdon is talking about. A Dan Brown book is an education and entertainment all rolled into one.