The Lost Symbol

Book Reviews | Nov 9th, 2009

Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 528 pages
Retail Price: $16.47
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In this follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon takes a last minute trip to Washington DC to give a speech as a favor to a prominent Mason and his beloved mentor Peter Solomon. Langdon’s purpose in DC immediately changes when a terrifying object turns up on the floor of the Capitol Building. When Langdon takes a closer look he recognizes the object as an ancient invitation. The story then turns into an intense quest to find Peter Solomon, but first Langdon must face the agenda of his most unusual villain to date.

In his quest, Langdon and Katherine Solomon must decode an ancient Masonic pyramid that is said to house the secrets of the Ancient Mysteries. In exchange for this information, Peter Solomon will be released by his captor… but not without a few dozen twists in between.

I felt The Lost Symbol was a better than average book, but compared with the plot in The Da Vinci Code this book falls a little short. One of the best things about reading a Dan Brown novel is the short chapters. Short chapters move a book along nicely, especially if you read before bed like I do; you won’t fall asleep mid-chapter. However, even with short chapters the events in this novel tend to drag until about 100 pages in.

Another issue I have with this novel is that for two supposedly intelligent individuals like Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon, a lot seemed to slip passed them. For instance, everyone knows a real Psychologist couldn’t share patient confidential information with anyone. Yet Katherine Solomon, a Noetic Scientist falls right into this trap. This might seem a bit picky, but poor judgment like this made by intelligent characters is a bit weak.

Even with the few things that made me cringe, this was a pretty decent book. I love how Dan Brown’s books have historical references. Even if a lot is made up, it’s interesting to switch perspectives. I also enjoy how he includes some little details about the characters. For instance, when Langdon gets ready for each day he hand grinds his coffee beans. I love when authors will reveal these nuances about a character because it really draws you in… You can hear him grinding the coffee beans, you can smell it, and you know he must still be tired.

I also like that the time frame this book takes place in is only about 24 hours. I was exhausted knowing that they were up the whole night running around Washington DC. When Langdon falls asleep at the end of his long night I completely felt his relief. I definitely wanted to book a trip to DC after reading this.


My favorite part of the book was when Langdon and Katherine are in Mal’Ak’s home. This is when the story turns from a mystery to a thriller. The best writing in the entire book is when Langdon is drowning in a concealed tank while forced to decode the pyramid. If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of drowning, your pulse will definitely quicken at this scene in the story.

All in all, even though I don’t think this is the best Dan Brown novel, it wasn’t terrible either. It’s really descriptive and the story is interesting, especially if you’re interested in history or religion.

Bottom Line: Not Dan Brown’s best novel but still an entertaining read.
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