23 August 2013


Author: Dan Brown
Series:  Robert Langdon, book 4
Year published: 2013
Pages: 480
Time It Took To Read: A day
Ah, Robert Langdon! A man whose life has been threatened far more times than is decent for a professor! A man who, despite confirmed bacherlorhood, finds himself regularly in the company of bendy, strong, intelligent women (/plot devices) who are invariably attracted to the older, distinguished Langdon! A man who remembers virtually everything he's ever read or seen regarding key pieces of art, historical documentation or architecture! A man with no budget! A man who knows everyone who can possibly be of use! A man whose primary function is solving a web of clues to find some deadly and advanced weapon of mass destruction!
But wait. Despite constantly saving the world, Langdon never recognises the villain, or villain's accomplice, among his acquaintances. He assumes everyone is exactly who they say they are and has pure motives. He is an ass, whose main function is the exposition of the author's collection of research.
I have read all Dan Brown's books. I enjoy the cultural references far more than the story, and Inferno certainly made me want to visit Florence (though not as much as Hannibal did). Unfortunately, Dan Brown only knows one plot - villain threatens world, hero+female accomplice thwarts him, realising at last moment that the villain is a previously mentioned friend. His two non-Langdon books are the same. This book does slightly deviate from the One Plot towards the end, but it's still almost identical most of the way through, to the point where you know perfectly well Dr Brookes will be his accomplice when she's described as 'willowy' on page five.
The premise is that Langdon's in Florence, with a brain injury and amnesia, chasing down a maniac who wants to decimate humanity. The maniac is (naturally) obsessed with Dante's Divine Comedy, specifically the Inferno, which is the masterpiece from where most modern inferences of hell are taken. Obviously, Langdon knows all about Dante and related art, and has taught endless knowing courses on it, and is a celebrated Dante expert among experts (ahem) but he can't actually remember what he's in Florence for.
Chaos ensues.
It does attempt to raise a few ethical questions about overpopulation, but has such a simplistic and unsatisfactory ending (which I won't give away), that I felt quite cheated. But that is Dan Brown - a holiday read in the finest tradition, but don't expect to be blown away by depth.
Book count: 39/50

No comments:

Post a Comment