As the cover says, The Lost Symbol is written by Dan Brown (author of The DaVinci Code). Many people believe this is Brown’s third book overall, but in fact it’s merely the 3rd book in the “Robert Langdon Trilogy” (it’s actually Brown’s 5th novel).
NOTE: This review will contain spoilers.
Like The DaVinci Code and it’s predecessor Angels & Demons, this book follows Dr. Robert Langdon as he goes on a treasure hunt. Set in Washington, D.C. and dealing with Freemasonry, The Lost Symbol is an outstanding follow up to Code. Langdon gets an early morning phone call summoning him to Washington for a last minute speaking engagement on behalf of an old friend. When he gets there, Langdon quickly realizes that he’s been set up and there is no speech to be made. In reality, Langdon must use all of his training and cunning to save his friend’s life while solving the riddles that have been put before him.
The villain in all of this is the tattooed Mal’akh who has an obvious obsession with Langdon’s friend Peter Solomon who happens to be a 33rd degree Mason with access to all of the Mason’s most guarded secrets – including The Lost Word. Mal’akh has kidnapped Solomon and will kill him unless Langdon follows the clues that the Masons have left throughout history. In addition to the Mason’s clues, Mal’akh proves to be a brutal advisory that Langdon must outwit while trying to elude the CIA who’s also on the case.
This is not an “easy” read by any stretch of the imagination. Brown’s got some sentences that seem to run on forever and the stuff that he’s talking about while fascinating can be confusing at times. Brown does an amazing job of describing not only the character of Mal’akh but also the brutality that he emits. I couldn’t help but thinking of the “Dragon” character from The Red Dragon when thinking about Mal’akh. The tattoos are an obvious correlation, but the mentality of the character is what really got me. He really thinks that what he’s doing is completely justified.
You can tell when a book is well written when you continue thinking about it long after you put it down. There was one chapter in particular that really got me – the drowning. The way it is described is stunning and really had me on edge after I closed the book. Pure brilliance.
I don’t think this is Brown’s best Langdon novel (that title lies with Angels & Demons) but it’s definitely worth the read. Brown has an uncanny knack of keeping you guessing till quite literally the final page. With the success of the previous books and movies you can pretty much guarantee that Tom Hanks will play Robert Langdon once again.