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The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3) by…
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The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3) (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Dan Brown

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,885611150 (3.36)269
Member:debavp
Title:The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3)
Authors:Dan Brown
Info:Doubleday Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Series, GW, HB, Used, Read, Review Pending, 2Mom, 2Joyce, Donated

Work details

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (2009)

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Showing 1-5 of 555 (next | show all)
actually id give it a 4.5. i thought angels and demons was much better, altho it was still an impressively good book. ( )
  Iamanerdfighter | May 30, 2016 |
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is traveling to an exotic locale when he happens across a grisly scene involving clues only he can decipher. Together with his trusty, busty female companion, he sets off in a race against time, hounded simultaneously by the mysterious force that set all this in motion and officialdom. Naturally, it turns out those in charge were trying to help him all along, and this whole time the secret force was really Mr. Withers, the corrupt real-estate developer.

Or something. The TV may have been on in the background when I was finishing the novel. Man, Scooby and the gang are fortunate only the old/physiognomally deficient try to pull things. Otherwise, who KNOWS what might happen?

At this point, I think we can safely classify Dan Brown’s novels as genre fiction, even if that genre is “Dan Brown.” Using a formula of 65% thriller/suspense, 25% detective/history (which includes symbology), and 5% movie, he manages to craft very good Dan Brown novels.

In fact, I’d say they’re some of the finest Dan Brown novels ever produced—if you don’t count the novelization of the National Treasure movies.

(Speaking of terrible movies, even reaching as far back as The Da Vinci Code—the novel—you can tell he takes a screenplay approach to writing. This is especially evident when you count the twists, chases and action-heavy parts, which occur at almost the same rate they do in a movie: About one every 10 minutes or so.)

The Lost Symbol is a straight-up Dan Brown, with one small deviation: the conclusion. For whatever reason, his wife Brown decided Symbol needed more endings than Return of the King, probably because he couldn’t just write in a bunch of hulking eagles to get out of the corner he’d written himself into. A significant chunk of the ending—when all is supposed to be revealed and you learn the secret of the “lost symbol”—reads like Dan Brown wanting to prove he’s more than just a hack.

Unfortunately, he did so in a spectacularly hacky way. Across acres of pages he expounds upon man and divinity, using pseudo-philosophy to back up his claims that, frankly, don’t really matter anyway. Let’s face it, if fully half your audience actually believes the remains of Mary Magdalene are entombed in the Louvre and descendants of Christ walk the earth protected by the Knights Templar, you’re not going to chart a new intellectual course for humanity.

You’d be lucky to convince them to join Oprah’s book club.

But of course, the usual caveat: I don’t like Dan Brown’s books, I didn’t expect to like this one, so hey—big surprise. If you enjoy his writing, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Rather than sesquipedally wax on about all the over-arching, unworkable problems with the book, I decided to go the IMDB route and nit-pick over the smallest errors I could find while reading the book.

In no particular order:

- Sato, who heads up the CIA’s Office of Security (depicted as a super police force) is described as being born “behind the fences of Manzanar,” and is “a toughened survivor who never forgot the horrors of war, or the perils of insufficient military intelligence.” Assuming the insufficient military intelligence is referring to Pearl Harbor (which was mentioned just prior) and the “horrors of war” refer to WWII, there’s a bit of a problem with the timeline. The first prisoners arrived in Manzanar in March 1942, and the camp was cleared out by November 1945. The Pearl Harbor thing can be forgiven if you’re just referring to her imprisonment behind the bars, but at best she was three and a half years old when she got out. In other words, barely old enough to remember anything.

- The CIA is called in when a potentially damaging video is threatened to be leaked. The perp in question is a U.S. citizen, in the U.S., and threatening other U.S. citizens. The FBI would have been called in, not the CIA. There’s no conceivable possibility that the CIA would have jurisdiction.
- Robert Langdon is riding from the airport to downtown Washington in a limo when he comments to himself, “So this is how the other half lives.” Robert Langdon, the tenured professor at Harvard who in the chronology of the series has written numerous books that are actually read by people (he’s often recognized by the other characters), is amazed at how rich folk live? Maybe in the first book you could pass him off as everyman (Harvard professor) who does good, but not anymore. At this point, he’s at least sitting at Thomas Friedman-level celebrity, constantly being asked to write articles and show up on TV.

- “Smiling, he now pulled out Peter Solomon’s iPhone and admired the text message he had sent Katherine several minutes earlier. Got your messages. All’s fine. Busy day. Forgot appointment with Dr. Abaddon. Sorry not to mention him sooner. Long story. Am headed to lab now. If available, have Dr. Abaddon join us inside. I trust him fully, and I have much to tell you both. —Peter” The novel goes to great lengths to prove he is, in fact, using an iPhone to send that text message. That text message that’s 250 characters. Since he’s from America, we know he’s using AT&T. From their Web site: “A text message can be up to 160 characters in length. Messages sent or received that are longer than 160 characters will be delivered in multiple segments. Each segment will be billed as a separate message.”This by no means is the extent of his manipulation of technology/science (”noetic science” is heavily pushed, despite lacking any semblance of actual “science”), but still an easy oversight. Also, who the hell would tap out “Dr. Abaddon” twice?

- “This phone had served Mal’akh well … but now it was time it became untraceable. He climbed behind the wheel, put the car in gear, and crept forward until he heard the sharp crack of the iPhone imploding.”
It’s an Internet-proven fact that iPhones don’t necessarily die when being run over by cars. Seriously, dude, at least Google that stuff before you throw it in your bestseller.

- In an instant, Katherine realized that the only light in the entire space was coming from her cell phone, illuminating the side of her face. “Send help,” she whispered to the guard. “And get to Wet Pod to help Trish.” Then she quietly closed her phone, extinguishing the light. What’s wrong with this one, you ask? From 65 pages earlier: “Katherine Solomon felt a wave of relief to see the name on her iPhone.” It takes quite a feat of strength to close an iPhone.

- “NFC playoffs,” Nunez replied. “Everyone’s watching the Redskins tonight …” Really? The Redskins making the playoffs? Nobody told me this was science fiction. ( )
  thoughtbox | May 28, 2016 |
READ IN DUTCH

Never change a winning team, that's probably what Dan Brown is thinking with this series. I know that series often tend to get a bit predictable after a number of books, but this is just the third instalment! (After this one, I never bothered with Inferno)



There is one mayor change though, instead of running through Europe like a headless chicken, things are now set in America. This means of course that plot theories can no longer date back to (pre)-Medieval or Renaissance times. What a reviving change(!).

I guess that if you don't have a problem with obvious formula writing, this isn't so bad. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
The plot is good, the writing is unfortunate. Brown follows his go-to formula of Robert Langdon waking up from a dream to be called into a world of yet another ancient secret to save someone from impending death, and in the end, finding out the mystical secret.

It was very hard to concentrate on this book - it didn't pull me like Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code did. It was a trial and the only reason I even finished this book was because I got into Mal'akh's back story.

edit: having finished the book, I stand by that the plot is good for entertainment value, but by the end of it, Brown is stretching the whole God and bible stuff a little too far for too long. ( )
  meowism | May 17, 2016 |
Well it might have been complete tosh, but at least it was page-turning hilarious tosh!!

( )
  GwenMcGinty | May 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 555 (next | show all)
In the end, as with “The Da Vinci Code,” there’s no payoff. Brown should stop worrying about unfinished pyramids and worry about unfinished novels. At least Spielberg and Lucas gave us an Ark and swirling, dissolving humans. We don’t get any ancient wisdom that “will profoundly change the world as you know it” — just a lot of New Agey piffle about how we are the gods we’ve been waiting for. (And a father-son struggle for global domination, as though we didn’t get enough of that with the Bushes.)
 
There are moments of excitement in this skilfully edited, deeply implausible thriller. At times the suspense is prolonged rather than sustained, but the 500 pages turn steadily and the overall effect is entertaining and certainly family-friendly. The Lost Symbol is violent but remarkably chaste and devoid of profanity.
added by Shortride | editThe Age, Simon Caterson (Sep 19, 2009)
 
If you hate Dan Brown, you're going to hate this book.

It seems Brown has decided to irk his critics by repeating every flaw he's been accused of. ...

No, it's not Foucault's Pendulum. It doesn't even come close. However, if you liked Dan Brown's previous books you're likely to enjoy this one. There is some interesting trivia about the history of Washington, DC which is in fact true, which is an added bonus.
added by camillahoel | editRead And Find Out, Tom (Sep 17, 2009)
 
It’s true, his style is as baldly prosaic as legend, but there remains a heft to his potboilers that is hard to imitate. He is better at conveying claustrophobia and breathlessness than, say, the explosion of a top-secret lab (“fragments of titanium mesh . . . droplets of melted silicon” etc) but the latter will make a juicier scene come the inevitable Tom Hanks movie, and the author knows this.
added by Shortride | editThe Times, Andrew Collins (Sep 16, 2009)
 
As a thriller, "The Lost Symbol" is exciting, although readers of "The Da Vinci Code" will notice that some of the same stock characters and creaky plot devices pop up... As District of Columbia resident, I must say that Mr. Brown does a first-rate job of delivering a Cook's tour with duly sinister overtones of Washington's famous sites... It's when Mr. Brown interrupts his storytelling to deliver one of his many lectures on Christian ­intolerance—with pointed digs at the American ­religious right—that "The Lost Symbol" becomes a ­didactic bore.
 

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brown, Danprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boldrini, AlexandreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conde, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Defert, DominiqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drolsbach, MarionTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feberwee, EricaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssens, PieterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ligterink, YolandeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michael, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pereira, Carlos,Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
To live in the world without becoming
aware of the meaning of the world is
like wandering about in a great library
without touching the books.

The Secret Teachings
of All Ages
Dedication
For Blythe
First words
The secret is how to die.
Quotations
Neckties had been required six days a week when Langdon attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and despite the headmaster's romantic claims that the origin of the cravat went back to the silk fascalia worn by Roman orators to warm their vocal cords, Langdon knew that, etymologically, cravat actually derived from a ruthless band of "Croat" mercenaries who donned knotted neckerchiefs before they stormed into battle. To this day, this ancient battle garb was donned by modern office warriors hoping to intimidate their enemies in daily boardroom battles.
The only wrinkle was the bloody black-clad heap in the foyer with a screwdriver protruding from his neck.
It was no coincidence that Christians were taught that Jesus was crucified at age thirty-three …
Thankfully, this particular crypt contained no bodies. … The entourage hurried through, without even a glance at the four-pointed marble compass in the center of the floor where the Eternal Flame had once burned.
His hips and abdomen were the archways of mystical power. Hanging beneath the archway [sic], his massive sex organ bore the tattooed symbols of his destiny. In another life, this heavy shaft of flesh had been his source of carnal pleasure. But no longer.
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Book description
The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling—a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.


The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon’s mentor, Peter Solomon – prominent mason and philanthropist – is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington’s dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical world in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385504225, Hardcover)

Let's start with the question every Dan Brown fan wants answered: Is The Lost Symbol as good as The Da Vinci Code? Simply put, yes. Brown has mastered the art of blending nail-biting suspense with random arcana (from pop science to religion), and The Lost Symbol is an enthralling mix. And what a dazzling accomplishment that is, considering that rabid fans and skeptics alike are scrutinizing every word.

The Lost Symbol
begins with an ancient ritual, a shadowy enclave, and of course, a secret. Readers know they are in Dan Brown territory when, by the end of the first chapter, a secret within a secret is revealed. To tell too much would ruin the fun of reading this delicious thriller, so you will find no spoilers here. Suffice it to say that as with many series featuring a recurring character, there is a bit of a formula at work (one that fans will love). Again, brilliant Harvard professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a predicament that requires his vast knowledge of symbology and superior problem-solving skills to save the day. The setting, unlike other Robert Langdon novels, is stateside, and in Brown's hands Washington D.C. is as fascinating as Paris or Vatican City (note to the D.C. tourism board: get your "Lost Symbol" tour in order). And, as with other Dan Brown books, the pace is relentless, the revelations many, and there is an endless parade of intriguing factoids that will make you feel like you are spending the afternoon with Robert Langdon and the guys from Mythbusters.

Nothing is as it seems in a Robert Langdon novel, and The Lost Symbol itself is no exception--a page-turner to be sure, but Brown also challenges his fans to open their minds to new information. Skeptical? Imagine how many other thrillers would spawn millions of Google searches for noetic science, superstring theory, and Apotheosis of Washington. The Lost Symbol is brain candy of the best sort--just make sure to set aside time to enjoy your meal. --Daphne Durham


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Symbologist Robert Langdon returns in this new thriller follow-up to The Da Vinci Code.

(summary from another edition)

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