The first and (to date) only other Dan Brown novel I have read is The Lost Symbol. I read it right when it came out in hardback for a book club I was in through my sorority alumnae association and I’ve got to admit I was very hesitant to pick it up for a few different reasons…
First, I honestly didn’t think Dan Brown books were “my thing.” I thought they were all science fiction-y, so I just immediately thought I wouldn’t like it.
Second, I worked at Borders (remember book stores?) almost 10 years ago when The DaVinci Code was all the rage and I just grew so tired of hearing about the book all the time and having everyone ask for it when they came in, that I decided right there and then that I would NEVER read it. I know, that’s silly, but I was in my early 20s then so I guess I wanted to just be young and rebellious 🙂
Lastly, all the Dan Brown books I’d seen were about a bajillion pages long and weigh as much as I do, so that was another strike against them.
Once I got over all of those things, I decided to give The Lost Symbol a try when it came to reading for book club. Much to my surprise, I was instantly hooked. The day I started it I took an early flight from San Diego to Miami for a work trip and I read the entire plane ride and even holed myself up in my room in Miami to finish it. I kid you not. I was staying in the most magnificent hotel room I’d ever stayed in at the Mandarin Oriental (it was on its own island!) and for the first day I stayed in my room until I finished the book.
Fast forward 4 1/2 years later, I picked up my second Dan Brown book – Inferno. What I like about this Robert Langdon series is that you get a history lesson as you’re reading. In The Lost Symbol you learn about Freemasons, which was intriguing in and of itself, and in Inferno you learn about the life of poet Dante Alighieri, his most famous literary work Divine Comedy and the incredible influence it has had on art and literature in Italy and beyond.
The book reads like a scavenger hunt through the galleries, churches and landmarks of Florence deciphering text from Divine Comedy and references to it throughout history. In all honesty, it made me want to hop on a plane and re-visit Florence! Then, just when you think who know the characters and where the story is going, everything gets flipped upside down and you don’t know who to trust or what will happen in the end. About three quarters of the way through the book, I did get a bit lost trying to straighten up all of the characters’ old and new stories, but I ended up getting back on track after a little re-reading. The threat of biological terrorism is what Robert and his crew are fighting the clock to beat and the book sparked conversation in my house about the global population, how fast it is increasing and the strain it is putting on the planet.
This book is a thriller to the end and if it pulls you in at the beginning it will be a fairly quick read. The chapters are super short and so once I got to the end of a chapter, I’d want to read another and then another. That’s how I ended up reading until 2am a few nights 🙂 The book is entraining and if you’ve liked the other Robert Langdon books, I think you’ll enjoy this one as well.
I’ve also gotta tell you…right after I finished it I bought Angels and Demons AND The DaVinci Code.
Now I’m off to eat my own words…