The Lost Symbol

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Overview

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world?s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling that finds famed symbologist Robert Langdon in a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown?s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an ...

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Overview

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling that finds famed symbologist Robert Langdon in a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn.  This is Dan Brown’s most exciting novel yet.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Dan Brown's first novel since his mega-bestseller 2003 The DaVinci Code now arrives in mass-market paperback. The Lost Symbol propels Robert Langdon on a wild twelve-hour race through Washington D.C. on an urgent search for keys to the secrets of freemasonry, the Founding Fathers, and psychokinesis.

From the Publisher
“Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead . . . His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica . . . amazing imagery . . . and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down.  Splendid. . . . Another mind-blowing Robert Langdon story.” —New York Times

“Thrilling in the extreme, a definite page-flipper.” —Daily News (New York)

“Call it Brownian motion: a comet-tail ride of beautifully spaced reveals and a socko unveiling of the killer’s true identity.” —Washington Post

“The wait is over.  The Lost Symbol is here—and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it . . . .Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a roller coaster.” —Los Angeles Times

“Robert Langdon remains a terrific hero, a bookish intellectual who’s cool in a crisis and quick on his feet . . . .The codes are intriguing, the settings present often-seen locales in a fresh light, and Brown keeps the pages turning.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“A fascinating pleasure. . . . Upends our usual assumptions about the world we think we know.” —Newsweek
 
“A roaring ride. . . . A caper filled with puzzles, grids, symbols, pyramids and a secret that can bestow ‘unfathomable power.’” —San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Dan Brown is a master of the breathless, puzzle-driven thriller.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

Janet Maslin
Within this book's hermetically sealed universe, characters' motivations don't really have to make sense; they just have to generate the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down…The Lost Symbol manages to take a twisting, turning route through many such aspects of the occult even as it heads for a final secret that is surprising for a strange reason: It's unsurprising. It also amounts to an affirmation of faith. In the end it is Mr. Brown's sweet optimism, even more than Langdon's sleuthing and explicating, that may amaze his readers most.
—The New York Times
Louis Bayard
Writers envious of Brown's sales (who wouldn't be?) have devoted much ink to his deficiencies as a stylist. These are still in place…So is Brown's habit of turning characters into docents. But so, too, is his knack for packing huge amounts of information…into an ever-accelerating narrative. Call it Brownian motion: a comet-tail ride of short paragraphs, short chapters, beautifully spaced reveals and, in the case of The Lost Symbol, a socko unveiling of the killer's true identity.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

After scores of Da Vinci Code knockoffs, spinoffs, copies and caricatures, Brown has had the stroke of brilliance to set his breakneck new thriller not in some far-off exotic locale, but right here in our own backyard. Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter's severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages. A villain known as Mal'akh, a steroid-swollen, fantastically tattooed, muscle-bodied madman, wants to locate the wisdom so he can rule the world. Mal'akh has captured Peter and promises to kill him if Langdon doesn't agree to help find the portal. Joining Langdon in his search is Peter's younger sister, Kathleen, who has been conducting experiments in a secret museum. This is just the kickoff for a deadly chase that careens back and forth, across, above and below the nation's capital, darting from revelation to revelation, pausing only to explain some piece of wondrous, historical esoterica. Jealous thriller writerswill despair, doubters and nay-sayers will be proved wrong, and readers will rejoice: Dan Brown has done it again.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The Barnes & Noble Review
First, a confession: I liked The Da Vinci Code. This news is even more of a surprise to me than it might be to those who, years ago, heard me quip that I quit reading it because "the moment the albino assassin came through the door, I left." The novel's clunky opening sentence ("Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the archway of the Grand Gallery") foreshadows Brown's penchant for stilted turns of phrase, and the most loudly proclaimed facts about ancient rites and secret societies are often nothing of the sort, but by now I understand why the fascination of 80 million readers made The Da Vinci Code such a massive phenomenon.

It's not for the expected reasons. Sure, Robert Langdon's love for semiotics and tweed jackets echo those of another professorial type named Jones, but Dan Brown's hero eschews action for more cerebral approaches, leaving what passes for ass-kicking to his beautiful code-breaking sidekick, Sophie Neveu. The emphasis on "the sacred feminine" in tandem with those millennia-old skeletons crawling out of the Catholic Church's closet echo Katherine Neville's 1988 bestseller The Eight, which also played fast and loose with accepted history (even as it made readers feel smarter) and beefed up the girl power. One could also make the argument that Brown has expanded and enhanced the hallowed master plots of Lester Dent (Doc Savage), taking pulp perfection to a bursting extreme. But for me, when I returned to it recently, The Da Vinci Code exhibited strange premonitions of Stieg Larsson's Millennium novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, two books that both emulate and transcend obvious influences.

Brown and Larsson are both better at crafting narrative engines than sentences, and both manage to hook the reader with seemingly unimportant expository dumps and rambling pages of dialogue. What really links these two authors together, however, is the sheer, unadulterated joy that comes through in their thrillers. Clearly, both love what they write and are made giddy by the dual prospects of educating the reader about their pet projects (Brown on how ancient religious rites permeate society, Larsson on the way society abuses and discards women) and finding clever ways to keep the pages turning. Such fervor can't be faked; readers not only smell the false article a mile away, they put up with a lot -- including frequent turns of cliché -- to get to a taste of the real thing.

And there lies the rub of The Lost Symbol, a book six years in the making. Its contents appear to be linked inexorably to the years of hype and expectation that formed the wake of The Da Vinci Code. It can't possibly sell as well as its predecessor -- or can it? More pragmatically, can it sell in sufficient quantities to meet the hopes and bottom line of its publisher, Doubleday (now merged with Knopf) and that of its parent company, Random House? The same conglomerate went through similar hype deflation a decade ago with Thomas Harris's Hannibal, which fans justifiably hated for how Harris turned a menacing villain into a cannibalistic hero, the apparent result of an author falling too hard for his creation. (And the less said about Hannibal Rising, the better.)

No wonder then that the mood at the launch party for The Lost Symbol, held on September 14th in midtown Manhattan's opulent Gotham Hall, was a mix of stately old-world glamour and barely suppressed anxiety, with so many corners of the publishing industry having a vested interest in the book's success. And yet, perversely, as soon as The Lost Symbol blares its opening "FACT" -- about a document locked in the safe of the director of the CIA -- high stakes and impossible expectations are dissipated with the gleeful pop of a balloon.

Let's get right to the bottom line: The Lost Symbol works, albeit with reservations. It works because whatever mental alchemy Dan Brown needed to turn away from the noise and ramp up his creative signal, to stay away from distractions and focus on the story, takes hold with the opening utterance that "the secret is how to die." From the first sentence, we know what we're in for: there's a traitor in the midst of a sequestered society -- this time, as long-rumored, it's the Freemasons -- whose members include the most powerful people in the land, and our villain hungrily searches for the solution to an age-old proof known to few, doubted by many, and scoffed at by far more. Last time out the quest was for the Holy Grail; now it's for The Lost Word, or maybe, as I kept thinking of it as I turned the pages, L'Elisir Pensiero (for the Italian-challenged, that's the "Elixir of Thought.")

Once again, Robert Langdon is Our Man Skeptic. Once again, he's summoned by an early-morning phone call at the behest of someone he trusts, this time his longtime mentor Peter Solomon, who besides his father is "the other man I never want to disappoint." But the Smithsonian bigwig has gone MIA, and the pretext for luring Langdon to the nation's capital -- a last-minute substitution to give a lecture -- gives way to more pressing concerns, like reuniting Masonic pyramids with their capstones, cracking codes that mix multiple eras of semiotics, incurring the ire of larger-than-life CIA directors, and staying out of the way of the aforementioned villain, who has a nasty tendency to make grandiose statements, go to extreme lengths to stay celibate (just like The Da Vinci Code's albino assassin -- what's up with that?), and engage in torture tactics possibly condoned by the previous administration.

The Lost Symbol has much to impart about the mind-body problem as filtered through the work of Peter's younger sister Katherine, who more than dabbles in noetic science, or "leading edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness", according to the website of the real-life Institute for Noetic Science, based in Northern California. "The truth was that Katherine was doing science so advanced that it no longer resembled science," which means that her personality is a bit lacking when she's in the midst of danger -- as she often is -- but brightens up in flashbacks when she explains how a human soul can be weighed ("High-precision microbalance...Resolution down to a few micrograms"), or when she chides Langdon's for his innate skepticism with regard her chosen field: "Is it not possible that we are still living in the Dark Ages, still mocking the suggestion of 'mystical' forces that we cannot see or comprehend? History, if it has taught us anything at all, has taught us that the strange ideas we deride today will one day be our celebrated truths." The psychology is purely of the pop variety, its predilection for positive thinking glossing over the dark groupthink-y side of communal thought. Katherine's statement about how truths are tempered by changing times, however, bears out in a different way, as pertaining to technology. It's strange and discombobulating -- in a thriller so chiefly concerned with Ancient Mysteries and sacred rites -- to see an iPhone used as an important plot device, Langdon scratching his befuddled head over Twitter ("You know, I still haven't learned how to send a twitter." " 'A tweet,' " [Katherine] corrected, laughing"), and a young woman gushing over Katherine because she's blogged about her. But because Brown has wisely let six years of time elapse between adventures, he's right to acknowledge the leaps and bounds made on the technological scale, even as he takes care not to dwell on them too much.

While The Lost Symbol operates through Langdon's earnest, dangerously na?ve eyes (the idea that teachers speak openly, his italicized declaration late in the book, and don't teach in code, seems a tad disingenuous from the man who earlier on teased his students with all manner of hidden hints and winking assertions), Brown hasn't lost his sense of self-deprecation and cornball humor. "New York Editor" Jonas Faukman -- the anagrammed version of Brown's editor at Doubleday, Jason Kaufman -- reappears to further the plot, grow frustrated at Langdon's inability to deliver his latest manuscript, and shake his head that "Book publishing would be so much easier without the authors." A woman who recognizes Langdon on the chartered plane to Washington enthuses over his book "about the sacred feminine and the church," only to apologize, commiserating that he must get tired of being recognized: "Your uniform gave you away...[t]hose turtlenecks you wear are so dated. You'd look much sharper in a tie!" Even at the apotheosis of danger, Langdon still has time to muse that "calming visualization had been the only way he had managed to survive a recent stint in an enclosed MRI machine...that and a triple dose of Valium."

Eventually order is restored, the Solomon family finds unexpected keys, and Langdon gapes anew at the wonders of Washington D.C., from the top of the Monument to the bowels of government chambers; untold connections keep clicking into place. Brown's brew is strong and entertaining, like the Saturday afternoon serials of yore, enough to dissolve the frenetic chaos of real life for a few hours. But The Lost Symbol wages a continuous battle between the cerebral and the visceral, with the balance tipping too often towards the former at the expense of the latter. Saving the world and unlocking its magical mysteries are all well and good, but maybe next time the stakes have to hit Robert Langdon more locally to initiate the man into a more publicly known closed society -- those of the smartest action heroes in popular media. --Sarah Weinman

Sarah Weinman writes "The Criminalist," a monthly column coming soon to the Barnes & Noble Review, and "Dark Passages," an online crime fiction column for the Los Angeles Times. She blogs about the genre at http://www.sarahweinman.com.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400079148
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Series: Robert Langdon Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 23,285
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Brown

Dan Brown is the author of The Da Vinci Code, one of the most widely read novels of all time, as well as the international bestsellers Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.  He lives in New England with his wife.

Biography

Novelist Dan Brown may not have invented the literary thriller, but his groundbreaking tour de force The Da Vinci Code -- with its irresistible mix of religion, history, art, and science -- is the gold standard for a flourishing genre.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1964, Brown attended Phillips Exeter Academy (where his father taught), and graduated from Amherst with a double major in Spanish and English. After college he supported himself through teaching and enjoyed moderate success as a musician and songwriter.

Brown credits Sidney Sheldon with jump-starting his literary career. Up until 1994, his reading tastes were focused sharply on the classics. Then, on vacation in Tahiti, he stumbled on a paperback copy of Sheldon's novel The Doomsday Conspiracy. By the time he finished the book, he had decided he could do as well. There and then, he determined to try his hand at writing. His first attempt was a pseudonymously written self-help book for women co-written with his future wife Blythe Newlon. Then, in 1998, he published his first novel, Digital Fortress -- followed in swift succession by Angels and Demons and Deception Point. None the three achieved commercial success.

Then, in 2003, Brown hit the jackpot with his fourth novel, a compulsively readable thriller about a Harvard symbologist named Robert Langdon who stumbles on an ancient conspiracy in the wake of a shocking murder in the Louvre. Combining elements from art, science, and religion, The Da Vinci Code became the biggest bestseller in publishing history, inspiring a big-budget movie adaptation and fueling interest in the author's back list. In 2009, Brown continued Robert Langdon's esoteric adventures with The Lost Symbol, a tale of intrigue that, like its predecessors, takes readers on a wild ride into the sinister mysteries of the past.

Good To Know

  • Brown revealed the inspiration for his labyrinthine thriller during a writer's address in Concord, New Hampshire. "I was studying art history at the University of Seville (in Spain), and one morning our professor started class in a most unusual way. He showed us a slide of Da Vinci's famous painting "The Last Supper"... I had seen the painting many times, yet somehow I had never seen the strange anomalies that the professor began pointing out: a hand clutching a dagger, a disciple making a threatening gesture across the neck of another... and much to my surprise, a very obvious omission, the apparent absence on the table of the cup of Christ... The one physical object that in many ways defines that moment in history, Leonardo Da Vinci chose to omit." According to Brown, this reintroduction to an ancient masterpiece was merely "the tip of the ice burg." What followed was an in-depth explanation of clues apparent in Da Vinci's painting and his association with the Priory of Sion that set Brown on a path toward bringing The Da Vinci Code into existence.

  • If only all writers could enjoy this kind of success: in early 2004, all four of Brown's novels were on the New York Times Bestseller List in a single week!

    In our interview with Brown, he shared some of his writing rituals:

    "If I'm not at my desk by 4:00 a.m., I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours. In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups, and some quick stretches. I find this helps keep the blood -- and ideas -- flowing.

    "I'm also a big fan of gravity boots. Hanging upside down seems to help me solve plot challenges by shifting my entire perspective."

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      1. Hometown:
        New England
      1. Date of Birth:
        June 22, 1964
      2. Place of Birth:
        Exeter, New Hampshire
      1. Education:
        Phillips Exeter Academy 1982; B.A., Amherst College, 1986; University of Seville, Spain
      2. Website:

    Read an Excerpt

    PrologueHouse of the Temple8:33 P.M. The secret is how to die.

    Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

    The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear. As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a "cable-tow" as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.The assembly of brothers encircling him all were adorned in their full regalia of lambskin aprons, sashes, and white gloves. Around their necks hung ceremonial jewels that glistened like ghostly eyes in the muted light. Many of these men held powerful stations in life, and yet the initiate knew their worldly ranks meant nothing within these walls. Here all men were equals, sworn brothers sharing a mystical bond.As he surveyed the daunting assembly, the initiate wondered who on the outside would ever believe that this collection of men would assemble in one place . . . much less this place. The room looked like a holy sanctuary from the ancient world.The truth, however, was stranger still.I am just blocks away from the White House.This colossal edifice, located at 1733 Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, D.C., was a replica of a pre-Christian temple—the temple of King Mausolus, the original mausoleum . . . a place to be taken after death. Outside the main entrance, two seventeen-ton sphinxes guarded the bronze doors. The interior was an ornate labyrinth of ritualistic chambers, halls, sealed vaults, libraries, and even a hollow wall that held the remains of two human bodies. The initiate had been told every room in this building held a secret, and yet he knew no room held deeper secrets than the gigantic chamber in which he was currently kneeling with a skull cradled in his palms.The Temple Room.This room was a perfect square. And cavernous. The ceiling soared an astonishing one hundred feet overhead, supported by monolithic columns of green granite. A tiered gallery of dark Russian walnut seats with hand-tooled pigskin encircled the room. A thirty-three-foot-tall throne dominated the western wall, with a concealed pipe organ opposite it. The walls were a kaleidoscope of ancient symbols . . . Egyptian, Hebraic, astronomical, alchemical, and others yet unknown.Tonight, the Temple Room was lit by a series of precisely arranged candles. Their dim glow was aided only by a pale shaft of moonlight that filtered down through the expansive oculus in the ceiling and illuminated the room's most startling feature—an enormous altar hewn from a solid block of polished Belgian black marble, situated dead center of the square chamber.The secret is how to die, the initiate reminded himself."It is time," a voice whispered.The initiate let his gaze climb the distinguished white-robed figure standing before him. The Supreme Worshipful Master. The man, in his late fifties, was an American icon, well loved, robust, and incalculably wealthy. His once-dark hair was turning silver, and his famous visage reflected a lifetime of power and a vigorous intellect."Take the oath," the Worshipful Master said, his voice soft like falling snow. "Complete your journey."The initiate's journey, like all such journeys, had begun at the first degree. On that night, in a ritual similar to this one, the Worshipful Master had blindfolded him with a velvet hoodwink and pressed a ceremonial dagger to his bare chest, demanding: "Do you seriously declare on your honor, uninfluenced by mercenary or any other unworthy motive, that you freely and voluntarily offer yourself as a candidate for the mysteries and privileges of this brotherhood?""I do," the initiate had lied."Then let this be a sting to your consciousness," the master had warned him, "as well as instant death should you ever betray the secrets to be imparted to you."At the time, the initiate had felt no fear. They will never know my true purpose here.Tonight, however, he sensed a foreboding solemnity in the Temple Room, and his mind began replaying all the dire warnings he had been given on his journey, threats of terrible consequences if he ever shared the ancient secrets he was about to learn: Throat cut from ear to ear . . . tongue torn out by its roots . . . bowels taken out and burned . . . scattered to the four winds of heaven . . . heart plucked out and given to the beasts of the field—"Brother," the gray-eyed master said, placing his left hand on the initiate's shoulder. "Take the final oath."Steeling himself for the last step of his journey, the initiate shifted his muscular frame and turned his attention back to the skull cradled in his palms. The crimson wine looked almost black in the dim candlelight. The chamber had fallen deathly silent, and he could feel all of the witnesses watching him, waiting for him to take his final oath and join their elite ranks.Tonight, he thought, something is taking place within these walls that has never before occurred in the history of this brotherhood. Not once, in centuries.He knew it would be the spark . . . and it would give him unfathomable power. Energized, he drew a breath and spoke aloud the same words that countless men had spoken before him in countries all over the world."May this wine I now drink become a deadly poison to me . . . should I ever knowingly or willfully violate my oath."His words echoed in the hollow space.Then all was quiet.Steadying his hands, the initiate raised the skull to his mouth and felt his lips touch the dry bone. He closed his eyes and tipped the skull toward his mouth, drinking the wine in long, deep swallows. When the last drop was gone, he lowered the skull.For an instant, he thought he felt his lungs growing tight, and his heart began to pound wildly. My God, they know! Then, as quickly as it came, the feeling passed.A pleasant warmth began to stream through his body. The initiate exhaled, smiling inwardly as he gazed up at the unsuspecting gray-eyed man who had foolishly admitted him into this brotherhood's most secretive ranks.Soon you will lose everything you hold most dear.


    Chapter 1
    The Otis elevator climbing the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower was overflowing with tourists. Inside the cramped lift, an austere businessman in a pressed suit gazed down at the boy beside him. "You look pale, son. You should have stayed on the ground.""I'm okay . . ." the boy answered, struggling to control his anxiety. "I'll get out on the next level." I can't breathe.The man leaned closer. "I thought by now you would have gotten over this." He brushed the child's cheek affectionately.The boy felt ashamed to disappoint his father, but he could barely hear through the ringing in his ears. I can't breathe. I've got to get out of this box!The elevator operator was saying something reassuring about the lift's articulated pistons and puddled-iron construction. Far beneath them, the streets of Paris stretched out in all directions.Almost there, the boy told himself, craning his neck and looking up at the unloading platform. Just hold on.As the lift angled steeply toward the upper viewing deck, the shaft began to narrow, its massive struts contracting into a tight, vertical tunnel."Dad, I don't think—"Suddenly a staccato crack echoed overhead. The carriage jerked, swaying awkwardly to one side. Frayed cables began whipping around the carriage, thrashing like snakes. The boy reached out for his father."Dad!"Their eyes locked for one terrifying second.Then the bottom dropped out.Robert Langdon jolted upright in his soft leather seat, startling out of the semiconscious daydream. He was sitting all alone in the enormous cabin of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet as it bounced its way through turbulence. In the background, the dual Pratt & Whitney engines hummed evenly."Mr. Langdon?" The intercom crackled overhead. "We're on final approach."Langdon sat up straight and slid his lecture notes back into his leather daybag. He'd been halfway through reviewing Masonic symbology when his mind had drifted. The daydream about his late father, Langdon suspected, had been stirred by this morning's unexpected invitation from Langdon's longtime mentor, Peter Solomon.The other man I never want to disappoint.The fifty-eight-year-old philanthropist, historian, and scientist had taken Langdon under his wing nearly thirty years ago, in many ways filling the void left by Langdon's father's death. Despite the man's influential family dynasty and massive wealth, Langdon had found humility and warmth in Solomon's soft gray eyes.Outside the window the sun had set, but Langdon could still make out the slender silhouette of the world's largest obelisk, rising on the horizon like the spire of an ancient gnomon. The 555-foot marble-faced obelisk marked this nation's heart. All around the spire, the meticulous geometry of streets and monuments radiated outward.Even from the air, Washington, D.C., exuded an almost mystical power.Langdon loved this city, and as the jet touched down, he felt a rising excitement about what lay ahead. The jet taxied to a private terminal somewhere in the vast expanse of Dulles International Airport and came to a stop.Langdon gathered his things, thanked the pilots, and stepped out of the jet's luxurious interior onto the foldout staircase. The cold January air felt liberating.Breathe, Robert, he thought, appreciating the wide-open spaces.A blanket of white fog crept across the runway, and Langdon had the sensation he was stepping into a marsh as he descended onto the misty tarmac."Hello! Hello!" a singsong British voice shouted from across the tarmac. "Professor Langdon?"Langdon looked up to see a middle-aged woman with a badge and clipboard hurrying toward him, waving happily as he approached. Curly blond hair protruded from under a stylish knit wool hat."Welcome to Washington, sir!"Langdon smiled. "Thank you.""My name is Pam, from passenger services." The woman spoke with an exuberance that was almost unsettling. "If you'll come with me, sir, your car is waiting."Langdon followed her across the runway toward the Signature terminal, which was surrounded by glistening private jets. A taxi stand for the rich and famous."I hate to embarrass you, Professor," the woman said, sounding sheepish, "but you are the Robert Langdon who writes books about symbols and religion, aren't you?"Langdon hesitated and then nodded."I thought so!" she said, beaming. "My book group read your book about the sacred feminine and the church! What a delicious scandal that one caused! You do enjoy putting the fox in the henhouse!"Langdon smiled. "Scandal wasn't really my intention."

    The woman seemed to sense Langdon was not in the mood to discuss his work. "I'm sorry. Listen to me rattling on. I know you probably get tired of being recognized . . . but it's your own fault." She playfully motioned to his clothing. "Your uniform gave you away."

    My uniform?
    Langdon glanced down at his attire. He was wearing his usual charcoal turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket, khakis, and collegiate cordovan loafers . . . his standard attire for the classroom, lecture circuit, author photos, and social events.

    The woman laughed. "Those turtlenecks you wear are so dated. You'd look much sharper in a tie!"

    No chance,
    Langdon thought. Little nooses.

    Neckties had been required six days a week when Langdon attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and despite the headmaster's romantic claims that the origin of the cravat went back to the silk fascalia worn by Roman orators to warm their vocal cords, Langdon knew that, etymologically, cravat actually derived from a ruthless band of "Croat" mercenaries who donned knotted neckerchiefs before they stormed into battle. To this day, this ancient battle garb was donned by modern office warriors hoping to intimidate their enemies in daily boardroom battles.

    "Thanks for the advice," Langdon said with a chuckle. "I'll consider a tie in the future."

    Mercifully, a professional-looking man in a dark suit got out of a sleek Lincoln Town Car parked near the terminal and held up his finger. "Mr. Langdon? I'm Charles with Beltway Limousine." He opened the passenger door. "Good evening, sir. Welcome to Washington."

    Langdon tipped Pam for her hospitality and then climbed into the plush interior of the Town Car. The driver showed him the temperature controls, the bottled water, and the basket of hot muffins. Seconds later, Langdon was speeding away on a private access road. So this is how the other half lives.

    As the driver gunned the car up Windsock Drive, he consulted his passenger manifest and placed a quick call. "This is Beltway Limousine," the driver said with professional efficiency. "I was asked to confirm once my passenger had landed." He paused. "Yes, sir. Your guest, Mr. Langdon, has arrived, and I will deliver him to the Capitol Building by seven P.M. You're welcome, sir." He hung up.

    Langdon had to smile. No stone left unturned. Peter Solomon's attention to detail was one of his most potent assets, allowing him to manage his substantial power with apparent ease. A few billion dollars in the bank doesn't hurt either.

    Langdon settled into the plush leather seat and closed his eyes as the noise of the airport faded behind him. The U.S. Capitol was a half hour away, and he appreciated the time alone to gather his thoughts. Everything had happened so quickly today that Langdon only now had begun to think in earnest about the incredible evening that lay ahead.

    Arriving under a veil of secrecy,
    Langdon thought, amused by the prospect.

    Ten miles from the Capitol Building, a lone figure was eagerly preparing for Robert Langdon's arrival.

    Read More Show Less

    Foreword

    1. How familiar were you with Freemasonry before reading the novel? How did your impressions of the organization shift throughout the book, from the chilling prologue to Peter Solomon's philosophical comments near the end?

    2. How do Peter Solomon's students (including Robert) reconcile their admiration for him with the knowledge that he is a Mason? Did it surprise you to learn about well-known American historical figures who were Masons and to read about scientists who were intrigued by mysticism and other occult belief systems?

    3. Discuss the novel's grand theme of architecture. How did The Lost Symbol change the way you think about the way buildings are designed and the intention of their architects (creators)? What most surprised you about the tributes to the past—and visions of the future—that are captured in the landmarks of Washington, D.C.?

    4. Mal'akh considers the polarity of angels and demons noting that "the guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon destroyer." What does this indicate about Mal'akh's perception of himself in the world? How can his evil nature be explained? Why is he only able to consider his own suffering, while relishing the suffering of others?

    5. How did you react to Katherine Solomon's work in Noetic Science? What motivates her to investigate the tangible aspects of the human soul (attempting to weigh it, even)? How would it change the world if there were more tangible evidence of the spiritual world? How is Katherine Solomon's perception of science different from Robert Langdon's?

    6. At the heart of the novel is a quest to unlock wisdom, and the need to keep it"locked" because it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, a world wide web) is a blessing or a curse?

    7. The novel's epigraph, from Manly Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, encourages readers to become aware of the meaning of the world. What mysteries about the world, and life, do you think are the most important ones to explore?

    8. How did Mal'akh amass enough power to turn his personal plot into a national security threat? What does his rise to power indicate about the potential of mind over body and a human being's ability to play a variety of roles for unsuspecting audiences?

    9. The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multi-faceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?

    10. While interpreting the Masonic Pyramid's final inscription, Robert Langdon tries to bring order out of chaos by interpreting each symbol as a metaphor. Peter Solomon instructs him to be literal and accept the inscription as a true map. What does this exchange say about the best way to interpret all sacred messages?

    11. What truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience in the epilogue, at sunrise, atop America's ultimate symbol? From your perspective, what does the Capitol symbolize?

    12. What does The Lost Symbol indicate about the power of the Word—both ancient texts and bestselling twenty-first-century novels?

    13. What common thread runs through this and each of Dan Brown's previous works? What makes The Lost Symbol unique? How has Robert Langdon's perspective changed from Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code?

    Read More Show Less

    Reading Group Guide

    1. How familiar were you with Freemasonry before reading the novel? How did your impressions of the organization shift throughout the book, from the chilling prologue to Peter Solomon's philosophical comments near the end?

    2. How do Peter Solomon's students (including Robert) reconcile their admiration for him with the knowledge that he is a Mason? Did it surprise you to learn about well-known American historical figures who were Masons and to read about scientists who were intrigued by mysticism and other occult belief systems?

    3. Discuss the novel's grand theme of architecture. How did The Lost Symbol change the way you think about the way buildings are designed and the intention of their architects—their creators? What most surprised you about the tributes to the past—and visions of the future—that are captured in the landmarks of Washington, D.C.?

    4. Mal'akh considers the polarity of angels and demons, noting that "the guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon destroyer." What does this indicate about Mal'akh's perception of himself in the world? How can his evil nature be explained? Why is he able to consider only his own suffering, while relishing the suffering of others?

    5. How did you react to Katherine Solomon's work in Noetic Science? What motivates her to investigate the tangible aspects of the human soul (attempting to weigh it, even)? How would it change the world if there were more tangible evidence of the spiritual world? How is Katherine Solomon's perception of science different from Robert Langdon's?

    6. At the heart of the novel is a quest to unlock wisdom despite the need to keep it "locked" since it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, the World Wide Web) is a blessing or a curse?

    7. The novel's epigraph, from Manly Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, encourages readers to become aware of the meaning of the world. What mysteries about the world, and life, do you think are the most important ones to explore?

    8. How does Mal'akh amass enough power to turn his personal plot into a national security threat? What does his rise to power indicate about the potential of mind over body and a human being's ability to play a variety of roles for unsuspecting audiences?

    9. The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multifaceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?

    10. While interpreting the Masonic Pyramid's final inscription, Robert Langdon tries to bring order out of chaos by interpreting each symbol as a metaphor. Peter Solomon instructs him to be literal and accept the inscription as a true map. What does this exchange say about the best way to interpret all sacred messages?

    11. In the epilogue what truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience, at sunris atop America's ultimate symbol? From your perspective, what does the Capitol symbolize?

    12. What does The Lost Symbol indicate about the power of the word—whether ancient texts or bestselling twenty-first-century novels?

    13. What common thread runs through this and each of Dan Brown's previous works? What makes The Lost Symbol unique? How has Robert Langdon's perspective changed from Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code?

    (For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

    Read More Show Less

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 6779 Customer Reviews
    • Posted April 28, 2009

      I Must Say, I Disagree with Alfeetoe.

      "Seriously...these Dan Brown books...they bring nothing new to the table. They're the same damn thing, using the same cliche deus ex machina over and over and over again. It's revolting to think that these books, these tripe, brainless, overblown pieces of garbage are actually some of the highest selling books of a generation. I frankly don't care about overused religious aspects or the debate as to whether or not there is validity to the whole thing. Ultimately, it's a work of fiction, and a derivative, poorly written one at that. And don't get me started on the movies. Stories like this, and the National Treasure turds, are precisely why great american novels/films are dying off. Utter dirt."

      Well, I notice you don't notice that, in the front of each book, there is a note from Dan Brown saying something along the lines of "all scientific and religious information used in the forthcoming novel is factual, and the theories discussed have been actually debated". This shows that these books are, in fact, not "utter dirt", and are informational as well as enjoyable. The movie The DaVinci Code, though, has no impact on the quality of the book. You should discuss the movie on the FYE website, not the Barnes and Noble site. These "tripe, brainless, overblown pieces of garbage" are actually intelligent, compelling books that have a great deal of interest and cause you to think a different way than you usually have thought. Obviously, you were not mature or intelligent enough to grasp or enjoy the challenge of the complex ideas presented. I expect The Lost Symbol to be an excellent, fascinating read.

      46 out of 93 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted October 24, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      Not what I was waiting for

      I loved Angels and Demons and greatly enjoyed the DaVinci Code. This is more on the level of Deception Point (another book which demonstrated a total ignorance of the real world and how Washington works). The book starts with an improbable beginning, throws in a stereotypical security officer, mixes in some nebulous pseudo-science and then goes masonic on us. I found the locations interesting, but the characters are cardboard. The fatal flaw of The Lost Symbol is that it's as light on thrills as it is on substance. I suppose this is the fall of non-fiction, as the best book I've read so far is Emotional Intelligence 2.0

      33 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 2, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Response to "Nothing but the same from Dan Brown"

      Personally, I find Dan Brown's novels to be quite entertaining: their action movies in a compact book that's easy to read, fast-paced, and surprising, capturing curiosity from the very first page. The characters, though not the most developed we've seen, should not be, in my opinion, for his novels seem more centered upon discovery, adventure, and risk of the unknown. We can only expect the same from The Lost Symbol.

      As for those who complain that everything is written in the same formula in his books: what books aren't written in formula? It's called Journey of the Hero, you idiot. Joseph Campbell pointed that out a long time ago: everything ever written has the same formula of a character who starts out in a happy place, gets a "call" to adventure, goes on this adventure, has a few issues he has to work out, might find a love interest, and then returns to the place he began with a new perspective. Find me a book that doesn't follow that sort of guideline in general, and I'll take back the insult from earlier.

      What Dan Brown does is he changes the conditions and details of this formula to make it interesting. It's what any author does. For a good adventure and a thrilling surprise with every page-turn, I'll recommend the next chapter in the saga.

      21 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 28, 2009

      A Langdon Letdown

      Having read all of Dan Brown's book, I was extremely excited about Langdon's latest adventure. But shortly after starting, I found the book to have many more drawn out portions than normal in Brown's books. Langdon's previous adventures constantly keep me turning pages, but this time around some parts were drawn out and literally bored me. The writing style is the same as before, which is starting to become extremely predictable. Having taken place in the nations capital, I was hoping for more settings. Felt that after 6 years of research we would have more about the capital incorporated in the book. This book just didn't click like Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code. Of Browns 5 books, this is the worst.

      17 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted September 15, 2009

      Reading now at the airport and (so far) easily meeting expectations...

      As soon as you start reading this book it hardly seems possible that it has been 6 years since The Da Vinci Code... So far it has been truly impossible to stop reading. To use a well worn cliché - a real (electronic) page turner! Downloaded it to my Blackberry and started reading it immediately in the departure lounge. Two people asked what I'm reading and are feverishly trying to get their copy downloaded before we take off. Then we'll have 8hrs and 20 minutes of (hopefully) uninterrupted time enjoy it.
      I hope we don't have to wait another 6 years for the next one.

      16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted May 6, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Nothing but the same from Dan Brown

      This sums up every Dan Brown novel written. The main character is always taken unexpectedly and thrust in a fast paced scenario, where the fate of so many, rest on him or her solving a series of riddles and mysteries. While the antagonist, who in the end turns out to be a good guy, is always close, and the good guy, in the end, always is the bad guy; the very person you think the bad guy is. Not to mention these events always take place within less than a 24 hour time period. Dan Brown has lost all sense of originality. He used, or overused, the exact same formula for all 4 previous novels. Now it appears Mr.Brown tends to rip himself off one more time. Do not waist your money on yet another Dan Brown novel. You've all read this novel before, only it was call Digital Fortress, Deception Point, DaVinci Code or Angels & Demons.
      Let me add onto this as a few of you avid Dan Brown fans have taken issue with my review, as one of you nitpicks over a misspelled word(I am such a horrible speller though) and another called me an idiot(That may be so). Every writer has a pattern to their writing, but when it becomes so obvious you can predict the outcome within a chapter or two, then it's a waist of time. Let me give you a analogy, take a picture out of a coloring book, copy it 4 times and color it all different colors. Also, the DaVinci Code is a rip-off everything in the, Holy Blood Holy Grail. The authors even sued Mr.Brown. All the info in the, Holy Blood Holy Grail is speculative and conspiracy theory but Dan Brown boldly pronounces such info as fact. Watch the History channel. Facts as stated by Danny, who is no historian, are not facts and are debated by historians. Don't get me wrong, I am not bound by religious bias so the subject matter does not bother me. In fact I absolutely loved the DaVinci Code; being the first Dan Brown novel I read. My respect for him as an author faltered as I read more of his works to the point I could not finish Digital Fortress. I can pretty much guess the main characters boss is the bad guy. Maybe I'm wrong, but after his other novels that's pretty much the direction I saw that going. After reading his next novel takes place within a time period of 14 hours I thought,"Great, more of the same." So, ther we are, more of the same in my opinion. Feel free, In your anger to nitpick and name call. You'll all be feeling the same when you predict the outcome halfway through this book. Happy reading. I'll be reading as well, hoping I am wrong and that I don't predict the ending before it comes.

      16 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted June 15, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Hard to tell... unless you read an advance copy...

      This book is very predictable & obvious...

      It will be read and enjoyed by most...

      My highest recommendations are listed below...

      15 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted April 21, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Yay! Another overblown Scooby Doo mystery!

      Seriously...these Dan Brown books...they bring nothing new to the table. They're the same damn thing, using the same cliche deus ex machina over and over and over again. It's revolting to think that these books, these tripe, brainless, overblown pieces of garbage are actually some of the highest selling books of a generation. I frankly don't care about overused religious aspects or the debate as to whether or not there is validity to the whole thing. Ultimately, it's a work of fiction, and a derivative, poorly written one at that. And don't get me started on the movies. Stories like this, and the National Treasure turds, are precisely why great american novels/films are dying off. Utter dirt.

      15 out of 89 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted October 27, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      A great escape!

      I chose this book to read on vacation, beginning with an 11 hour flight schedule. It was engaging, fun, and not only kept my interest, it kept me awake! It also offered me incentive to get right back to reading whenever an opportunity presented itself. Some of the historical sections regarding Freemasonry were a bit tedious but far from being boring, and, in fact, prompted me to find out as much as possible about that organization to determine the accuracy and validity of Brown's narration.

      14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 17, 2009

      Disappointed

      Maybe it was the high level of expectation after reading the first two books, but this one was disappointing.
      This book became a lesson in history and mysticism without a good story line to tie it together and keep it interesting. MANY times I thought-"Ok, ok, these Masons are mystical and understand something my puny mind cannot grasp-but get on with it already!" Honestly, if I was stuck in a room with men who were so quick to pontificate I would find SOME way to leave. However, I spent $17 for this story so I trudged through hoping Dan Brown would find "THE WORD" that would turn this book into a captivating read. Sadly, that word remains buried somewhere so I can not recommed this book to others.

      13 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted April 22, 2009

      Will He Break His Mold?

      Dan Brown is a good writter and adept at crafting a series of events, however improbable, that lead to a somewhat unexpected ending. I say "somewhat unexpected" because I have found that Dan Brown has a formula that he follows in all of his novels to date (there are more than just the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons). If Dan could just break away from that formula...I am sure he could stump me and truly keep me glued to the pages of the book until the very end.

      Dan, are you listening? I love the twists and turns, arcane information and startling details you impart so effectively. Now, just abandon your old formula of the most trusted counselor always being the ultimate bad guy and you will have me hooked all over again.

      13 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted May 29, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      What!?

      Wow people simply amaze me more and more everyday. Noone has read or seen anything about this book and yet we have reviews??? It took me a few years to read the Davinci Code just for the simple fact everyone told me I should, so I didn't. I'm just glad it didn't have Oprah's seal of approval or I would have missed out on an incredible read. That said I welcome a new book to the Dan Brown fold, as I read all his other work after Davinci Code, fast paced filled with mystery and suspense, couldn't put any of them down!!! So let's all hope the new book takes us to new limits and stop writing reviews ok? I'l see all of you Sep 15Th!!

      12 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted April 22, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Conflicts

      Angels and Demons was about the war between science and religion. The Da Vinci Code was about Christianity versus the feminine. Those were amazing topics to discuss, and based on his other two books, Deception Point and Digital Fortress, I am 100% positive that this book will encourage people to not believe everything that they're told and to seek out the truth for themselves, which seems to be the most general theme in all of his books, while teaching historic lessons or portraying certain aspects of the American government. I can't wait to see what epic historical conflicts Dan Brown is going to show us in his new book, and all the things I will learn and be able to talk about with my friends and family. My only disappointment is that I have to wait until September to enjoy another piece of his literature.

      12 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted April 21, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      This is THE SOLOMON KEY

      This forthcoming book is the same book whose working title was THE SOLOMON KEY...and before that (around 2005)was publicized under the working title of THE WIDOW'S SON. Both terms--the Solomon Key and the Widow's Son--are expressions used in Freemasonry. For the last four years there's also been buzz that this novel will draw from Mormon history and Joseph Smith's (the First Mormon's) involvement in Freemasonry (from which the Mormon temple ordinances are based.) As a Reform Mormon, I'm curious to see if Mormonism will appear in the novel. Ceratinly elements of THE DA VINCI CODE (a female deity, a married Jesus and unorthdox sexual unions as part of a secret religious system) were found in Nauvoo-era (late 1830's through mid 1840's) Mormonism.
      www.reformmormonism.org

      10 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted February 22, 2010

      This book was amazing!

      The Lost Symbol is fantastic. The characters are introduced and developed very well, and the plot, though sometimes very long, is intriguing. It is easy to get frustrated with the amazing amount of detail that is used to describe every second, but the information presented by the detail is undeniably one of the best aspects of the book. The emotional detail also gives an amazing insight into the minds of the characters.

      9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted November 29, 2009

      Lost Symbol

      Not the worst book I have ever read. Perhaps the worst book I have ever finished. Dan took too much time off, he forgot what made him sucessful. But I guess with all the money he has made, it is of no concern to him. Much like James Patterson and Johnaton Kellermen, he has sold his soul. This is a very bad book from start to finish, I won't be waiting for your next.

      9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted October 19, 2009

      Lost Symbol Not A Da Vinci

      I just finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. This is his fifth book. I have read all five. Dan Brown is one of those writers that keep your interest and I have enjoyed his first four books.
      I had a bad feeling about the fifth book before it was published for a couple of reasons.
      It took a long time to write. To me this indicates to me that the book was laborious to write. When I write something about a subject I like it flows out like a stream bolstered by major rainfall. The Lost Symbol did not flow out of Dan Brown's mind easily and smoothly. It's gestation was more like a tough pregnancy shrouded by severe labor pains. The results were all the worse for the stretching and pushing to bring it to term and deliver it.
      After a mega masterpiece like The Da Vinci Code, the next book would have to meet very high standards to be favorably compared with its predecessor. Pressure and great art sometimes do not go together. While purely fictional books like Digital Fortress and Deception Point and Angels & Demons were excellent, his success with The Da Vinci Code, a book that blends credible and controversial historical events and "what ifs" together with fiction, meant that his editors and his public would be looking for more of the same. This was apparently not a realistic expectation. The Da Vinci Code was a one-time breakout novel with popularity matching or exceeding the masterpiece Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, the only novel she ever published. Ms. Mitchell knew publishing anything after that novel would just dim her historical achievement. Dan Brown probably felt the same pressure but financially found it an irresistible feat he would have to attempt.
      The Lost Code was over five hundred pages. The excellent writing style of Dan Brown compelled me to read the first four hundred pages with great excitement. These pages flew by in a two evening session. But even at this point I felt there was no credible end game for his plot to polish off the previous, intense action. Unfortunately I was right. The last hundred pages were a chore to read. The last fifty pages were truly painful.
      The ending was disappointing. No revelations, no glorious wonderment, no historical impact was forthcoming. It lingered and died. Just so many pages trying but failing to take the reader to the same level as its predecessor. The book fell way short.
      It was not without some interesting moments. It did have its share of historical factoids. There will be some readers walking around Washington DC to trace the monuments where the action took place.
      Kudos to Dan Brown for the moments which made me want to hop aboard the Washington Metro and visit these places less than 5 miles from my current home which I have ignored too long. But I was ready to reach for my Metro Pass I just a quickly slipped the idea into the "maybe one day department" of my to do list. The excitement vanished with the end of the novel.

      8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 17, 2009

      Lost its balance

      The novel lost its balance between knowledge, philosophy and mystery, suspense. The messages and knowledge it tries to deliver outweighed its entertainment value. The plot was loose and sometimes fell off the track. I had always felt the unpredicted, brilliant style of Dan Brown made up for his writing, which isn't always quite as intriguing and beautiful. But these good qualities seem to have lost their ways in this novel. However, I do believe it's hard to keep up or surpass the brilliance level of the previous novels. But overall, I did learn a lot and the novel elicited my interest in reading up on some concepts that I did not know existed. So I feel my reading time was well spent. Thank you, Dan Brown!

      8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted January 21, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Wait for the Movie

      I think Mr. Brown was paid by the word for this one. The story rambles all over the place like a hyper housefly on amphetamines. He continually jumps back and forth in time and between different points of view while the main character stands around with a puzzled expression on his face. The secondary characters are bizarre and completely unbelievable. The plot moves at a snail's pace. It is very repetitive and boring. I liked The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons much better and would highly recommend those. For this one, just skip the pain of wading through it and wait for someone to pluck out the better parts and make a movie of it.

      7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted November 20, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Worst Book

      I really enjoyed The Davinci Code and found Angels & Demons even more enjoyable, but I have to say that this book was very disappointing. Just about everything was wrong. The writing was as gripping as ever, I will give him that. Every chapter ended in a cliffhanger, just like every other Dan Brown book. But the plot was predictable and honestly I found this 'secret' that they are hiding through the whole story to be not nearly as important as they made it out to be. Definitely not worth killing for.

      I won't discredit Brown's research or his ability to write entertaining books, but this just wasn't his best. I was let down.

      7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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