After all the pre-release hype and the sneering from certain fellow writers it comes down to the actual novel. For the first time in a very long time I have to say that The Lost Symbol exceeds my expectations. I went through a Dan Brown phase, ironically before The DaVinci Code hoopla. What always irked me about his writing is that it was too convenient and he could not write an ending for toffee.
I can report that both of those problems are much abated in this release. Granted a central character to all this has the last name Solomon and the novel has a lot to do with Masons (Solomon, the original, figures highly in their lore). The "plot-twist" at the end was pretty obvious to anyone paying attention. Neither of those two things matters, because Brown now has an ending that is believable and fits nicely with the plot. The lead up to the finale is graceful, logical, and worthy of the conclusion. The characters make some interesting observations along the way, and, incidentally, it seems that Dan Brown reads many of the same non-fiction books I do.
The experience is much improved for those who know a bit about Masonry and Washington, D.C., but I am sure everyone who gives The Lost Symbol a chance will enjoy it. While being a very visual novel it does not read like a movie script turned into a novel. With all it has going for it, what more can you expect from a mainstream thriller? The fact that I was pleasantly surprised about how well it was written is just a bonus.