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Book Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

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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.

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About Marty Dodge

  • Chris Bancells

    Thanks for the concise review, Marty. I was always a Dan Brown fan as well and enjoyed Deception Point and Angels & Demons much more than DaVinci. Nice point about the endings, too.

  • Chip Etier

    Brown is certainly a good story teller and obviously does thorough research. My disappointment is that he hasn’t varied his formula enough — although judging from sales, it has obviously worked!
    Being a history buff, his selection of topics has been a boon for me. This book helped me understand why my father was such a loyal fan of masonry. (He was a 32nd deg mason.)
    Like Chris B., I agree with your thoughts on Brown’s endings.

  • Henry H.

    While I felt the book started well, it seemed to fall down about halfway through, like Brown lost steam. The ending especially was really a letdown. I’m a fan of all these books, from Khoury’s The Last Templar, to Sandom’s The God Machine. Frankly, I thought those were better. I also like Sussman’s the Last Secret of the Temple. If you haven’t read them, give them a try.