Inferno

Inferno

In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered...

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Title:Inferno
Author:Dan Brown
Rating:
ISBN:0385537859
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:461 pages

Inferno Reviews

  • Ashley
    Jan 15, 2013

    I guess this will fulfill my yearly quota for Mickey Mouse watch-clad academics who solve ancient conspiracy filled puzzles.

    - - -

    : Sometimes, I feel like Dan Brown is my nemesis.

    In interviews, he comes off as a smart, earnest guy (if a bit of an academic dweeb*) who has an obsession for puzzles, old art and conspiracy theories, but also as a guy who has no idea how to laugh at himself. He seems to take his own work very seriously, and gets his feelings hurt by even the eensiest teen

    I guess this will fulfill my yearly quota for Mickey Mouse watch-clad academics who solve ancient conspiracy filled puzzles.

    - - -

    : Sometimes, I feel like Dan Brown is my nemesis.

    In interviews, he comes off as a smart, earnest guy (if a bit of an academic dweeb*) who has an obsession for puzzles, old art and conspiracy theories, but also as a guy who has no idea how to laugh at himself. He seems to take his own work very seriously, and gets his feelings hurt by even the eensiest teeny baby criticism. He writes the same four or five characters over and over in every book he’s ever written. He writes books that have sold millions of copies but he has no idea how to write a character that doesn’t flounce around his stories like a puppet with his hand up its ass. He seems to enjoy writing books that will make people tear their hair out in fits of aplopleptic rage. Once, I’m pretty sure he compared himself to Shakespeare, but I can’t find the article right now so you’ll just have to trust me, I guess. He completely disavows the notion that he writes with a formula**. The public image he’s created for himself sometimes gives me a strong urge to chew up nearby scrap paper and then spit it at the back of his head. And I’ve never hocked a spitball in my life.

    *

    **

    His books are similarly easy to riff on, and

    is no exception. Actually, as the fourth Robert Langdon book, it’s the easiest, because it’s becoming increasingly obvious through repetition what his limited repertoire of tricks consists of. Namely: Repetitive plot, repetitive characters, the traitor, the global organization, the puzzle plot (for no reason at all in this one seemingly), etc, etc. See above formula. But the Langdon books in particular have their own special vocabulary. For Langdon himself, you can’t go two pages without one of the following being mentioned: the Harris Tweed that he wears (in apparent defiance of the establishment which scorns the apparel as ‘nerdy’?), his Mickey Mouse watch, the fact that he is in exceptional shape for his age because he swims every morning, his great head of hair (something always noted by other characters, not Langdon himself), having characters applaud or notice how handsome Langdon is, young chicks falling for him all the time, and my personal favorite, how the only thing he thinks about besides his scholarly pursuits is that one time as a child he got stuck in a well, and apparently he never really left. It’s apparent to me that Dan Brown clearly works out his own fantasies, desires, and frustrations in the pages of his books. Bottom line: there’s a lot to criticize in a Dan Brown book.

    HOWEVER.

    (This is where this review will take a 180 and flip positions, so if you’re one of those people who are uncomfortable admitting that even the worst written book might have something worthwhile to offer (THE PLEBES AND THE STUPIDS LIKE IT SO I MUST NEVER) back out from this page slowly and go elsewhere on the interwebs.)

    Here is my point to counteract – or maybe encompass is the better word – the points above. Even if the above points are true, and I believe they are, they do not affect my enjoyment of the book. Look, you don’t read a Dan Brown novel for great writing. You just don’t***. You read a Dan Brown novel to be carried along on a plot going the same exact speed of one of those fancy foreign high-speed trains. You read a Dan Brown book to see historical facts and famous pieces of art placed in new context, or maybe just to learn something. You read it for the secrets and the conspiracies and the ridiculously high stakes the plot hinges on. You read it for the red herrings and the betrayals. (If you’re like me, you also read it so that every time Dan Brown writes something with a Dan Brown flair, you can shake your head or laugh loudly or use whatever sort of exclamations you prefer –

    , you say, mentally patting him on the head with simultaneous affection and frustration.) You read it to find out what crazy thing he’s written about next, and to find out just how many and what types of people he’s going to piss off next. You read it to be fucking entertained. In that respect, this book is pretty much a success.

    ***

    Also, for as much shit as people give Dan Brown, I think he’s good at quite a lot of things that get overlooked most of the time. He’s really good at research, for one thing – the wealth of historical detail he uncovers in his books is extremely thorough, and I’d be willing to bet the amounts of information he uncovers that he doesn’t put in his books is rather large. I also think it’s notable that the historical and artistic bits he does include are nearly always very interesting. For another thing, in terms of the genre he’s writing in (the thriller), his writing is top notch. I’ve read a lot of thrillers by other authors, and in comparison, Dan Brown is something of a wordsmith. On a related note, the purpose of the thriller is to thrill — to create suspense. So while one might consider his short chapters that 99% of the time end in cliffhangers as ‘hacky,’ you might also want to consider them ‘effective’. They serve their purpose — they get you to turn the page. And finally, and maybe most significantly, Dan Brown has a definite talent for finding our cultural panic buttons and then pushing on them real hard. The effect of this is that he works through in his novels issues that we face every day, and he does so in a venue that can be sold candy-coated to a consumer mass public that would otherwise barf up similar information in reflexive panic.

    The last thing I want to say about Dan Brown and this book is the reason that I ended up giving it four stars instead of three. That reason is ballsiness. He tries to break up his formula in this one, and in some ways he succeeds. It was an interesting experiment in

    to have the plot start with Langdon unable to recall where he is or why he’s in Italy, with a gunshot wound to the head. From there, he has to piece together his recent past and solve a mystery he’s already solved once before all over again. This adds an extra layer of confusion to the plot that his previous three Langdon books were missing. He also shakes up his infamous traitor plot a little, but I won’t say too much more about that just in case you’re going to read it for yourself. But the most significant reason I say he has balls is the ending to this book.

    I mean, that’s just unheard of in this genre. I won’t get into the politics of it, but in terms of story, I really think that ending saved this book.

    I could probably go on, but as this is my 52nd review of the year and it’s almost 2,000 words, I think I’ll just leave it at that.

    (I still kind of want to throw spitballs at the back of Dan Brown’s thick head of hair. Anybody know if he’s doing a signing in AZ?)

  • Deska
    Jan 17, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. Thou personally I think it's a bit different than the other previous three books. The other three books have similarities in having a story plot that creating a really blur line between history and fiction. But in this fourth book, the history is like the inspiration of the fiction story, but I still liked it and gave it 3.5 stars.

    I really enjoyed the thrill and excitement of Langdon adventure. And as a former international security student, I have an understanding re

    I really enjoyed this book. Thou personally I think it's a bit different than the other previous three books. The other three books have similarities in having a story plot that creating a really blur line between history and fiction. But in this fourth book, the history is like the inspiration of the fiction story, but I still liked it and gave it 3.5 stars.

    I really enjoyed the thrill and excitement of Langdon adventure. And as a former international security student, I have an understanding regarding on security threats and this book is really interesting especially in that part. We all know about biological weapon and act of terrorism, but this book offers something that I haven't thought about before regarding on that issue. And it is so exciting.

    Overall, it is such an enjoyable read and very easy to digest. Thou it's not amazing, but still worth to read. :)

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I am just wishing that this book will be better than The Lost Symbol.. That one was a major fail of the series.. Hope it'll be amazing..

  • Mohammed Arabey
    Feb 10, 2013

    It starts with

    Nightmare

    Waking up in Florence far from home,not knowing how he even got here

    With a head wound and a hellish nightmare, of inferno to come

    And by trying to solve the codes & puzzles of his chaotic situation, he find out that he must travel again...and

    It starts with

    Nightmare

    Waking up in Florence far from home,not knowing how he even got here

    With a head wound and a hellish nightmare, of inferno to come

    And by trying to solve the codes & puzzles of his chaotic situation, he find out that he must travel again...and again

    Although authorities and assissants hired by mysterious 'Consortium' trying to catch him and have all the means to track him, What's worst that they don't hesitate to shooting pullets on him..

    And This time all that is not for the sake of Vatican Cardinals, or to unlock a code kept hidden by secret successors of the Knights Templar, or saving The Mason's Secrets..

    This time it's for the sake of the Globe...The World we're living in.

    Based on a hell of a theory by 19th century Malthus , predicted the real current chaos of the global over population and its hell of consequences, the story get its hell of plot, which as I said more dangerous,really darker than ever and even more confusing.

    For me the light Dan shed on this problem really scared the hell out of me.

    and encrusting it with Dante's Inferno wasn't really helping but to increase the fear of the future...

    Actually that made me a bit confused and somehow taking side with the 'villain' in this novel...it was a serious dilemma , I didn't know how I really want this novel to end..

    But Dan Brown really know how to make a suitable ending, as I loved his ending in his

    cause let's admit that ending a bomb in the last 3 seconds is silly ending unless it's done smartly and perfect...

    I won't say more about the plot, since I think telling even the tiniest bit of it would be a bit of spoiler of the thrilling novel.

    Though it's different since the very early beginning...as Dan Brown choice was of work of literal, as he said at the Illustrated Edition preface..

    Yet it still packed with Historical, Symbols and Art references

    The splendid tour/chase in the early morning of Florence..

    The amazing perfect choice of Venice to be a metaphor for the crises of over population.

    Even the small glimpse of Philippines with the metaphor of the inferno of Malthus' Theory.

    And that other great metaphor of the New met the Old, East met the West , the Christian art met the Islamic symbols..the End of our Journey here..Turkey.

    All these secret places, and marvellous golden Art , Halls and Buildings..

    Mixing that all as usual with the thriller packed novel..

    Characters here was perfect too... the special mind of Sienna Brooks leads Robert Langdon just as Vargil leads Dante through his Inferno...

    The Silver Beauty of Life and Health verses the Mask of Death...the Transhumanist ambitious..who turned manic - Again I can't blame him much, I almost turned one like him reading this novel.

    Those characters will help in other kind of references, science, medical information, trivial ones about how mind work and the conversion from dark topics -like this novel- to lighter ones ,say

    And of course Every Character is deep enough ...and surprises are always guaranteed with Dan Brown..

    These are dark times my friends, dark times...

    And I believe That a story like this required too much efforts to make a good ending..

    Yet It's perfect to me ... as satisfying as having a watch for Christmas of my favorite character :)

    As I said I was facing the same mixing feeling about how I wanted his

    would end..And same here.. and Dan Brown really made it right.

    It's a great story , a great enriching journey ...That's why I recommended the Illustrated Edition at my pre-review "here --->

    That would make your journey easier than searching while reading, yet you'll find the craving for more pictures and videos and may be a visit for these places..

    Mohammed Arabey

    From 16 Feb. 2015

    To 25 Feb. 2015["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Elius
    May 17, 2013

    Allow me to summarize every Dan Brown novel ever:

    An unsuspecting but intelligent protagonist is called up in the middle of the night. Someone very powerful and possibly related with the authorities needs his expertise that only the protagonist can provide. A well-known figure has died and that started a chain of events with catastrophic consequences. The authorities need our protagonist's help to solve a puzzle left by our instigator just before he died, which has some clue in to the nature of

    Allow me to summarize every Dan Brown novel ever:

    An unsuspecting but intelligent protagonist is called up in the middle of the night. Someone very powerful and possibly related with the authorities needs his expertise that only the protagonist can provide. A well-known figure has died and that started a chain of events with catastrophic consequences. The authorities need our protagonist's help to solve a puzzle left by our instigator just before he died, which has some clue in to the nature of our ticking time bomb.

    Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, a secret organization has dispatched an assassin who must fulfill tasks that would have huge social ramifications all throughout the world. What the assassin and the secret organization don’t know is that the purpose of the assassin/secret organization and the purpose of the person directing the assassin/secret organization, which is our antagonist, is entirely different.

    While our protagonist is running from the assassin and solving said puzzle (which has to be solved within 24 hours), he is joined by a young, beautiful and intelligent woman related somehow with dead man/instigator. At the very last moments of the book we have a final reveal: the protagonist knew the antagonist from the very start! He was being manipulated the whole time!

    The book ends with the antagonist succeeding somehow. The protagonist and the readers are left with a moral question on whether the antagonist is truly the villain... or did he do something that actually benefits the whole world.

    --

    Is Inferno different from other Dan Brown books you ask? No it's not. There are minor variations to Brown's tried and tested formula, but it will not add anything to your reading experience. The book is recycled to its core. In fact, depending on how many of Brown's books you have read, you can see the twists coming based on the number of pages left.

    tl;dr: Don't waste your time

  • Will Byrnes
    May 31, 2013

    The heat is on. There is, of course, a deadline. A mad scientist of a Dante super-fan, who takes theatrical delight in referring to himself as

    , would like to bring about a great renaissance for humanity, a reawakening similar to the one that occurred following the Black Plague. As with that earlier event,

    , a Batman villain if ev

    The heat is on. There is, of course, a deadline. A mad scientist of a Dante super-fan, who takes theatrical delight in referring to himself as

    , would like to bring about a great renaissance for humanity, a reawakening similar to the one that occurred following the Black Plague. As with that earlier event,

    , a Batman villain if ever there was one, would like to cull the world’s population by, oh, say, a third. Malthus lives, and has spawned a group of die-hard Transhumanists who think we and our planet would be a lot better off were there significantly fewer of us using up space, air, water, et al, and hogging the remotes. Robert Langdon, returned to duty after sundry life-threatening adventures in

    ,

    , and

    , has been called in to decipher the clues to where and how Mister Zobrist, (we can’t call him

    for 463 pages, can we?) conveniently dead in the opening, has set his viral bomb to go off. Or was he? Langdon wakes up in an ER, with a head wound, a distinctly fuzzy recollection of the recent past and thinks he is back in Massachusetts.

    didn't design any buildings in New England. That large dome you see out the window means you are in Florence. Oops. And, by the way, there is a well armed, nicely leather-clad biker person heading down the hall, weapons blazing. Check please. He and Doc McSmokin’, a 208 IQ, blonde, pony-tailed physician, named Sienna Brooks, dash out ahead of the ordnance and the game is afoot. This offers an example of something that is entirely depressing. Had that been an American hospital there is no way he could have gotten out without having to sign insurance forms or promissory notes, guns blazing or not. (Mister Langdon. We need you to sign here, here, here, and initial here, here and here. You, with the gun, take a number and have a seat.)

    Woodward and Bernstein, in

    , report on G. Gordon Liddy holding his hand over a flame at a dinner party to impress someone or other. He held it long enough to singe himself, and cause alarm in those present. When he was asked “What’s the trick?” he answered, “The trick is not minding.” Reading a book of Daniel Brown’s is a far cry from holding one’s hand over an open flame. But there are elements to reading his work that are certainly painful. There are benefits to be had, things to be learned, issues to be raised, but there are clichés to be endured, characterizations to be tolerated,

    to be ignored. I suppose one might think of it as a form of Purgatory. You can certainly enjoy the good while putting up with the bad. The trick is not minding the latter.

    One does not descend into reading Dan Brown’s infernal novel expecting literary power. There are certain formulae at work, and if you are not prepared to be led along, keeping the blinders firmly affixed for the duration, you might do better to read something else with the several hours it takes to work your way through the levels in

    . (Yes, there are some) We do not expect to find work similar to that of, say, Louise Erdrich, or Ron Rash, and it would be unfair, not to say unkind, to apply to Brown the metrics applied to writers of more serious fiction. But then, what standards

    we apply?

    There are two general qualities that merit our attention here, and more specific elements within each. Is it entertaining? Is it informative?

    Entertaining

    Informative

    Sure. While not, for me at least, as engaging as

    , I kept turning all 463 pages, eager to find out what there was to be found, info and plot-wise. But I was not exactly panting to get back to the book at every free moment.

    Is the Pope Argentinian? This is what Brown does. Aside from the sort of occasional interruptions that might give the wearer of a pace-maker the sweats, (noted in more detail below) he keeps things moving along. I was reminded of an old (1912) adventure tale,

    , by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That book was also a series. Battle, capture, rescue, escape, repeat, with bits of information about some underlying subject in the book tossed in to grease the narrative wheels. Ditto here.

    Speaking of greasing, you will need to have some eye drops handy to avoid chafing from frequent eye-rolling. It seems that every time there is a need to gain access to some large institution, Brown trots out what seems almost a running joke of Robert Langdon having some relationship with the person in charge. I bet if Langdon needed 3am access to the UFO museum in Roswell, we would learn that he had tracked aliens with the museum director and had contributed a live specimen from the Crab Nebula at some time in the not too distant past. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets? It wasn’t Washington who poohed there, or presented a monograph at the esteemed institution that resulted in such a large inflow of contributions that the institution was flush for a considerable period.

    In a related matter, I was reminded of two cinematic clichés in particular. In one, the hero and heroine pause as the world collapses around them to engage in a lengthy soulful smooch. (Pay no attention to that incoming missile. Enjoy.) In the second, a child dashes back to the burning-building or alien-infested-spaceship to retrieve her (choose one - favorite stuffy, kitten, puppy, photo of long dead (but really only missing) mother or father). Brown spares us kittens and overlong liplocks, for the most part, but while Langdon and this volume’s Bond girl are dashing from persistent threats like a Florida race track rabbit, (who

    those dogs?) Brown pauses the action every so often, inserts himself and his research into the narrative (Bob, Si, relax. We’ll pick this up again after lunch), and offers up the occasional art history lesson. I’m not saying that these are not informative and sometimes fun (as in the case of a particularly organ-rich Plaza della Signoria)

    from The Museums of Florence

    but it does alter the flow in a breathlessly paced novel to…um…take a breather. All right guys, up and at ‘em. Ready, set, flee.

    Truthfully, it is tough not to care about a character that has the face of Tom Hanks ironed onto it, but yeah, I guess, although a lot less than a whole lot of other fictional people. It is fun to see Langdon attempting to recover his memory and figure out who that mysterious woman he keeps seeing in vision-flashes might be. Sienna Galore has a pretty interesting back-story, a large brain, and the usual physical assets required for Brown’s kicked-up Bond-girl roles. So sure, why not. Aside from those two, only a little here and there. Character is not the thing in Dan Brown books.

    As a straight up read, forgetting for the moment one’s analytical inclinations, yes. Brown does revel in puzzles and there are more secrets embedded in

    than there are candied items in a fruit cake. And some are quite delicious. (OK, I hereby out myself as a weirdo who likes fruit cake). Unlike one’s experience with fruit cake, however, you will miss out on that weighty feeling of having ingested a brick. Literarily,

    is a lot more like chiffon cake than its denser cousin. Also there are enough twists to keep the cap machines at the Nogara Coke bottling factory busy for a long time.

    Si! We learn of a mysterious transnational entity, that Brown swears is based on a real organization, that smoothes out the curves so that people of questionable motives, but certain resources, can go about their business unimpeded. The head of this group might have been well served with a fluffy white kitty and a pinky ring. Brown offers some nifty tour guides to this and that location in several cities, and a fair bit of history on Dante and his most famous bit of writing. He offers some illuminating details on this or that building, painting and sculpture, including where it might have traveled over the centuries (well, not the buildings, of course) and whether the version we see today is a fully original specimen. He also gives us a very good reason to take a tour of the secret passageways in Old World cities.

    from Wiki commons

    Leaving aside prophets and their like, before there were mononymous sorts like Liberace, Elvis and Madonna, even earlier than sorts like that English playwright, there was Durante degli Aligheri, known to a certain childhood acquaintance, Beatrice, as that boy who wouldn’t stop staring at her, known to certain priors in Florence as the guy who refused to pay his fine and was thus banned for life, and known to us in the 21st century as Dante.

    by Michelino from Wikimedia

    If you find Dante and his best-known work of interest, and really, you should, this book is a lot of fun. Of course what constitutes

    is almost always in the eye of the beholder. If your thing is video games, well then not so much. (on the other hand, there actually is a lot here that does remind one of video game action, so I take that back) But if you are fascinated with old world history, art and architecture, Dante, the Black Death, Malthusian concerns, and the potential impact of a large human die-off, then

    .

    . Two in fact. One of the major elements in the story is the determination by our psycho-scientist billionaire sort that human population is about to reach a dangerous level, one which is likely to trigger all sorts of catastrophes. There are various ways one can address this concern, but the underlying concern is quite real. Brown does us all a service by bringing it to the attention of millions of readers. Another element here is the notion of “Transhumanism.” Basically this entails humans taking charge of our own evolution and using all the technology available to us to ensure maximization of our physical and intellectual capacities. Whether one sees this as a Satanic plot, yet another opportunity for the haves to have even more, or the beginning of a new human renaissance, the subject is worth checking out.

    In some ways yes and in some ways no. There is validity to the underlying science. But would the baddie really leave a breadcrumb trail for potential foilers to his big bang?

    That said, it can be fun to descend into the bowels of the earth, or the watery substructures of ancient architectural marvels, however many levels down you care to go.

    Whether you think that Dan Brown belongs in literary heaven, Hades or somewhere in between, he makes a wonderful Virgil, leading us on an interesting journey, and showing us some things we might not have ever imagined. It may not qualify as a divine book, but

    is one hell of a read.

    PS - One must note that the end of all three parts of Dante’s

    (the Divine was added later) end with the word “stars.” Brown does not disappoint on that score.

    And I am sure there is significance to the fact that there are 104 chapters in the book, (plus a prologue and an epilogue, so 106) but I have not been able to suss out exactly what. There are 99 cantos in the

    , maybe a couple more with this or that added, but I do not know how one can fluff that up to 106. Yet, I am sure there is an explanation. When (if) I find it I will include it here.

    WB2051

    This review is cross-posted at

    ==============================

    Apparently the city of Manila

    at a negative characterization in the book

    An

    of Dante’s work

    Wiki article on

    Washington Post

    Janet Maslin’s

    , which includes a wonderful observation re the book’s publication date

    WSJ piece on how Dan Brown

    on his story lest copycats scoop him

    For some

    and info on the Vasari Corridor

    If you get the urge, you can read Dante’s masterpiece for free thanks to the

    If you believe that Dan Brown should be relegated to one of the lower levels of hell, you might enjoy this piece in The Daily Beast, by Noah Charney, who clearly enjoys pointing out all the

    GR friend

    reminds us that there is a wonderful piece by Rodin,

    , that is worth a look.

    Here is a nice

    with Brown from the June 20, 2013, NY Times, part of their

    series

    Some interesting images and notions on Dante's hell, on a web post called

    12/3/13 - The results are in and

    was voted the Goodreads Choice Award winner in the Mystery & Thriller category

  • Sarah (Presto agitato)
    Jun 01, 2013

    Or something.

    When I took this picture a couple of months ago, I thought Dante’s dour expression must be because he was pondering the horrors of hell. Now I think it’s because he was dwelling on the ignominy of having his masterpiece turned into this Dan Brown novel.

    By the fourth book in the series, the formula has been well-established: Robert Langdon, the intrepid Harvard professor and “symbolo

    Or something.

    When I took this picture a couple of months ago, I thought Dante’s dour expression must be because he was pondering the horrors of hell. Now I think it’s because he was dwelling on the ignominy of having his masterpiece turned into this Dan Brown novel.

    By the fourth book in the series, the formula has been well-established: Robert Langdon, the intrepid Harvard professor and “symbologist,” must race against the clock to decode a series of obscure clues left by a madman to save humanity from destruction. The only thing surprising is that Langdon continues to be dumbfounded when he finds messages from shadowy cabals hidden in the pockets of his Harris Tweed. You’d think he’d be used to it by now.

    Unfortunately, the book reads as part dressed-up travelogue, part Wikipedia entry. On the plus side, much of the discussion is about Florence, one of my favorite cities. Brown does name-check some good places (I’d agree with him that “No trip to the piazza [della Signoria] was complete without sipping an espresso at Caffè [sic] Rivoire.”) The problem is that these observations about Florentine tourist destinations are interspersed with scenes of our valiant heroes racing through the narrow streets, fleeing heavily armed paramilitary operatives who want to kill them. Langdon is never too distracted to pontificate about history and Renaissance art, but it's probably more likely that he would give the Frommer’s a rest during this particular tour.

    The real disappointment, though, is in the lost opportunity. A Dante-inspired thriller has a lot of possibilities, but this novel is strangely bloodless. It’s just a prolonged scavenger hunt

    designed to show off all the places Brown researched. I’m sure he had fun doing the research, but he never gives us more than any decent guidebook would. Brown has so much potential material, with the city of Dante, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, the Medici, and Savonarola. What he comes up with, though, is bland and forgettable. His bad guy doesn’t come close to stacking up against either history’s bad guys or Dante’s imagination. I don't think anyone reads Dan Brown's books expecting literary masterpieces, but a little excitement and unpredictability wouldn't hurt anyone.

    I did read, though, that they

    while they toiled at their work. It’s perhaps a bit too easy to draw an analogy between that and

    , so I’ll refrain, but maybe it could be the seed for Brown’s next book?

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  • Jennifer Fidler
    Jun 04, 2013

    Instead of reading any more Dan Brown books, I'm just going to complete the following "Mad Lib" with my sister. Feel free to play along.

    UNTITLED DAN BROWN BOOK MAD LIB

    1) a number ______

    2) month that has at least 28 days __________________

    3) adverb that denotes stress ____________________

    4) pick a European city...any European city _______________________

    5) title given to a respected educator or professional _____________________

    6) first name ___________________________

    7) pretentious last name (bo

    Instead of reading any more Dan Brown books, I'm just going to complete the following "Mad Lib" with my sister. Feel free to play along.

    UNTITLED DAN BROWN BOOK MAD LIB

    1) a number ______

    2) month that has at least 28 days __________________

    3) adverb that denotes stress ____________________

    4) pick a European city...any European city _______________________

    5) title given to a respected educator or professional _____________________

    6) first name ___________________________

    7) pretentious last name (bonus points if synonym for "Brown") _______________________

    8) prestigious museum or institute located in city chosen for #4 __________________________

    9) famous work of an artistic or religious nature _____________________

    10) any old secret organization or cult you feel like picking on this week _________________________

    11) social or political cause du jour __________________________

    12) adverb that indicates someone is an idiot ____________________

    13) founding member of christianity and/or a member of Aerosmith ______________________

    14) a bad way for humanity to come to end ___________________________________

    15) list 5 cities in the world you've ever wanted to visit___________________________________

    16) list 10 works of art/literature connected to or presently located in the cities from #15 __________________________

    17) a number less than 48 ______________

    18) a fraction ______________

    19) a person with a genetic malformity ___________________

    20) a number over 100 ____________

    21) word that means "all" or "every" (feel free to use either or both) ______________

    22) activity that humans do just because they like to or want to ________________________

    23) nonsensical word that means "pretty swell" _______________________

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    ROBERT LANGDON, #___ (1)

    Late one night in _________(2), Robert Langdon finds himself _____________ (3) running through the streets of ______________(4) having recently been contacted by _________________ (5) ____________ (6) _____________________ (7) of the _____________________________(8). ________________ (6) has contacted Langdon to decipher clues discovered in _______________________ (9). Before he has a chance to fully devote his attention to the task at hand, a fanatic from the __________________________(10) attacks Langdon and his host, revealing a conspiracy to violently end ____________________________(11). Although Langdon has fallen victim to this same plot twist numerous times and by the same formulaic plot and characters, he once again _______________(12) follows a new sidekick who will ultimately betray Langdon and/or turn out to be the last descendent of _______________________(13). In the process of saving everyone from __________________(14), Langdon visits ______________________________________________________(15) and sees ___________________________________(16). Within less than _________(17) hours, Langdon manages to solve __________ (18) riddles, be nearly killed by ____________________(19), and mentions his Mickey Mouse watch at least ________(20) times. Meanwhile, the reader has seen pretty much ____________(21) plot twist or surprise thrown his/her way. And at no point does Langdon ever _____________________(22). In the end, Langdon returns to Harvard knowing that symbols are truly ____________________________(23).

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    So there it is. The "formula" (which is what I hope Brown names his next Langdon book). If we're lucky, it will also have at least 100 chapters, each one ending on a note that makes us think of

    skits.

    I haven't read

    , but that book must have been horrendous considering how many reviews of this one that start out by saying, "At least it was better than his last book..." (OFFICIALLY NEVER READING

    )

    Good night, and may you not wake up with amnesia in Italy tomorrow.

  • Jane
    Jun 13, 2013

    Obscure reviewer Jane Steen sat in her modest study in cozy suburban Illinois and stared with horror at the object she held in her hands. Measuring nine-and-a-half by six-and-a-quarter by one-and-a-half inches, the object was encased in a shiny substance the overweight reviewer knew to be plastic.

    To the little known reader’s brilliant mind and eidetic memory, identifying the book was a simple task. The labels affixed to the spine proclaimed its origin: the library. I

    Obscure reviewer Jane Steen sat in her modest study in cozy suburban Illinois and stared with horror at the object she held in her hands. Measuring nine-and-a-half by six-and-a-quarter by one-and-a-half inches, the object was encased in a shiny substance the overweight reviewer knew to be plastic.

    To the little known reader’s brilliant mind and eidetic memory, identifying the book was a simple task. The labels affixed to the spine proclaimed its origin: the library. It was adorned with the terrifying profile of a red-cheeked man in a red cap and red cloak, surmounted by a series of concentric circles.

    The reviewer’s hands trembled as her fingers traced the bold lettering on the book’s cover. “DAN BROWN . . . INFERNO.”

    The reviewer knew that Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction who is best known for the 2003 bestselling novel,

    Brown's novels are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour period, and feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories. His books have been translated into 52 languages, and as of 2012, sold over 200 million copies. Two of them,

    and

    have been adapted into films.

    the plump, somewhat scruffily dressed, middle-aged woman recapped. Terror made her nauseous, but she bravely looked at her

    to refresh her memory, reading the scathing comments she had left only days ago on the popular readers’ Web site.

    The female reviewer recalled that Dan Brown is currently the twentieth highest selling author of all time and with only six books, he has achieved these sales writing fewer books than anyone above him on the list. The Robert Langdon series is currently the seventh highest selling series of all time.

    The married reviewer felt an instant spark of attraction toward the sandy-haired author, who always seems to be wearing a tweed jacket in his photo shoots.

    Overreacting wildly, the obscure critic overreacted for a few minutes, then got a grip on herself and scanned her updates. She noted that renowned author Dan Brown tends to get his tenses confused, loves to put identifiers in front of his characters’ names, and is inordinately fond of ellipses and loud punctuation such as exclamation points, question marks and interrobangs.

    Oh yes, and he loves italics, which pop up all over the place, not always readily identifiable with one particular character.

    The practically unknown reviewer picked up her copy of

    by Dan Brown, scanning its mysterious cover with the picture of the sage she now knew to be internationally famous poet Dante (c. 1265–1321), who was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His

    , originally called

    and later called

    by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

    She remembered that bestselling author Dan Brown frequently recaps the previous action near the beginning of a chapter, and that his bestselling prose is scattered with information dumps so densely constituted that they resemble the excreta of the famed Friesian horse, a creature mentioned in the bestselling novel

    .

    The reviewer’s eidetic memory roamed over the plot. She recalled that Robert Langdon, granite-jawed Harvard professor of symbology and art historian specializing in iconography, wakes up in Florence to find that he remembers nothing, people are apparently trying to kill him, and he is carrying a suggestively shaped container that contains a mysterious object. He is helped by pretty blonde ponytailed genius-IQd Sienna Brooks, who has the hots for him. And his confused memories recall a mysterious silver-haired attractive older woman who wants him to seek and find, and who undoubtedly will have the hots for him too.

    Meanwhile, on the mysterious ship

    facilitator Knowlton has just watched a video that is more terrifying than the most terrifying thing you can possibly imagine.

    “Ah yes!” the clinically obese woman derided, not knowing that “deride” must have an object. She recalled that most of the plot of Inferno consisted of Langdon and Sienna running around famous tourist spots finding clues, while being chased by a leather-clad woman who turns out to be superfluous to the plot, a bleeding strangely dressed man who also, honestly, didn’t have much of a role except to increase dramatic tension, and some black-clad soldiers who weren’t really necessary either, except that they get to do all the dirty work like good little minions. As they pass various monuments, Langdon recalls large indigestible lumps of architectural and historical detail.

    As the story lumbers to its end it picks up speed, with one quite nice bit of misdirection but otherwise the usual thriller fare of all the important stuff being packed into the last few pages so that the reader feels like a lot went on.

    the reviewer recalled, outraged. How could everyone suddenly decide that the Evil Plan may, in fact, be a Jolly Good Thing? Why was the Evil Villain’s Number One not banged up in jail but instead allowed to work for the good guys?

    The reviewer ran her hands over the shiny cover of the bestselling novel

    by Dan Brown. She recalled that Langdon rides off smugly into the sunset of a brand new world without any thought for the social, economic, and religious consequences of what just happened. Not to mention the fact that a small bunch of white people take it upon themselves to re-engineer the fate of mankind without consulting the rest of the world.

    The overweight woman gnashed her teeth dramatically and then, like renowned professor of symbology Robert Langdon, decided to settle down with a good book. Sensing it was time to wrap up her interminable review, there was one thought that still haunted her.

    The frequent recaps so the reader doesn’t lose his way . . . the italics that also serve as simplified reminders of what’s going on . . . the way the action takes place in tourist spots that are easily visited and quite easy to research . . . the very short chapters . . . the dropping of brand names . . .

    The reviewer realized that for an audience accustomed to a diet of CSI and the Discovery Channel, Dan Brown’s storytelling style is accessible and informative. Used to being given the potted version of history by talking heads as the camera zooms around in a dizzying series of filler shots, the average reader of Brown’s books will sink into a TV-induced-like stupor and, instead of thinking about the plot or the writing, will simply enjoy the experience and come back for more.

    thought the reviewer,

    Sensing it was time, really, to revert to a state of denial before that last thought took hold in her brain, the reviewer took one last look at the cover of the bestselling novel

    and sighed.

  • Willow
    Jul 14, 2013

    This is my first Dan Brown book and what can I say...it pretty much sucked.

    I was kind of shocked. Yes, I had read a lot of disparaging comments about Brown’s writing, but I pushed them aside, figuring his books must be at least entertaining. Otherwise why would he be so popular? And I rather like cheesy books. This one had a condescending tone though that grated on my nerves and sapped all the fun right out of the story. It was a tedious read.

    Brown’s characters are boring. There’s no depth or

    This is my first Dan Brown book and what can I say...it pretty much sucked.

    I was kind of shocked. Yes, I had read a lot of disparaging comments about Brown’s writing, but I pushed them aside, figuring his books must be at least entertaining. Otherwise why would he be so popular? And I rather like cheesy books. This one had a condescending tone though that grated on my nerves and sapped all the fun right out of the story. It was a tedious read.

    Brown’s characters are boring. There’s no depth or nuisance. Everybody talks and thinks alike. Their dialogue has no individuality. There are no intricate, personality conflicts. Brown also has the annoying tendency to tell you how brilliant and amazing his characters are ALL THE TIME, but he never really shows you why they are extraordinary.

    Then there are the endless info dumps. OMG! Brown gives a Humanities lecture for every museum Langdon goes to (even when his characters are running for their lives). They’re not short little vignettes either that give character and life to a place. No they’re long dry passages that seem to be cut and pasted straight from a travel brochure. Brown will use half a page to describe a statue that has NOTHING to do with the plot. I found his description on Botticelli’s

    to be somewhat questionable too.

    What the hell is Brown talking about? The people are teeny weeny! How could Langdon and Sienna even see them? Yes I know it’s a nit. But it made me wonder… were all of Brown’s boring info dumps crap? They better not be, damn it! (To be honest, I didn’t bother to check). But if you’re going bore the snot out of me, at least make sure you’re boring me with accurate information.

    The plot is probably the best part of this book. There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming, and Brown practically ends every chapter in a cliff hanger, so the book kept moving. There are so many plot holes though, it was like a sponge. If you think too much about it, you’ll spend all your time rolling your eyes and fall out of your chair.

    In the end, I’m amazed that Brown is a bestselling author. His writing is terrible. He tells instead of shows. He repeats everything at least twice, sometimes three or four times. He describes three amazing European cites, but doesn’t bring any of them to life. And his story starts up an interesting conversation about population and the apocalypse, but Brown never gives it any real thought. The ending was so sanctimonious and preachy, I wanted to toss the book across the room. Maybe without the book’s snooty tone, this could have been a fun and cheesy read, but Brown takes himself way too seriously.

    I give 1 ½ stars.

    Are all Brown’s books this bad?

  • Mohammed Arabey
    Feb 26, 2015

    أقرأها قبل الفيلم..فالفيلم قام بتحويل نهاية الرواية الكابوسية العبقرية إلي نهاية هوليوودية نمطية

    أقرأها قبل الفيلم..فالفيلم قام بتحويل نهاية الرواية الكابوسية العبقرية إلي نهاية هوليوودية نمطية

    وتخيل بقي لما يكون الكلام ده قالته الفنانة القديرة نعيمة وصفي للفنان القدير فؤاد المهندس في فيلم أجازة غرام انتاج 1967

    هذه المرة تبدأ بدون ربط الأحزمة لأن لانجدون لن يذهب لأي مكان، بل سيستيقظ من كابوس جحيمي الطابع في مستشفي بفلورنسا

    لا يعلم كيف جاء من أمريكا، ولا سبب أصابته في رأسه ،وكيف مر يومان لا يتذكر عنهم اي شئ

    وما سر تلك الصور المفزعة الغريبة بحلمه...حلم عن جحيم حقيقي..طاعون، دماء .. وأمرأة غامضة

    وبمساعدة دكتورة نابغة "سيينا بروكس" سيمكنه الهروب من مطارديه الذين لا نعرف سبب مطاردتهم له من الأساس

    ليكتشف أنه كان يحمل عمل فني مخبأ معه بحرفية قبل أصابته ، صورة لجحيم دانتي

    الجحيم الذي قد ينتظر لوقت قصير ليبدأ في الأنتشار في العالم إذا لم يفك لانجدون حل رموز جحيم دانتي

    وبالرغم من أنه محفز لقراءته ألا أنه يمكنك متابعة الرواية نفسها دون أن تكون أطلعت عليها فسيقدم لك دان براون تلخيصا لما تحتاج معرفته لمتابعة روايته

    لا أنكر أني شعرت بقليل من الملل في جزء فينيسيا , حيث يشرد روبرت لانجدون كثيرا هنا ليحدثك في تاريخ المدينة وكل تفصيلات مبانيها ، ولكن هذه هي طبيعته ، ربما فقط الوقت في نصف الأحداث لم يكن ملائم لكل هذا الشرود والذي دائما ينبهه له مرافقته في الأحداث كأنه صوتك أنت شخصيا تقول له ، دعك من هذا الشرود.. فالنركز في القنبلة..اليوم علي وشك الأنتهاء

    محمد العربي

    من 16 فبراير 2015

    إلي 25 فبراير 2015

    الرحلة القادمة ,يجب أن تليق بحالة الأنكار التي يجبرنا عليها العقل, وبالرغم من بدئي في الكوميديا الألهية ,سأقرأ بجانبها شيئا خفيفا مألوفا بالنسبة لي ومسليا أكثر من

    في 16-10-16 : ريفيو الفيلم

    هل تذكر كل ماقلت حول النهاية العبقرية؟

    أنساها تماما مع الفيلم

    الفيلم يصلح ليحل محل النسخة المصورة فحسب..أنت تشاهد الأماكن بسحرها التي دارت بها الرواية ، بشكل متسارع للأسف ، موسيقي ممتازة لهانز وأخراج مشاهد عبقرية لرون هاورد

    وأداء ممتاز لتوم هانكس كالعادة والذي أضاف عمقا حقيقيا لشخصية لانجدون ، وحتي بين فوستر في دور زوبريست العالم المجنون

    الفيلم يستحق المشاهدة فقط أنس النهاية...وإن لم تعجبك نهاية الرواية الصادمة..ربما اعجبتك نهاية الفيلم الهوليوودية التقليدية

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