The 3 Musts of a Dan Brown Novel
There are three things I always expect from Dan Brown:
1) A controversial premise;
2) Descriptions that make me run to Google;
3) A thrilling plot line that catapults me through to the end.
Inferno delivers on all three, and then some. Add to the mix a mysterious, beautiful woman who was a child prodigy; an evil genius; and Langdon’s missing memories, and you have an even greater thrill ride in front of you!
Inferno is the first of Brown’s books to center on literature: Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, which consists of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Don’t worry – there is still plenty of history, art, and symbology to be had, set in amazing locales such as Florence, Venice, and Instanbul.
At the opening of the book, our intrepid hero, Robert Langdon (who has the most exciting yet scary life of any professor!), finds himself in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. After a look out the window, he discovers that he is in Florence. His prized Mickey Mouse watch, which he had been wearing for nearly four decades, is gone. He has no idea what is going on, but he has visions of a veiled woman with long, gray hair surrounded by writhing bodies, whispering, “Seek. And ye shall find.” And then a woman comes shooting her way through the hospital toward him. And so it begins …
Langdon soon finds himself on a path to find something planted by a famous biochemist, that something possibly a kind of plague. The evil genius who planted it (he truly is a world-renowned biochemical engineer, a genius) believes that the world is on the brink of collapse due to the staggering population of humans, and he has a plan to put an end to the growth. (Controversial premise? Check!) As one of the characters in the book says, “Nothing is more creative … nor destructive … than a brilliant mind with a purpose.”
I ran to Google many times to find photos of the pieces of history and cities that Langdon encounters and talks about: Dante’s death mask, plague masks, St. Mark’s clock tower. The list goes on and on.
If you’re looking for a great summer read filled with thrills, a little history, and a little culture, I highly recommend Inferno; you won’t be disappointed. Now, to tackle The Divine Comedy (perhaps a winter project?!).