BOOK TITLE: Inferno
AUTHOR: Dan Brown
NUMBER OF PAGES: 482
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Of course I am a big fan of Dan Brown. So his latest book had to be read immediately. So I waited for the paperback to hit stores and rushed to grab my copy.
The central theme of the latest Dan Brown novel ‘Inferno’ is centered on one line.
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
The novel featuring Harvard academician Robert Langdon has a real thriller for an opener. The prologue promises lot of intrigue and historical revelations, usual Dan Brown style (in his other Langdon based books, of course). The first chapter of the main part starts with a protagonist who apparently has a gunshot induced temporary memory loss. Readers simultaneously sympathise with the confused professor, who is taunted by recurring dreadful dreams asking him to ‘seek and find’ before time is lost. Langdon does not know the mysterious lady who urges him to seek and find but is desperate to help her because his intuition tells him to reach out to her. But are intuitions always right? To his shock, Langdon finds that the woman from his dreams is real and he knows her, too!
The protagonist continues his race against time, aided by a fiery, passionate and intelligent Dr. Sienna Brooks. Who helped him out of his “amnesia”. The two have secrets from each other, Langdon due to his inconvenient illness, and Sienna due to embarrassment. The professor has a curious object in his favorite Harris Tweed, a “Biometrically sealed” tube.
Based on cryptic clues from “The Divine Comedy”, a book of poems written by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, Langdon and Sienna evade a high profile security force and travel together through Florence, Italy. Churches and chapels and underground crypts – the usual Dan Brown landmarks feature here too! No spoilers by revealing exact locations!
In an adrenaline packed chase, Langdon finds himself once again a fugitive, running away from people who could help him and running to people who might harm him. In a suave twist in the book, he also finds himself a victim of robbery allegations, only, this time, the allegations are true. One man in the whole of Italy who could vouch for his actions is dead, in mysterious circumstances. Langdon takes the help of his historical knowledge to decipher and interpret Dante’s poem and clues left by a cryptic madman, written in insoluble ink behind a famous masterpiece.
On another side, an organization that calls itself “The Consortium” furiously tries to prevent Langdon from uncovering the whole mystery, to support its long dead client. Friends turn to foes, as the professor rushes away from a life threat desperately trying to prove his innocence. Suddenly all is not what it seems.
Too many people are confused and deluded by Langdon’s mysterious behaviour because his medical condition is kept a secret. The page turning element of the story is Langdon’s easy memory of History rather than “his” story. Is this amnesia permanent? Or is at least natural? Every revelation poses more questions than it answers.
Throughout the story, Langdon is unsure whom to feel pity for, or whom to stay close too. Is the calamity a matter of national security? Why was it entrusted to a simple College Professor? Both the protagonist’s and the readers’ minds whirl with a vortex of questions, most answers of which are surprising and breathtaking.
A misrepresentation of facts leads Langdon to a wrong location in his chase costing valuable time. The trail leads to Istanbul in Turkey before long where the story culminates in a not so thrilling climax. The readers are left with a void after the high on adrenaline chase as the end is neither justified nor apt. But political limitations and story theme realities do put a barricade to giving a satisfying end.
But all is not what it seems in this story!
Langdon finds his chase useless as the calamity has come to pass and the race is not against the future but against the past. All in all, an engaging read, a thrilling story line, usual Brown style, and a politically correct albeit little lacking ending. But it does not disappoint Dan Brown fans. Go for it!
P.S.: As usual, the portrayal of scenes from the book is not only accurate in historical value, but also a thoroughly enjoyable visualization, bringing the readers to the place that is described.
PLUS: Typical Brown style racy narrative, accurate history and really engrossing plot line.
MINUS: Typical Brown style quirky ending, all the chase and adrenaline rush dropping in the end is like stepping out of a vivid dream into reality and the slap is hard.
VERDICT: Of course go for it. Dot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible.
BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Inferno-Novel-Random-House-Large/dp/0804121060/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1380124425