The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol

WHAT IS LOST...WILL BE FOUNDIn 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 - a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths...all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying...

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Title:The Lost Symbol
Author:Dan Brown
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Edition Language:English

The Lost Symbol Reviews

  • Anna

    I really enjoy Dan Brown's stories. I have read Angels and Demon and The Da Vinci Code, I am currently reading Deception Point and plan on reading Digitial Fortress. I absolutely love his story telling. I have read mixed reviews and I think the negative reviews are just really people who are too serious in life. For goodness sake it is a book for entertainment, not a non-fiction story. Though I have read some non-fiction stories that are more fiction then Dan Brown's book. Brown's books are ente

    I really enjoy Dan Brown's stories. I have read Angels and Demon and The Da Vinci Code, I am currently reading Deception Point and plan on reading Digitial Fortress. I absolutely love his story telling. I have read mixed reviews and I think the negative reviews are just really people who are too serious in life. For goodness sake it is a book for entertainment, not a non-fiction story. Though I have read some non-fiction stories that are more fiction then Dan Brown's book. Brown's books are entertaining and make you look at thing in different ways which is good. Everytime I pick up Brown's book, I am totally immersed in the story and at the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. I can't wait until the next book.

    It took me a bit longer to finish this book then I expected, but I am so glad that I read it. Again, Dan Brown delivers a thought provoking story in his unique style. I know others really dislike Brown's style of writing saying that it follows a formula of the ultra dramatic and the never ending cliff hanger chapters, but I just don't tire of that at all. A great thrilling read. I can't wait to read the next Dan Brown book!

  • Malcolm

    Now boarding on track 33, the Symbolism Express departing for the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, the Institute of Noetic Sciences and multiple points around the cryptic compass.

    Your temporal destination, not Paris and London, but Washington, D.C.

    Your conductor, Harvard symbiologist Robert Langdon, the Indiana Jones of the new age.

    Tied to the tracks in the gathering darkness ahead and facing certain death, if not embarrassment, another keeper of the ancient m

    Now boarding on track 33, the Symbolism Express departing for the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, the Institute of Noetic Sciences and multiple points around the cryptic compass.

    Your temporal destination, not Paris and London, but Washington, D.C.

    Your conductor, Harvard symbiologist Robert Langdon, the Indiana Jones of the new age.

    Tied to the tracks in the gathering darkness ahead and facing certain death, if not embarrassment, another keeper of the ancient mysteries including the wisdom of Solomon, not a man of the Louvre, but a man of the Smithsonian.

    Traveling alone, an attractive female relative of the man lashed to the tracks, not agent and cryptologist Sophie Neveu, but Noetic scientist Dr Katherine Solomon.

    Sitting in the engineer's seat with a small stone pyramid rather than a chalice holding down the deadman's pedal, a rogue and tattooed Mason in search of apotheosis replaces Silas, "The Da Vinci Code's" rogue and scourged monk as our antagonist for the evening.

    Hold on. It's going to be another bumpy ride.

    Dreams of déjà vu remind you what the journey will be like: short chapters, multiple points of view, conflicting agendas with something very large (yet unknown) at stake, the thrill of the chase, the almost-sexual tension of near-satisfaction again and again as answers appear and disappear, multiple station stops for arcane wisdom instruction, and a desperate-save-humanity-hunt for secrets you've stared at your entire life without comprehending.

    By the end of the novel, you won't be a 33rd Degree Mason and you won't be like unto a god in any way you can quite wrap your mind around, but you will have experienced a high-adrenaline ride. This thrill is what the journey is all about. Perhaps reality lurks around the edge of the plot and theme and perhaps sacred messages lurk within the vast white spaces between the lines of black type, but that's not why we're turning the pages from 1 to 509.

    Dan Brown has done it again, and upon reflection at the dawn's first light, you'll see that he knows how to pull the right strings and push the right buttons and sprinkle the right esoteric seasonings across his smorgasbord of mysteries from around the world to keep readers addicted for the trip. On the last page, you may well hope, along with Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon that men and women will follow the ancient maps toward their true potential; but seriously, the novel's destination really doesn't matter, does it, because the ride was the peak experience you were seeking when you picked up "The Lost Symbol."

    All aboard.

  • Janet Wilcox

    I liked this novel actually better than DV Code and A & D, which is ironic as it wasn't quite the page turner as those were, but the plot and ideas were more believeable. I was very interested in The Masons, as they were so much a part of the early patriotic/revolutionary era of the US. As usual there is a gruesome evil person, with superhuman like skills and power. The whole story covers just 24 hours...wow, what a day!

    Interesting insight from Brown on the Masons or Noetic Science?: "a tem

    I liked this novel actually better than DV Code and A & D, which is ironic as it wasn't quite the page turner as those were, but the plot and ideas were more believeable. I was very interested in The Masons, as they were so much a part of the early patriotic/revolutionary era of the US. As usual there is a gruesome evil person, with superhuman like skills and power. The whole story covers just 24 hours...wow, what a day!

    Interesting insight from Brown on the Masons or Noetic Science?: "a temple of God" refers to the "temple" of the brain; how "the created,...becomes the Creator"; when the eye is single, your body fills with light". For me the last part of the book added to my personal confirmation of what faith is, and that "our minds can generate energy capable of transforming physical matter." I believe as Katherine stated, "As soon as we humans begin to harness our true power, we will have enormous control over our world..and be able to design reality, rather than merely react to it."

    How about this idea: God created us in his image, but not just our physical bodies resemble him, but our minds! Now that's a a great idea, and correlates with my LDS belief that we were all intelligences first, even before our spirits were created. Because of this, we have God-like potential power, and indeed can become like him. We just haven't learned all that is necessary ...yet. Interestingly, he refers to the Hebrew meaning of God, Elohim, which is plural. Hmmm, gives lots to think about, especially if you don't believe in God, or if your belief in God is limited.

    Love this idea also on p. 563, There are those who create, and those who tear down. The dynamic has existed for all time.

    Another perspective of atonement...."gathering what is scattered...to bring order from chaos, to find "at-one-ment", from this vantage point, His characters discuss the inherent power of prayer groups, healing circles, singing in unison, worshipping en mass... unfortunately, no mention of Christ in that view, but there is still much truth there. "We have barely scratched the surface of our mental and spiritual capabilities." Can you believe a popular fiction novel promoting such eternal truths? I'd love to talk to others about this, but my husband disliked the book. I thought it was great.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3), Dan Brown

    The Lost Symbol is a 2009 novel written by American writer Dan Brown. It is a thriller set in Washington, D.C., after the events of The Da Vinci Code, and relies on Freemasonry for both its recurring theme and its major characters. It is the third Brown novel to involve the character of Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon, following 2000's Angels & Demons and 2003's The Da Vinci Code. Renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is invi

    The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3), Dan Brown

    The Lost Symbol is a 2009 novel written by American writer Dan Brown. It is a thriller set in Washington, D.C., after the events of The Da Vinci Code, and relies on Freemasonry for both its recurring theme and its major characters. It is the third Brown novel to involve the character of Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon, following 2000's Angels & Demons and 2003's The Da Vinci Code. Renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is invited to give a lecture at the United States Capitol, at the invitation apparently from his mentor, a 33rd degree Mason named Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution. Solomon has also asked him to bring a small, sealed package which he had entrusted to Langdon years earlier. When Langdon arrives at the Capitol, however, he learns that the invitation he received was not from Solomon, but from Solomon's kidnapper, Mal'akh posing as Solomon's assistant, who has left Solomon's severed right hand in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda in a recreation of the Hand of Mysteries. Mal'akh then contacts Langdon, charging him with finding both the Mason's Pyramid, which Masons believe is hidden somewhere in Washington, D.C., and the Lost Word, lest Solomon be murdered. Langdon meets Trent Anderson, head of the Capitol police, and Inoue Sato, the head of the CIA's Office of Security. Sato claims that Mal'akh poses a threat to the national security of the U.S. and that his capture is more important than Peter's rescue, although she refuses to elaborate. Examining Solomon's hand, they discover a clue leading them to Solomon's Masonic altar in a room in the Capitol's sub-basement, where they find a small pyramid lacking a capstone, with an inscription carved into it. ...

    عنوانها: نماد گمشده؛ طلسم گمشده؛ نشان گم شده؛ نشانه ی گمشده؛ هزارتوی اسرار؛ رمز گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه دسامبر سال 2009 میلادی

    عنوان: نماد گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: نوشین ریشهری؛تهران، نگارینه، 1388؛ در 672 ص؛ شابک: 9789642300068؛

    عنوان: نماد گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: شبنم سعادت؛تهران، افراز، 1388؛ در 718 ص؛ شابک: 9789642431632؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛

    عنوان: نماد گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: کیان رضوی نعمت اللهی؛ تهران؛ نوح نبی (ع)؛ 1388؛ در 800 ص؛ شابک: 9786009143702؛

    عنوان: نماد گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: مهراوه فیروز؛تهران، البرز، 1388؛ در 585 ص؛ شابک: 9789644426810؛

    عنوان: نشانه ی گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: لیلا فراهانی؛ تهران، مضمون، 1388، در 512 ص؛شابک: 9786009057399؛

    عنوان: نشان گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: بهمن رحیمیان؛ تهران، بهنام، 1388، در 775 ص؛شابک: 9789645668592؛

    عنوان: نشان گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: یاسمن بهمن آبادی؛ آرمین عمادی؛ تهران، بازتاب اندیشه، 1388، در 571 ص؛شابک: 9789649980324؛

    عنوان: طلسم گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: مهرداد وثوقی؛ تهران، گل آذین، 1389، در 588 ص؛شابک: 9789647703673؛

    عنوان: نماد گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: حسین شهرابی؛ تهران، افق، 1389؛ در 925 ص؛ شابک: 9789643696498؛

    عنوان: رمز گمشده؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: اسماعیل قهرمانی پور؛ تهران، روزگار، 1389، در 726 ص؛ شابک: 9789643742270؛

    عنوان: هزارتوی اسرار؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: امیرعباس حدادمنش؛ تهران، تمدن علمی، 1394؛ در 700 ص؛ شابک: 9786009517756؛

    زیستن بدون درک حقیقت هستی، همان گام زدن در کتابخانه ای بزرگ، بدون لمس گنجینه ی کتابهای آن است. آموزه های مستور تمام اعصار؛ زمان همچون رود؛ و کتابها همانند قایق هستند. بسیاری از کتابهایی که در این مسیر روان میشوند. درهم میشکنند، در شنهای کف رود فرورفته، و به دست فراموشی سپرده میشوند. تنها اندکی، تعداد بسیار اندکی، در گذر زمان، ارزش خود را ثابت میکنند، و باقی میمانند؛ تا نسلهای روزگاران آینده را نیز از موهبت وجود خویش بهره مند سازند. این داستان یکی از ماندگاران خواهد بود. داستان در یک بازه ی زمانی دوازده ساعته در واشینگتن دی سی رخ می‌دهد. داستان حول موضوع فراماسونری ست. رابرت لانگدون، ظاهراً به دعوت یکی از دوستان فراماسون خود، به نام: پیتر سولومون، به قصد انجام یک سخنرانی در ساختمان کنگره ایالات متحده (که به آن ساختمان کاپیتول نیز گفته می‌شود) وارد واشینگتن دی سی می‌شود. سولومون همچنین از وی درخواست کرده که بسته ی کوچکی را، که سال‌ها پیش به او امانت داده بود، با خود به همراه بیاورد. پس از ورود به ساختمان کنگره، رابرت لانگدون با دست راست قطع شده ی پیتر سولومون مواجه می‌شود، که در وسط سالن به سمت مشخصی اشاره می‌کند. دست سالامون، با خالکوبی‌های ویژه‌ ای تزئین شده است، که نمادی موسوم به «دست رازها» ست. با توجه به شواهد، رابرت لانگدون درمی‌یابد، که پیتر سولومون ربوده شده، و رباینده بدینوسیله از وی می‌خواهد، که برای او، هرم مخفی فراماسونها را، که گفته می‌شود، در جایی در شهر واشینگتن دی سی، پنهان شده است و همچنین واژه ی گمشده که گفته می‌شود کلید دستیابی به قدرت و دانش مخفی گذشتگان است را پیدا کند. در ادامه ی داستان، مسئول حفاظت از ساختمان کاپیتول، و رئیس دفتر امنیت سازمان سیا «اینو ساتو» وارد داستان می‌شوند. با تعقیب مسیر اشاره شده، توسط دست پیتر سولومون، این سه نفر به محراب میسونی پیتر سولومون واقع در اتاقی کوچک، در زیر زمین ساختمان کاپیتول، هدایت می‌شوند. فراماسونها معمولاً چنین محرابی را به جهت یادآوری فلسفه ی زندگی در خانه ی خود می‌سازند. یک جمجمه انسان، و برخی اشیاء نمادین دیگ، تزئین کننده ی محراب بودند؛ اعضای گروه، متوجه لرزش یکی از دیواره‌ های اتاق در نور شمع شدند. دیواره‌ ای که در حقیقت یک پرده بود، کنار رفت، هرمی ناقص پدیدار شد، که بر روی آن کلمه‌ ای حک شده بود، که رابرت لانگدون را به سوی گام بعدی در نجات دوست ربوده شده‌ اش هدایت کرد. همزمان ساتو که از مأمورین حراست ساختمان کاپیتول خواسته بود، تصویر اشعه ی ایکس گرفته شده از رابرت لانگدون را، در هنگام ورود به ساختمان کاپیتول، بازنگری کنند، متوجه وجود یک هرم کوچک، در کیف همراه رابرت لنگدان می‌شود.. او از رابرت لانگدون در رابطه با هرم پرسش می‌کند، و رابرت لانگدون که از محتویات بسته امانی پیتر سولومون بی اطلاع بود، متوجه منظور ساتو نمی‌شود. ساتو تصمیم می‌گیرد که رابرت لانگدون و هرم‌ها را برای تحقیقات بیشتر، و بازجویی، به مقر سازمان سیا انتقال دهد. در همین زمان وارن بلامی، سرمعمار ساختمان کاپیتول، و یکی از دوستان فراماسون پیتر سولومون، وارد اتاق زیرزمینی می‌شود، و با مضروب کردن ساتو، و رئیس حراست ساختمان، رابرت لانگدون را آزاد کرده و به همراه خود به طبقه همکف ساختمان کاپیتول می‌برد. و ادامه ی داستان. ا. شربیانی

  • James

    is one of my favorite authors. I know there are several of my online and in-person (sounds so weird!) friends who disagree, but ultimately... you have to acknowledge the amount of time and dedication he puts into his story, the vast eccentric cast of characters, the intrigue and suspense, the unexpected connections and the fast-paced thrill of turning the pages more quickly than you can actually read each one. People love books for different reasons. It's not always the "beautiful and

    is one of my favorite authors. I know there are several of my online and in-person (sounds so weird!) friends who disagree, but ultimately... you have to acknowledge the amount of time and dedication he puts into his story, the vast eccentric cast of characters, the intrigue and suspense, the unexpected connections and the fast-paced thrill of turning the pages more quickly than you can actually read each one. People love books for different reasons. It's not always the "beautiful and lyrical prose" or the "emotional gut punch you feel from its reality."

    These books are meant to keep your heart racing, your mind guessing and your eyes unable to blink for a few minutes at a time. At the time I'm writing this review, it's been about five years since I read the book, and I still haven't seen the movie... but I am excited to watch it, though I haven't heard great things from those who have.

    Of the four Robert Langdon books in the series, this was my least favorite. Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code had such complex and shocking story lines, I couldn't help but be amazed. Inferno was so intense and ripe with "what if" scenarios, my mind was non-stop going. With this book, it's still a huge and complex puzzle, but it felt a little weaker than the other ones. There was a different type of emotional connection given Langdon's friendship with the kidnapped mentor.

    I liked the puzzle, but were pictures necessary?

    It was a little too easy to solve this time.

    It felt a bit repetitive at times.

    But you still flip the pages faster than a normal read.

    I'd push you to read his other books. I'd be OK if you skipped this one.

    But I am still super excited about Origin, the fifth in the series, which will debut later this year.

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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  • Becky

    This book is both poorly written and impossible to put down.

    I think that about sums it up.

  • Grumpus

    I don’t get all the haters of the Dan Brown books. Are you really going in with the expectation that these books are going to be award-winning, works of art? If so, do you critique every book you read with that same expectation? It would be a pity if you did.

    Like movies, I don’t expect every one I watch to be an Academy Award winner. If I did, that would certainly narrow the number of films I’d see. No, I go to be entertained (whatever that may mean on any particular day). That’s the way I look

    I don’t get all the haters of the Dan Brown books. Are you really going in with the expectation that these books are going to be award-winning, works of art? If so, do you critique every book you read with that same expectation? It would be a pity if you did.

    Like movies, I don’t expect every one I watch to be an Academy Award winner. If I did, that would certainly narrow the number of films I’d see. No, I go to be entertained (whatever that may mean on any particular day). That’s the way I look at the books I read, particularly fiction, and I think Dan Brown’s books are very entertaining. They are a

    escape.

    We’ve all seen the stats that show how few books Americans are reading these days (present company excluded) and I think these types of books are an excellent way to get the masses to pick up, read, listen and get back involved in books. That’s what it is all about…like starting children with books from an early age, once they’re in, who knows where it can lead them. I want more of my friends to read books and if this is the hook, then I’m happy to bait it and reel them in.

    My personal opinion of the Lost

    Symbol was that I liked it, but after reading all his other books I found this one more predictable. Still it was entertaining and I recommend it. I think many others will enjoy it as well.

  • Meg

    I have such issues rating Dan Brown books... I want 1.5 stars, I think. Snark ahead.

    Here's the deal: the man can't write. He's a name-brand & url spewing, Wikipedia-like fountain of knowledge, who CAN'T HANDLE VERB TENSES. He also likes really short sentences. That aren't sentences at all. Really. Expect iPhone, Twitter, and Google shout-outs, too. I'm almost surprised he didn't mention the inevitable hash #thelostsymbol and tell us to use it when we tweet about what we just learned.

    On the f

    I have such issues rating Dan Brown books... I want 1.5 stars, I think. Snark ahead.

    Here's the deal: the man can't write. He's a name-brand & url spewing, Wikipedia-like fountain of knowledge, who CAN'T HANDLE VERB TENSES. He also likes really short sentences. That aren't sentences at all. Really. Expect iPhone, Twitter, and Google shout-outs, too. I'm almost surprised he didn't mention the inevitable hash #thelostsymbol and tell us to use it when we tweet about what we just learned.

    On the flip side, who doesn't love a good romp around a famous city solving mysteries with art and science and religion? You know the drill, and the formula hasn't changed here in the slightest.

    As a former DC resident of 7 years, I have to admit, I was expecting slightly more from the location, but Langdon and his companion du jour keep getting trapped in random places, so it's a bit disappointing on that front. He does get 10 points for a hilarious caper including the Blue Line out to the King Street station though and the Red Line to Tenleytown (yeah, Tenleytown shout-out, what up!)

    This book's wacky science theme is Noetics, and the quasi-religious thing at hand is the Masons. Since the first thing that comes to mind re: Noetics is Fringe, I sort of expected a Pacey Witter guest appearance, but alas, it was not meant to be. I know absolutely zip about the Masons, but who wants to bet their membership applications go through the roof this month?

    So my final verdict: did I hate it as much as Catcher in the Rye? No. (Will I ever hate any book as much as I hate Catcher in the Rye? Unlikely. BUT THERE'S TIME.) Is it the best Robert Langdon book? Not by a long shot. Angels & Demons still is the best of the trilogy. Is it still vaguely enjoyable in the way only a Dan Brown book can be? Yes. Does Dan Brown's copy editor need to be publicly humiliated? YES AND HIS NAME IS APPARENTLY JASON KAUFMAN (according to the Acknowledgements, so I'm not like, stalking anyone here) AND GOOD LORD MAN, ONLY YOU CAN

    EDIT THIS INTO SOMETHING ENJOYABLE. EVERY TIME DAN BROWN DOESN'T KNOW HOW A VERB WORKS, KITTENS DIE.

    Also, if I ever have to read the words "neutered sex organ" again, I will be forced to remove my eyeballs and then pour bleach directly onto my brain.

    One more P.S., since I tweeted this and then forgot to include this here: Most unbelievable part of the plot? The Redskins are in the playoffs AND score on their opening possession. PLEASE TRY AGAIN, YOU FAIL AT HAVING SPORTS KNOWLEDGE.

  • John

    I liked Angels and Demons and I really liked The DaVinci Code but this latest of Dan Browns thrillers was barely worth the time, and definitely not worth the money.

    The Lost Symbol follows the familiar Dan Brown formula - an ominous conspiracy, a threat to end the world as we know it, a relentless villain, and a search for hidden secrets which require the decoding of obscure clues. This formula has given us a couple of fine thrillers, and has taken advantage of the authors familiarity with arcan

    I liked Angels and Demons and I really liked The DaVinci Code but this latest of Dan Browns thrillers was barely worth the time, and definitely not worth the money.

    The Lost Symbol follows the familiar Dan Brown formula - an ominous conspiracy, a threat to end the world as we know it, a relentless villain, and a search for hidden secrets which require the decoding of obscure clues. This formula has given us a couple of fine thrillers, and has taken advantage of the authors familiarity with arcane history, philology, symbolism, art and architecture. But even this intriguing texture would not be terribly interesting without the intrepid symbologist Robert Langdon to lead us through the perilous labyrinth at high speed. This time, Langdon must find the Freemason’s grand secret hidden in Washington, D.C. and evade both the CIA and a brilliant but scary villain, while rescuing a kidnapped friend and his sister.

    The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons were both intriguing and thrilling enough to overcome Mr. Brown's weak writing. But because The Lost Symbol’s plot is so much weaker, Brown’s sophomoric writing becomes much more obvious and ever more bothersome as the work progresses. For example, the formulaic mini-cliffhangers at the end of nearly every chapter became trite and annoying manipulations. Brown also employed several set-pieces of lecture and discovery that annoyingly repeat themselves. This book is full of Brownian cliches.

    I think that the credibility of this work is further undermined by using characters who are simultaneously brilliant and clueless. For instance, the intrepid and brilliant professor Langdon, who by now should be rather wary of mysterious invitations, flies to Washington D.C. at a moment's notice supposedly at a friend's request but without actually speaking to his friend. And even less credible, is that without direct confirmation, he brings with him a top-secret package that he swore to keep hidden at all costs.

    Similarly, the brilliant scientist Katherine doesn’t think to back up her life’s work of scientific research, and she allows a man she's met only once into her "top secret" laboratory because she receives a TEXT message purportedly from her brother who she admits doesn’t even know how to text. And these are not the only naive, and clueless people who should know better. The police and security guards are all hapless,and even the CIA director fails to question whether a suspect is lying when he says "I'll be there in 20 minutes."

    More disappointing still is that the main character of Robert Langdon seems to have been dumbed down in this book. He repeatedly is adamant about thus and such only to be subsequently shocked when the true meaning is revealed. He always requires two attempts to decipher the true meaning of clues - the first one which is obvious and turns out to be wrong, followed by the shocking epiphany. One would think that a Harvard professor would eventually learn that things are not always what they seem. In this work Robert Langdon spends more time being lectured than he does solving mysteries or puzzles. My recollection is that he figured out absolutely nothing critical in the last third of the book.

    Even more troubling than Brown’s weak and cliched characterization is that as the thriller reaches its climax, it becomes clear that the pieces do not fit together well. For instance, for most of the story, both the villain, and the CIA insist the stakes couldn't be higher, but in the end we learn that the potential danger is merely some bad public relations for a few powerful Masons. Why then is the CIA involved in this extortion plot - especially since it is legally barred from domestic law enforcement? The author simply fails to provide justification for all the black opps of the CIA counter- conspiracy despite their central role in the story.

    There are lots of problems with this book, but perhaps the its greatest flaw is Dan Brown’s failure to ever explain the main premise for the book, something he calls the Ancient Mysteries. The primary force that propels the plot is the implicit promise that in the end, a tangible secret will be uncovered. While the protagonist keeps asking if this grand secret is merely metaphorical, he is assured by friends, enemies and even the CIA that the secret is literal and potentially dangerous. But, in the end we learn that the grand secret for which people are willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes doesn’t really exist. What exactly is the point of the pyramid and the secret codes and symbols if the grand mystery is already found in every church, in nearly every home, and in even in all the hotel rooms in the country? Doesn't that make the entire plot pointless to begin with?

    OK, if it’s not clear yet, HERE IS THE BIG SPOILER: The great Masonic secret is the most widely published and read book in history - it is the Bible. Brown’s thesis is that the Bible is loaded with hidden wisdom, and once these biblical secrets are pointed out, people are going to be shocked that they didn't see them before. And then they are going to be transformed because they now know that they're one with God, or they're the same as God, or they are made of God, or some such new age mumbo-jumbo. So in the end the whole purpose of all the elaborate secrecy is that a few people think mankind may not be ready for a new age when human potential will be finally unleashed. So for centuries the inner circle of Masons have concocted elaborate means to hide this enlightenment from a world not ready for apotheosis. And so despite all the symbols and codes, the grand secret is really kept hidden in plain sight. So pay no attention to the coded mysteries behind the curtain.

    The ending of this story is an embarrassment. It may be the most anti-climactic, unsatisfying ending I have ever read. While the story kept claiming that earth shattering secrets were soon to be revealed, in the end all the paintings, pyramids, talismans, and other clues turned out to lead to nothing. They resolved nothing, they didn’t even leave us with a mystery yet unsolved. The mystery was solved, and it was an inconsequential whimper instead of a revelatory bang. It is my opinion that the author could not pull together the novel in the last chapters simply because there was nothing to pull together. There was no sweeping statement to be made and no grand secret to be revealed. This left me very unsatisfied at the story’s end.

    Theological addendum:

    Many Christians are offended by the idea of apotheosis which seems to be a core premise of Brown’s Masonic heroes. Though the idea of human deification has a long and ancient history in Christian thought, these critics have disowned the notion that Man can become like God, and consequently are offended when Brown places this mystery at the apex of his new-age amalgam of Masonry, religion and pseudo-science.

    As a Latter-day Saint (Mormon), I believe that having been literally created in God’s image, we each have the innate potential to become glorified and exalted through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My belief that man can become like god, is akin to the belief of Christian writers through the ages from Irenaus to C.S. Lewis. So deification doesn’t offend me at all. Ironically, however, I find myself in strong agreement with Christian critics who accuse Brown of idolatry for claiming that this apotheosis can occur merely through our own mystical consciousness raising efforts.

    The central message of the Bible, and most especially the New Testament is that such a dramatic transformation can only occur on God’s terms and by means of his power and grace. In contrast, Brown attempts to “spiritualize” or metaphorize all particularity and literal meaning out of the biblical text. To Brown’s heroes, the real meaning of the text is whatever the true mystic wants to find hidden within. His new-age hodge podge of religion is very convenient,non-demanding, self-asserting and self-serving. It is the opposite of God’s revealed truth which requires self-less obedience and devotion to God and our fellow men. The Bible’s central message of obedience and faith is not found in Brown’s mystical amalgam, nor in any other brand of humanism.

    Brown ironically attempts to bolster his view of an impersonal God and a godless salvation by selectively quoting the Bible, a book which persistently and powerfully testifies of a personal God - a Father in Heaven who knows us individually, and cares about helping us overcome our sins more than developing our mental, or psycho-kinetic capacities. I agree with those critics who claim that the God described, or implied by Brown is an idolatrous invention of man as surely as that of Odin, Zeus, Baal, or the God of the Greek philosophers whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

    In my view, Brown’s mishmash of new age nonsense intending to avoid dogma and doctrine, has very little point except to highlight that humans have enormous untapped potential. I don’t see anything revealing or revolutionary about this truism. I cannot conceive of such a benign observation creating any paradigm shift, nor can I imagine it unleashing pent-up human capacity. On the contrary, I think it is mankind’s persistent attempts to ignore the substantive teachings of the Bible that have bound us to telestial mediocrity.

    Even so, I suspect this theological critique is probably a bit over-the-top when you consider that this book is just a work of adventure fantasy. The Lost Symbol ought not to be taken too seriously. I don’t imagine that it will shape many people’s views of God, the Bible, or even religion in general. I don’t see The Lost symbol as much of a threat to my sacred beliefs, even though I thought I might as well throw in my two bits on the matter.

  • Jayson

    | Very Unsatisfactory

    Its secret society has no intriguing back-story, the villain is inappropriate and asinine, and the end revelation is lame.

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