Author: Dan Brown
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces ... Dante's Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust ... before the world is irrevocably altered.
Review: Since it's been a few years since I read The Lost Symbol and even longer since I read Angel & Demons, I was a little concerned that it would be hard for me to get into this book. Would I remember what happened before? Would it even matter? Luckily though, it didn't matter, and I was able to dive directly into this story without missing any really major background information. So if you're worried about not remembering anything about Robert Langdon's past adventures, worry no more!
From what I do remember though, this story takes a much different approach than the past Langdon books. Before, there were symbols and a secret society and art and history and they all were a part of some large scheme. Here though, Dante's Inferno is the main work that the story is centered around, and it has a huge influence on the plot and the characters. "Inferno" takes on so many different meanings, and it was really exciting to be along for the ride while Langdon figures out what all of the hints are supposed to mean and how they connect.
I really enjoyed all of the subtle references back to the original text of the Inferno. Whenever something seems to be a happy coincidence, the meanings are so much deeper and so much more entangled than I ever expected. I don't know much about art or history or art history, but I felt like I learned quite a bit about all of the pieces, places, and works mentioned. I mean, I know interpretations and such have been tweaked for a fictional purposes, but (as always) the artwork and literature pieces and everything all exist in real life. But, at the same time, I didn't feel like I was reading a textbook with a little bit of fiction. The plot moves along quickly and has so many twists and turns that I was always kept on my toes.
Seeing Langdon again felt like being reunited with an old friend, and Brown does an excellent job of keeping him fairly consistent throughout the books. He knows his art, history, symbols, etc. and happens to have contacts all over the world to fill in the blanks for him (so pretty much like the other books). We also get to meet a whole new cast of supporting characters, and each one of them is portrayed in such a way that nothing is ever as it seems, but you feel like you know them all very well (does that even make sense?). I think that you can figure out what is going on with all of the characters if you really try, but if you just sit back and enjoy the story, you'll definitely be in for some surprises.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Dan Brown or enjoyed the other Robert Langdon books. Or, if you haven't been introduced to this world yet, if you njoy a fast-paced, save-the-world mystery with all sorts of historical places, art, symbols, people, and references, you would definitely enjoy this book. And, you can even start with this one if you haven't read the other three! You won't miss out on anything, and Brown will supply any relevant information you need throughout the book. A 4/5 on this one!