|Botticelli's Map of Hell inspired by Dante's Inferno|
Robert Langdon is back. When he wakes up in a hospital ward with a lot of pain and disorientation, Langdon is similar to Jason Bourne. No, he is not a skilled secret agent fighting bad guys. But he has amnesia like Jason Bourne. Luckily for him and us, it is retrogade amnesia. In effect, the last thing he remembers is events from couple of days back. At that point in time, he was in Harward. But now he is Florence. What happened in the last couple of days? That is the key to the new mystery by Dan Brown.
The latest book in the Langdon series is a gripping thriller because of three things. After staging the third book in the series in Washington DC, Dan Brown brings Langdon back to Europe. Imagine the vast expanses of United State with the constricted overcrowded yet ancient places in Europe. Which would you prefer to set as a backdrop for a thriller? I choose the latter. The lack of space and the energy in the street is the best setting for a thriller. This is the first thing that works in the book.
The second thing is the two parallel searches. Langdon had earlier solved the mystery. Now he is retracing his path. There are two searches. The first search to uncover the mystery and the second is to uncover what happened earlier. Both of these parallel searches is interesting. Moreover, Dan Brown reveals just enough to keep us hooked on the book. Langdon before losing memory had more time to solve a mystery. Now, he has less than 24 hours to solve it. A lot of lives are at stake if he doesn't!
Finally, Dan Brown uses the book for initiating a dialogue. Like one of his previous books, this one also bases the search around an European artist's work. While it was Da Vinci two books back, it is Dante this time. Unlike his previous works, this is not man torn between religion and science. The dialogue initiated is man's capability to play God. To be more precise, stretching science to play God.
Dan Brown is back in form. Go for it.
Picture Courtesy: http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu