Saturday, June 22, 2013

Inferno - by Dan Brown - Robert Langdon is back

4 of 5 Stars

Eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is back, awaking in a hospital bed with no idea of where he is or how he got there.  Diagnosed with retrograde amnesia, a threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a frantic chase across Florence, Italy and beyond to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not save the world from an unthinkable threat.

Sound familiar?  Well, if it does, then chances are pretty good that you've read at least one of the previous three Dan Brown novels to feature Robert Langdon. The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars was the overall feeling that I've already been down down this path more than once.  If this was the first time reading a Robert Langdon novel, I could easily see myself being more generous.   BTW, if you've never read any of the books in the series, it's not necessary to read the other books first.   Inferno, works very well as a stand alone work.

\Within minutes of opening the book I was once again drawn into Robert Langdon's world.  And by the end of chapter two, it was on.  Danger.  Intrigue.  Mystery.  And we're off on an insanely fast adventure to solve the clues and potentially save the world.

With only a few lines from Dante's dark and epic masterpiece, The Inferno, to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artifacts of the Renaissance to find the answers to the puzzle they need to solve.  Due to his retrograde amnesia, Langdom recalls nothing of the last few days which leads to a particularly embarrassing moment when he finds that Dante's death mask is missing from its exhibit.  From the book..."Langdon watched himself on the video as his gloved hand reached out and found the edge of the cabinet door...and then, ever so gently, pulled back until the antique hinge shifted and the door swung slowly open...exposing the Dante death mask.  Langdon watched himself in utter disbelief as he reached into the case, gently gripped the Dante's death mask with both hands and lifted it out."

As I noted at the start of this review, the Robert Langdon stories have become formulaic and somewhat predictable, but let me also say, "Inferno is an incredibly wild ride."  In addition, reading Inferno is a bit like reading a travelogue without the pictures.  Brown goes into great detail on the architecture, the art and the history of the places he visits.  If you had a mind to, you could Google these places and artifacts as you read and get a more complete picture of his journeys.

Here's one for you if you've already read Inferno.  What would be your transhumanist code name.  Mine is FR-2052.

If you're looking for a fun Summer read with lots of twists and very big one at the end, then I'd like to recommend Dan Brown's Inferno.  It's like a full season of 24, frightening on multiple levels.  Frightening in that it could happen and also frightening in that if something like this doesn't happen we could all be doomed anyway.

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