Too many ‘Lost Symbols’ for one reporter

February 11, 2010 — by Nandini Ruparel

Starting with “Angels and Demons” and going on to pen the best-selling “Da Vinci Code”, author Dan Brown has made a name for himself writing smart thrillers involving fictional college professor Robert Langdon. Brown a lot of hopes riding on his latest installment in the Langdon series, “The Lost Symbol”, which came out last September.

“The Lost Symbol” follows Langdon as he goes to visit an older friend named Peter Solomon in Washington, D.C. After getting there, he realizes that both Solomon and his sister are in danger and must follow a series of symbols and clues left by a madman in order to save them. Along the way, he encounters a psychotic CIA agent, a secret society called the Freemasons, and a tattooed freak.

As shown in his previous books, Brown has a love affair with a convoluted plot and shocking revelations at every turn. Similarly, “The Lost Symbol” is structured in a way that keeps the reader in the dark and teases him or her with little hints of the truth. As if this isn’t confusing enough, Brown also employs the tactic of flashbacks, which makes it hard to keep track of the timeline of the book. If one is able to read the whole book in a single sitting, “The Lost Symbol” makes for a great read. However, it is 528 pages, and that makes it a bit more difficult—if you come back to read it after dinner, you’d better remember exactly what you were reading about before because it’s very easy to get lost between the pages of this book.

That’s not to say that “The Lost Symbol” is poorly written. Brown is a magnificent writer; he draws the reader in with amazing descriptions and his prose is very well developed. No matter how confusing the book’s plot is, the writing is clear and the sentences are succinct and to the point. Brown employs a unique style; it is fun to read his books.

The bottom line? While “The Lost Symbol” may be a bestseller, it’s a difficult read. Unless you’re a very advanced reader, or have a lot of time on your hands, put “The Lost Symbol” on your summer reading list rather than your “leisure-reading” list. As awesome as the book is, it’s not exactly book-report material.