WHAT IS IT?
Let’s start with the question every Dan Brown fan wants answered: Is The Lost Symbol as good as The Da Vinci Code? Simply put, yes. Brown has mastered the art of blending nail-biting suspense with random arcana (from pop science to religion), and The Lost Symbol is an enthralling mix. And what a dazzling accomplishment that is, considering that rabid fans and skeptics alike are scrutinizing every word.
The Lost Symbol begins with an ancient ritual, a shadowy enclave, and of course, a secret. Readers know they are in Dan Brown territory when, by the end of the first chapter, a secret within a secret is revealed. To tell too much would ruin the fun of reading this delicious thriller, so you will find no spoilers here. Suffice it to say that as with many series featuring a recurring character, there is a bit of a formula at work (one that fans will love). Again, brilliant Harvard professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a predicament that requires his vast knowledge of symbology and superior problem-solving skills to save the day. The setting, unlike other Robert Langdon novels, is stateside, and in Brown’s hands Washington D.C. is as fascinating as Paris or Vatican City (note to the D.C. tourism board: get your “Lost Symbol” tour in order). And, as with other Dan Brown books, the pace is relentless, the revelations many, and there is an endless parade of intriguing factoids that will make you feel like you are spending the afternoon with Robert Langdon and the guys from Mythbusters.
Nothing is as it seems in a Robert Langdon novel, and The Lost Symbol itself is no exception–a page-turner to be sure, but Brown also challenges his fans to open their minds to new information. Skeptical? Imagine how many other thrillers would spawn millions of Google searches for noetic science, superstring theory, and Apotheosis of Washington. The Lost Symbol is brain candy of the best sort–just make sure to set aside time to enjoy your meal.
Dan Browns new book, The Lost Symbol, reminded me of a parable. A parable is a story embellished with perhaps some grains of reality to convey a broader idea of truth. Dan Brown in his new book, The Lost Symbol, has artfully woven an update of an ancient parable into a modern suspense novel that features prominently the one group that should be most apt to see the connection, the Freemasons. Freemasonry, a fraternity veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, is central to the plot under pinnings, but by its end, merely the back drop by which the modern parable is played out.
Brown, at his finest, is a genius at writing parables. The The Da Vinci Code is a prime example, the telling of the story of the Christ, but not as a divine emanation of God, but rather a mortal man who walked the earth like the rest of us. Browns novel was a work of fiction then, just as it is now with his release of the The Lost Symbol. But artfully, he weaves in elements of reality and fact, so as to set his stage onto which the story unfolds, perhaps to give it a greater link into reality, or to simply paint enough real figures into the work so the less (or not real) elements blend in to diffuse with the rest. The more believable the story, the more real it feels for the reader.
In his latest book, The Lost Symbol, Brown brings the story immediately to your feet, sweeping the reader into the air with anti-hero Robert Langdon. These first steps, however are only after a mysterious initiation with libations from a skull. Better to start the mysterious early. With this rapid start, and dubious ceremony, Brown wastes no time in introducing the cast of players and introducing suspicions of who is and who isnt to be trusted. It works for Browns novels; they are after all suspense thrillers. With our cast in place, the story then begins to unfold at whip shot pace.
“The Lost Symbol” is not the first thriller to weave the Masons into a plot – Brown did so in “Angels & Demons” and Brad Meltzer has Masonic references in “Book of Fate.” But Brown was clever nonetheless in choosing the Masonic Order to center his book. It’s a fraternal society steeped in history, mystery and ritual, one that has claimed as members some of history’s most influential men: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Mozart and Teddy Roosevelt, among others.
Brown charges to the end of the tale at a breathless pace that only crawls when he feeds us too much Masonic history or tries to seduce us to the mysteries of noetics. The ending does not startle: It’s almost predictable. But the journey is very cool.
RELEASE DATE: September 15th, 2009