My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 momk 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.”
Copyright (c) 2009 by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.