I was excited to read this book. Knowing that Dan Brown was writing a story centered around the Freemasons, I actually bought a book and read about the Masonic movement to "prepare" myself for Dan Brown's latest outing. I blogged about that here.
As I mentioned in that post, reading about the Freemasons and knowing that a lot of the alleged history cannot be proven and is regarded by Freemasons themselves as unlikely to be true has made the Freemasons a lot less mysterious or as interesting as I thought they were.
Anyway, the entire 500-odd pages of the book covers a time span of less than 24 hours. Really! The book starts of with the now famous symbologist from Harvard, Professor Robert Langdon receiving a last-minute call from one of his best friends secretary, a 33rd degree Mason by the name of Peter Solomon to give a keynote address for a function in Washington D.C. in which the originally intended speaker made a last-minute cancellation. The secretary has also asked Robert to bring a small package which Peter Solomon has entrusted him for safekeepping. Robert agrees and decided to use a lecture covering the elements of Masonry in Washington D C's architecture since he had given a similar lecture before and he has kept the notes.
Robert is then whisked off to Washington D.C. in a luxurious private jet and was brought to the The Capitol (a very famous landmark in Washington DC) in a limo. Arriving just in the nick of time at The Capitol he rushes to the designated lecture hall. Instead he finds a severed hand in which the fingers are pointing to the fresco on the ceiling. Upon close examination of the severed hand, he recognises the hand to be that of his dear friend, Peter Solomon.
The CIA gets into the picture as they claim that this case has serious ramifications on US's national security. Robert recognises some strange symbols tattooed on the severed hand's fingers.
Later, it was revealed that Peter Solomon was kidnapped by a muscular, extensively-tattooed baddie named Mal'akh. Mal'akh, being the bad guy that he is has also lured Peter's attractive sister, Katherine Solomon into letting himself into Katherine's laboratory in The Smithsonian Institute. Katherine dabbles in the research into a new branch of science known as Noetic Science. What is Noetic Science? I don't NOE! (But if you want to know(noe), try going to this site).
Want to know more? Then, get off your butt, go to the bookstore, purchase a copy of the book and read it yourself, then!
The style is similar to his other novels. It's hard to put it down once you have started but being someone who has read all of his previous novels, some parts do get a tad predictable. There are a few "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" moments here and there. I find some of the plot twists a bit too bizarre. It's also hard to imagine how Professor Robert Langdon, despite being the very clever person that he is made out to be, can have a long train of thought within less than a minute to death, literally.
Over all, it still is an entertaining read if you just overlook the bizarreness of the rationale for certain situations.
My rating: 2.7 over 5
Message: If you're a Dan Brown fan, get this book for your collection. If you're not, just wait for the movie. It's due to be out in 2012, apparently.