“Inferno” by Dan Brown

Inferno cover

I will not be “a spoiler” in this book review.  You may proceed.  

Once again, Dan Brown has written a remarkable thriller that moves at the speed of light!  I read it in three days.  You have to wonder how his library at home looks and how much he has traveled and read himself in order to come up with all the facts in his novels.  It’s a delight to go on these whirlwind globe trekking adventures with him.  I dare say, it’s the main reason we bother with some of the predictable “Brownian” features in his books.  He’s always with a woman antagonist or cohort in the adventure.  You always feel like you’re in a “Clue Game” where the clues are in the form of a symbol hidden in a secret passageway or doorway.  A villain is always chasing him and trying to kill him.  There is always an evil institution with lots of money and power behind the conspiracy.  And Langdon always has his tweed coat and loafers on.  I think it’s cute.

But in this particular novel, I was starting to unravel as a reader, even getting frustrated.  During the whole story, 80% into the book, Langdon has amnesia, he doesn’t know why everyone is trying to kill him, he doesn’t remember the last 2 days of his life, he doesn’t know why he is where he is, and we have no answers.  We’re not sure who anyone is or why!  Brown delays wrapping things up for all of that time.  I found it un-nerving; even passive.  In every other Brown novel, Langdon was lucid.  In this one, he is passive.  His female cohort, Sienna Brooks is very smart, very assertive, and controls their every move!

None of the reviewers (New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, or the Boston Globe) made mention of the fact that Brown seems to have put the female gender in the spotlight, front and center in this book.  Other than his buddy Sienna, the head of the W.H.O. is a female, Elizabeth Sinsky, and the woman in black leather on the motorcycle working for the Provost is a very assertive character. The book ends with the two of them on top, shaking things up.  No one mentioned that.  Well, now I have.

I heartily recommend this book.  Try to stay with it and don’t make any assumptions about how it’s going to end.  The way he wound it down surprised and pleased me.  Now, it’s food for thought.  The subject of over-population and genetic manipulation looms large in “Inferno”.  Brown could have made it loom larger, but I guess Langdon forgot about it due to his amnesia.  Pity.


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