Series: Robert Langdon #3
Pub date: Sep 2009
Source: Personal copy
I love a good conspiracy theory, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed Dan Brown’s previous bestsellers – Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code was the subject of a lot of controversy – not only with the Church and devout Catholics, but also with literary critics. Many critics and authors have criticised Dan Brown’s ham-fisted writing style and his interpretation of history and use of symbolism to fit his plot. While that may be true, many of the historical references resound with me – especially due to my interest in Old Religion, Wicca and the Sacred Feminine. So I freely admit that I enjoyed these books for all these reasons. But the furore had become too much so I took a bit of a break before going back for the last book in the Robert Langdon series.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon gets an urgent summons from his mentor and friend Peter Solomon to deliver a lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Once he gets there, however, he realises Peter was not the one who asked him to come. The adventure then starts when Langdon comes across a bizarre object inside the Capitol Building. Langdon soon recognises the object as an ancient symbol of invitation. Langdon’s only hope of saving Peter Solomon from his cruel kidnapper is to accept the invitation and solve the puzzle. This takes him into the secret world of ancient symbols, Masonic clues and breathless adventure in Washington DC.
The formula, characters and style that we have become used to are evident in this book as well. There is the scientific angle that meshes with the symbolism and arcane history.
The adventure is fast-paced, full of twists and turns, like a complicated treasure hunt. Langdon teams up with Peter’s sister Katherine (a Noetic scientist) to solve age-old puzzles and riddles and races to save Peter Solomon, who is Langdon’s mentor and father figure.
Brown deals with the Templar Knights and the Catholic Church in the other two books, here it is the secrets of the Freemasons that is at stake. This secretive society has been the subject of many books, movies and documentaries.
I’ve been intrigued by the supposed rituals and secrets of the society, but from what I can tell – it is just a society that does anonymous charity work and is a good place to network. There is no doubt that it is secretive – my grandfather was a Freemason and would refuse to talk to me about what that meant and what he did at his meetings. The society as it was initially set up might have had more ritualistic components, but I don’t know if that is still the case today the world over. Very interesting, nevertheless.
Quick developments that keep the first half of the book going well slow down in the second half. There is a lot of repetition in dialogue, with the characters going over the same things multiple times. Also some of the plot points like the involvement of the CIA did not sit well with me.
That said, Brown delivers his usual high energy mystery connecting it to possible secrets and events from many years ago.
I read the new illustrated version of the book which had images of the national monuments, old paintings and symbols that were part of the story. I did read it on my Kindle though, so I didn’t get to enjoy the color in the reproductions.
Easy quick read, great for long flights or train journeys.
Read to complete the Robert Langdon series and to get some insight into the world of Freemasons.
Definitely an interesting read for me, but the trite plot might be disappointing for many others.
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