Finished 3-31-11, rating 4/5, thriller, 639 pages, pub. 2009
“Traditionally, ma’am, it was used as an invitation.”
“An invitation…to what?” she demanded.
Langdon looked down at the symbols on his friend’s severed hand. “For centuries, the Hand of the Mysteries served as a mystical summons. Basically, it’s an invitation to receive secret knowledge-protected wisdom known only to an elite few.”
Sato folded her thin arms and stared up at him with jet-black eyes. “Well, Professor, for someone who claims to have no clue why he’s here…you’re doing quite well so far.”
Robert Langdon, famous symbologist of the DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons, is back. Langdon has been invited by an old friend, current head of the Smithsonian Institute, to give a lecture in Washington DC that very day. Short on time, but with an old lecture ready to go he boards a private plane and is off. Only when he arrives at the Capitol for his lecture he is not greeted by a welcoming crowd, but a hand. The dismembered hand of his friend was left there to convince Langdon to help a madman in exchange for his friend’s life. So, begins another stressful all-nighter in the Langdon saga.
I appreciated that this one utilized Washington DC and its rich history. I love that city and had fun imagining Langdon racing around on familiar territory. This book was a manual for the Freemasons, their beliefs and influence on the fathers of the country. It was also a nice introduction to the Noetic Sciences, which I knew nothing about, but found very interesting. This was another controversial look at history from Dan Brown and one that may have you looking at the 2012 prophecy about the end of the world in a new light.
Having read the first two Langdon books and liked them both, I confess that this was not as good. There was drama and a badass bad guy, but the situations Langdon found himself in never felt dire. The CIA kept saying finding the bad guy was a matter of national security, but it took way too long to find out why. The bad guy himself painted quite a mental picture since he was covered in tatoos from head to toe and I actually liked that part of the story. Once again, Langdon was all about solving clues and racing against the clock to find the next piece of the puzzle and that was fun. But maybe it was because I didn’t find the Freemason conspiracy story as interesting as Dan Brown did. He included a lot of detail and not all of it really moved the story forward.
I think if you enjoyed the first two that you will also enjoy this one, but for me it is the weakest of the three. And the ending, while not bad, wasn’t really satisfying. I’m assuming Tom Hanks will be back on the big screen as Langdon and I look forward to it, if only because I want to see DC in all of her glory.