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Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Dan Brown (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,688368750 (3.5)87
Authors:Dan Brown (Author)
Info:Doubleday (2013), Edition: First Edition, 480 pages
Collections:Fiction, Your library

Work details

Inferno by Dan Brown (2013)

  1. 10
    The Last Cato by Matilde Asensi (vpfluke)
    vpfluke: Both books are thrillers where the main characters follow trails taken from Dante's Divine Comedy
  2. 02
    The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich (bks1953)
  3. 03
    Dante: The Divine Comedy (Landmarks of World Literature) by Robin Kirkpatrick (bks1953)

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English (335)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (7)  German (5)  Italian (4)  French (2)  All (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All (367)
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this one much more than the previous one. Some sobering ideas. Interested to see what Langdon gets mixed up in next! ( )
  shaunesay | Jun 21, 2017 |
There's nothing quite like an author desperately trying to establish their literary cred by referencing classic works of fiction. Guess what is mentioned in Inferno.

Professor Robert Langdon is back for another inexplicable adventure to save the world. This time a madman with a love for Dante's Divine Comedy and the Black Death is threatening to release a new disease that could wipe out humanity. Only Langdon and his latest arm candy can save the day.

If it isn't obvious, I have a like-hate relationship with Dan Brown novels. Dan writes very entertaining novels that are well paced with interesting plots. But he also manages to bash readers over the head with plot points - or character traits, or other random things he deems important - and squeeze in a lot of useless exposition. The useless exposition often feels like an attempt to impress readers with the amount of research that has gone into the novel, but when he starts mentioning things like Dim Mak - the mythical pressure point and no touch martial arts technique - with credulity, I cringe.

There are other points I find amusing about Inferno in particular. The continuous referral to six foot tall Langdon as "tall" says a lot about the author (or editor's) height. The desperate need to reference great literary works in a mass-market thriller novel. The idolatry of Langdon by various characters - "she was admiring him more and more", "his deep voice" - is heavy handed at best. But for these points I wonder if this is from Dan's success and wide appeal. Could it be that because Dan sells in the billions of copies, that he and his editors have to make sure the book has wider appeal and comprehension? Or is it the reverse; is his appeal that every plot point is hammered home, that the reader is repeatedly bludgeoned with how awesome the protagonist is?

For all the book's faults, Inferno was an entertaining read. Upon picking this book up I was refreshingly entertained. Worth a read for fans of Brown, Steve Berry, James Rollins, etc.

[Spoiler]I wanted to rip the final scene out and rewrite it. Langdon is returning the stolen Dante death mask to the museum but the curator can't meet him. So Langdon sneaks in and replaces it, reopening the exhibit himself.


How about Langdon being caught in the act replacing the death mask. Security recognise him as the guy who stole the mask a few days earlier, but haven't gotten the memo about Langdon being off the hook. So they are arresting him at gunpoint, to wit Langdon responds, "Please, I can explain." The handcuffs go on and the book finishes there. [/Spoiler] ( )
  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
When discussing writing, Elmore Leonard once said, "Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill." On another occasion, James Rollins observed that "The bane to all fiction, no matter the genre, is called 'info-dumping.' Whether it’s trying to fill in a character’s backstory or explaining the science behind quantum physics, never stop your story to lecture or teach." Even earlier, a guy named Mark Twain put it more simply when he pointed out that "A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it."

If only Dan Brown and his editor would listen to these guys, and to others who have made similar comments over the years. Sadly, what we get instead is countless stops in the action so that Brown can play tour guide and use his characters to tell us all about the things that he learned while doing research for the book. I'll include two perfect examples that I highlighted of the many to be found in the book. In both cases, the passages refer to buildings in Venice, and they both appear during what should have been a thrilling and ongoing chase scene. Instead, we get pulled out of the action and the moment with passages like these two:

Example #1: "A stone’s throw across the canal, the iconic verdigris cupola of San Simeone Piccolo rose into the afternoon sky. The church was one of the most architecturally eclectic in all of Europe. Its unusually steep dome and circular sanctuary were Byzantine in style, while its columned marble pronaos was clearly modeled on the classical Greek entryway to Rome’s Pantheon. The main entrance was topped by a spectacular pediment of intricate marble relief portraying a host of martyred saints."

Example #2: "A perfect example of Venetian Gothic architecture, the palace was an exercise in understated elegance. With none of the turrets or spires normally associated with the palaces of France or England, it was conceived as a massive rectangular prism, which provided for the largest possible amount of interior square footage in which to house the doge’s substantial government and support staff."

Again, put this all in context. As part of a travel guide for Venice, this sort of thing works. But as part of a thriller? Not so much, given that my premise here is that Brown's books are at their best when there is no pretense of being anything more than fun, breezy and fast-paced thrillers. Instead, what I came away with was the impression that Brown and his team have largely lost track of what made him successful in the first place, leaving us with an average and unoriginal thriller that has pretensions of being something more. Which is sad, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with "just" being a really good and really entertaining thriller. The other major problem here is that Brown consistently drives home his major plot points with way too much repetition. Make your point and move on, Dan. Your readers don't have to have the same message presented three different times using three sets of words on successive pages. This isn't a television soap opera, and there is no reason to try to pad things in this way. The constant "tour guide" stuff does enough damage to the pacing all on its own.

In the end, this is a two-star effort that gets a third star for its interesting premise, which is based on the very real problem of population explosion and global sustainability. I can only hope that Brown gets a good editor between now and his next effort, and that he takes that person's advice when it comes to removing any padding and info-dumping that manages to make its way into the first draft. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Mi era piaciuto il Codice da Vinci e anche Angeli e Demoni. Questo libro invece proprio per nulla. Mi è sembrato di fare una gita, quelli di un giorno, dove vedi di tutto e di più e non ti rimane nulla. Per il libro è la stessa cosa, sembra di leggere una guida del Touring club. ( )
  Angela.Me | Jun 10, 2017 |
I found this one had a bit much art history for me personally but the underlying story was great. I think it explored some interesting ideas in a very simple way. I did think the female characters were a bit one-dimensional.

I would recommend if you liked the DaVinci code but not if your tastes run to Digital Fortress

( )
  Felicity-Smith | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
... there is the sense of play that saves Brown's books from ponderousness, even when he is waxing wise about some ancient mystery or architectural wonder.
Renowned author Dan Brown hated the critics. Ever since he had become one of the world’s top renowned authors they had made fun of him. [...] The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was mired in a sea of mixed metaphors.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dan Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carole DelporteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dominique DefertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sappinen, Jorma-VeikkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Dan Brown's new novel, Inferno, features renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and is set in the heart of Europe, where Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred around one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces.
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In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces--Dante's "Inferno"--as he battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.… (more)

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