Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Lost Symbol

I finished reading Dan Brown's new book The Lost Symbol. Although it is been a while, I read all four of his other books. I have three general observations about The Lost Symbol.

First, having read all 22 of John Grisham's books over the years, one of the things that I felt about Grisham's legal fiction was that it become more and more like movie treatments rather than novels. The Lost Symbol seems to suffer from the same problem. The book reads like it was written to be made into a movie. The book's prose does not seem as rich as Angels and Demons.

Second, Brown's first three novels all wove science into the storyline: palaeontology in Deception Point, computers in Digital Fortess and anti-matter in Angels and Demons. After moving away from this plot vehicle in The Da Vinci Code, Brown brings it back in The Lost Symbol by introducing the subject of noetics. I don't think that he did a very good job integrating the subject into the novel. I kept expecting him to use as a plot point, but he never really does. I am not completely sure, but it also seems like there is one chapter of the book where they go off on a tangent and talk a little about Katherine's research that is straight out of one of Robert Sawyer's novels.

Finally, one of my criticisms of Dan Brown's first book Deception Point was there were just too many outlandish plot twists. I think that The Lost Symbol suffers a little from this same problem. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons seem to do a better job of moving the story along without it seeming quite so over the top.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book as mindless entertainment. It definitely peaked my interest to get back to Washington D.C. and see the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and the Masonic Temple. It is not a good as Angels and Demons or even The Da Vinci Code. Although I usually don't rate books this way, I would give it three of five stars.

It will be interesting to see where Dan Brown's career as an author goes from here. The Da Vinci code was published in March of 2003. Will it take him 6 1/2 years to publish another so so book?

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