Mystery and Controversy

Dan Brown’s new thriller, The Lost Symbol, has been highly anticipated and cloaked in mystery. Although fans suspected that the book would be set in the nation’s capital and be about the Freemasons, nothing was truly confirmed until the book was released.

The Lost Symbol is the third book in the Robert Langdon series. Written in the same style as The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Brown’s newest book continues to enthrall readers. It is a captivating page-turner-the short chapters flip between multiple characters and plot lines that finally culminate into an unexpected climax.

This book contains just as much controversy as the previous two. Brown tries to unite religion, science, and philosophy all into one. He even comments on the
controversy of his books when he has a character say that Langdon’s adventures in The Da Vinci Code caused such a “scandal.” The Lost Symbol is certainly no different. It raises many questions about the Freemasons, the U.S. Government, and noetic science.

The book begins with Robert Langdon being whisked off to make a speech in Washington D.C. as a favor to an old friend and mentor, Peter Solomon. Langdon quickly finds out that he was duped and that Solomon has been kidnapped. The only way to save Solomon is to play the game that a psychotic villain, Mal’akh, has created.

Luckily, Langdon receives help from Solomon’s sister, Katherine, a noetic scientist, as well as from some high-ranking members of the Masonry. Katherine works as a good female foil to Langdon. Her intellect often surpasses Langdon’s and she is able to decipher some of the clues. This way, the reader does not always have to go through Langdon’s thinking process.

Although the new villain is not an albino who practices an extreme form of religion, Mal’akh does have some cult-like characteristics. He is described as a monster covered in tattoos and hyped up on steroids. While the other antagonists cloaked themselves in religion, Mal’akh is more like a comic book villain who is just plain evil.

Within the first few chapters, the kidnapping turns into a matter of national security and the CIA steps in. Once again, Langdon is fleeing from the authority figures because he cannot figure out if they are good or evil. At least in this book Brown does a better job masking the CIA’s true alliance. This helps sell the conspiracy theories about the U.S. government agencies, which appear as a subplot in the book.

The Lost Symbol has many twists and turns that are unpredictable, not because Brown cleverly masks things, but because he never really foreshadows anything.

Throughout the whole book, Brown only reveals things through cryptic codes and only after Robert Langdon processes all the information. At some points it becomes frustrating since each symbol has at least twenty different meanings.

Brown does an amazing job describing some of the nation’s most respected places. He goes into descriptive detail and uses vivid imagery so that the reader can actually imagine sitting in the Library of Congress watching the events unfold.

The Lost Symbol is a great book to read in order to pass the time. Once again, Dan Brown manages to connect some of the world’s most powerful men under one secret society. One does not even have to read the previous two books because Brown only references them briefly, and those stories are not crucial to this plotline. The 500 pages seem to fly by as the protagonist is faced with dangerous and mysterious obstacles.