Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object-artfully encoded with five symbols-is discovered in the Capital Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.
When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon-a prominent Mason and philanthropist-is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations-all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.
The last thing I read before I put the book down was the critic blurbs on the back cover. After reading all of them, including this one from the Library Journal "This masterpiece should be mandatory reading. Brown solidifies his reputation as one of the most skilled thriller writers on the planet.", I was left with one rather large question. Did they just read the same book?
Now I'm not saying I didn't like the book, because I did. I found it to be a fast paced, heart pounding romp through our nations' capitol. It's a fun, entertaining read that I'm sure millions are devouring within one or two sittings like I did. That's it though, the book isn't life changing or so brilliantly written that everyone should be required to read it in school rooms.
What I like the most about the book is Robert Langdon, who since The Da Vinci Code, reminds me of a sexless Indiana Jones. A middle aged action hero for the masses, one that appeals to both men and women. He is a fantastic character and I applaud Dan Brown for dreaming him up. he is a welcome addition to the action/thriller genre and I'm glad I've been able to get to know him over three books.
I do have one slight problem with the book and one problem that was a little more serious for me. The first was how much googling I had to do to understand every little fact and nuance in the book. I'm used to that with Dan Brown books, I had to do the same thing with The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Between searches for all the symbols, buildings, and religious references along with all the reading I did on Noetic Science I spent almost as much time online as I did reading the book. I shouldn't blame Dan Brown for this though, I'm like this anytime I read a book that mentions something I'm not already familiar with.
The larger issue for me was how easy and predictable the identity of the villain is. The dust jacket makes Mal'akh sound like the most dangerous foe ever encountered in a thriller, I found him to be a tedious and egotistical brat who's motives really aren't ever explained. Figuring out who he really is, wasn't that hard to do. Figuring out why he takes the horrific actions he does is a little bit harder to pinpoint. The explanations in the book just don't make sense to me. A lot of us have had serious issues with our parents, but I don't know any that go to this length for a sense of revenge that really doesn't make sense. If there is a flaw in the book, it is here.
The other normal issues exist as well; a plot that depends on a lot of coincidences and conjecture, a cast of characters that could be put into any other thriller and feel right at home, and the occasional dialogue that sounds like it's coming out of a encyclopedia or dictionary.
With all that being said, I would still recommend this to anyone who wants a thrilling romp full of action and intrigue.