Dan Brown is best known for The Da Vinci Code. Of course, after loving the fast-action code-breaking of Da Vinci, I started reading other Dan Brown books. The Lost Symbol grabbed my attention because it’s about Freemasons, and I’m already interested in them.
Like all Dan Brown novels, The Lost Symbol certainly shouldn’t be taken as historical fact; but Brown does his research well enough to still tell an excellent story that’s mostly based on truth, with just enough fiction to spin it all wildly out of control. Having said that, I’m starting to see through his edge-of-your-seat writing to the tried-and-true formulas that he always seems to use:
- The first scene will be gripping and morbid. Probably a death and subsequent disfigurement. Although in this one, it’s just death threats.
- The next scene is usually the one introducing Robert Langdon, who is in his forties but still in excellent shape due to swimming laps. Emphasis is placed on how in-shape he is for his age. Also, women desire him, but he’s not really sure why.
- In a few scenes, we’ll introduce the villain. He is naked. The reason he is naked is so Brown can describe how toned and intimidating his body is; nobody else (besides the reader) is present. The villain (a man) is also naked because he is somehow obsessed with his body, and paying special attention to it. In this case, reveling in weird tattoos.
- Now for the female interest: mousy science nerd who is still irresistibly attractive. She is also not aware of how attractive she is. She is conveniently single, and Langdon’s age. At some point during this first introduction, Brown will describe her skin as “Mediterranean.”
I could go on, but I won’t. The main thing is, Brown is predictable. If you don’t like his writing style, you don’t need to bother reading any more; they’re all pretty much the same. The good news is, if you like his writing style, you’re probably going to like everything he writes. The Lost Symbol actually did surprise me a few times, it delivered all the action and suspense I wanted, and told me a great deal about American history and Freemasonry that I didn’t know (and should probably fact-check.) At any rate, it piqued my interest.
If you like action movies/books, this is a great one. If you want high literature, you should read something else. But this book is an excellent ride.