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The Lost Symbol (Book Review)

2010 February 16

I thought it couldn’t be done. But I actually managed to read not one, but TWO books in just a matter of weeks. Most recent was The Lost Symbol, the latest from author Dan Brown. The fact that I read this book in less than two weeks’ time should be endorsement enough. But I’ll assume you want a little more info than that.

First, a quick aside, I promise that reviews on this blog will NOT contain spoilers. I love picking up a book I know very little about and I love a good plot twist even more. So rest-assured I will not give away any of the juicy details that are best discovered by the reader.

The Lost Symbol follows the same template that proved so successful for Brown with Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Unlikely fictional hero, Professor Robert Langdon, has been summoned to a familiar, yet enigmatic location — this time Washington, D.C. — to impart his vast knowledge in the area of symbology. Langdon becomes embroiled in a fast-paced adventure, complete with suspenseful chase scenes, a non-romantic female companion, and cliff-hanger chapter endings. Despite the familiar formula, The Lost Symbol is no less a page-turner than Brown’s other bestsellers in the Robert Langdon series.

Langdon is once again the key to deciphering and connecting the dots between clues found in obscure artwork and artifacts, historical sites and mythology. But this time the backdrop to Langdon’s quest and the subject of the book’s conspiratorial overtones is the mysterious and ritualistic world of Freemasonry. To work through decoded riddles, Langdon must indulge the Masonic affinity with the “Ancient Mysteries,” i.e. ancient wisdom that can purportedly endow man with the power of gods, against his better judgment. At stake are the lives of those close to Langdon, widely accepted beliefs about religion and power, and the CIA’s ubiquitous “national security” concerns.

The Lost Symbol jumps right into the storyline and develops its characters bit by bit as it goes, which keeps the book moving forward. The suspense builds to a crescendo and for the most part delivers in the end. I was disappointed at one of the first big reveals, which was plausible, but a bit weak. Then, all was forgiven when a few pages later Brown hit me with a plot twist that I never saw coming.

Brown is a master at weaving together fact and fiction so that one can no longer distinguish the two. I found myself wishing I had a research library — not merely Google — at my disposal after each chapter. But since each chapter left me wanting more, I rarely had time to dwell on my research topics before moving onto the next chapter and more eyebrow-raising science and history. Brown states before even beginning Chapter 1: “FACT:  . . . All rituals, science, artwork and monuments in this novel are real.” And let me tell you, some of the science is out there!

Simply put, The Lost Symbol is a suspenseful page-turner that will especially appeal to science, conspiracy and history buffs. (Full disclosure: I am all three.) I have one word of caution, however, as certain portions of this book contain a level of violence and gruesome detail that I do not recall in Brown’s earlier works and may be difficult for some readers. But if you can get through those squirmy pages, you’re in for a thrilling read.

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The The Lost Symbol (Book Review) by MushBrain, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Terms and conditions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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