Book review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

By Carly Palmer

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The Lost Symbol is a unique mix of suspenseful action-thriller and a fascinating discussion of connections between ancient and modern science. Photo / Supplied
The Lost Symbol is a unique mix of suspenseful action-thriller and a fascinating discussion of connections between ancient and modern science. Photo / Supplied

In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon again finds himself solving an age-old cryptographic mystery against his will, against the clock and against the odds. In true Dan Brown fashion this book is a unique mix of suspenseful action-thriller and a fascinating discussion of connections between ancient and modern science; the latter is personified in Langdon's new reluctant sidekick, Kathy Solomon, a scientist who finds her discoveries the target of an evil and persistent character named Mal'akh who is the book's bad guy.

Unlike his two previous Langdon novels which were set in Europe and concentrated on religious symbolism and the Catholic church, Dan Brown has chosen to freshen up his narrative by imbuing it with a new location, Washington DC, and spotlighting a new group, the Freemasons.

The Masons needn't have feared Brown's pen: Langdon's character frequently tries to expose the flaws in the arguments of those who claim that the Masons are "freaky", as can be seen in an early quote that was a favourite of mine: "Masons are not a secret society, but a society of secrets." While The Lost Symbol does not continue the story from where The Da Vinci Code finished, there are frequent references to events in both Da Vinci and Angels and Demons and for these reasons it should be appreciated equally by those who have and those who haven't read Brown's previous books.

Fans will appreciate the complicated cryptographic puzzles Dan Brown has created, and the descriptions of the architecture of Washington which may or may not have hidden meanings concealed in plain sight. As with previous Brown books, The Lost Symbol should be approached as an entertaining and easy read rather than a literary masterpiece, but on those terms it is an exciting and enjoyable book.

WHAT YOU'RE IN FOR

Opening sentences from previous Dan Brown books:

The Da Vinci Code
Renowned curator Jacques Sauni re staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

Angels and Demons
Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.

Deception Point
Death, in this forsaken place, could come in countless forms. Geologist Charles Brophy had endured the savage splendour of this terrain for years, and yet nothing could prepare him for a fate as barbarous and unnatural as the one about to befall him.

- NZ Herald

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