Dan Brown has produced another Robert Langdon tale for all his multitude of fans. Instead of a religious thriller, Inferno involves Dante, a lunatic environmental scientist and a plague (of sorts). It is quite a page-turner and surprisingly satisfying a read. Those expecting another money-spinner with substandard writing might just have been proven wrong.
Hell, Brown even managed to overcome his habitual inability to write a satisfying ending. No longer do you feel “robbed” by an ending that doesn’t really wrap things up in a logical, believable way. If for that alone, this might be his best-written book to date.
Yes, quite a bit of it is awfully convenient to drive the story along, but after all Brown writes glorified airport thrillers that are a meant to be read on a long flight. This is not a literature and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Fortunately it doesn’t read, like some of his books, like the treatment for movie with a thin veneer of a novel. It is not one glorified chase scene with few breathers.
Furthermore, the storyline of a brilliant scientist deciding to cull the human herd is not that outlandish. A scientist from the University of Texas actually advocated a plague to kill 90% of the population a few years ago. Nor is this scientist the only one wishing a plague on humanity to reduce the Earth’s population.
So Brown is not exactly making a huge leap of faith. Granted, I am not sure any of the scientists known for holding such views would carry out their plan in the convoluted way of Brown’s evil genius.
Of course being Brown there is all sorts of other intrigue, including a mercenary organization and an albino bald woman with an enormous IQ. His tendency to toss is all kinds of outlandish asides in the middle of his tale remains. Suspending disbelief always helps in reading a Brown book; this one being no exception to that rule.
Also remaining is his tendency to toss travel-log like descriptions of the various locales into the tale.
Unlike many of his past books, however, there is little for religious types to get upset about in this book. Thought I am sure one could probably find something if one looked hard enough, but it is not that obvious.
Inferno: A Novel does exactly what you expect it to and not much more. Brown fans will be satiated, critics will sneer and Brown will sell oodles of books. The movie will drop in a few years, naturally.
Then again more people reading Dante couldn’t hurt could it? And I am sure Florence and Venice will appreciate the influx of tourists, considering the state of the Italian economy.
Overall, another enjoyable tale involving Langdon. A recommended book to have around for your next cross-country journey by plane or train.