Book Review: The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol is the third follow-up novel in the Dan Brown collection, following the dark secrets and histories of the Freemasons. The story keeps in line with his previous best sellers, leaving symbologist Robert Langton at the helm of a new mystery, filled with secrets within secrets, rituals, abstruse malevolence, formal procedures laced with awe-inspiring meaning. Langdon, still self grinding his Sumatran coffee beans every morning, and lecturing to countless eager college students about the clandestine and often misunderstood aspects of symbols, finds himself immersed in a new thrilling mystery chalked full of chaos, violence and urgency.

Our hero Langdon is called to Washington D.C. by an insistent old friend, Peter Solomon, an exalted and prominent member of the Masons, who requires Langdon to give a lecture. However, the mystery begins to unfold as Langdon arrives and finds there is no lecture and the invitation was fictitious, forged by someone who desires Langdon to find and decipher a code, which happens to be in the form of Peter Solomon’s evidently placed severed hand. The hand is marked with Masonic tattoos and situated to point to a painting of George Washington depicted as a pagan god. Mounting on the grisly scene is the fact that the staged article seems to bear a resemblance to something known only as the Hand of the Mysteries.

Which is more disturbing; the elaborately developed and obviously staged scene, or the hideously intelligent, although clearly psychologically unhinged villain? Dan Brown introduces another massive, shrewd, zealot in the form of a completely tattooed, muscle bound mastermind known only as Mal’akh. The chief desperado within the Lost Symbol searches for a secreted Masonic pyramid which contains the power of transformation. The foundation of the plan has already been well established as Mal’akh has already formed trusting relationships with Peter Solomon and his sister, Katherine who is an expert in the study of Noetic science, a new form of discipline that combines science and magic, creating a whole new plane of conventional understanding.

Not unlike the Da Vinci Code and Angles and Demons, Langdon and Katherine embark on a hunt, both aided and delayed by various well crafted characters. Even though Brown has transferred the climactic storyline to American land, the plot drifts over familiar ground examining the symbols, secrets and histories of an underground society known a the Freemasons. While there is still the belief that the genesis of Freemasonry lies heavily in medieval dexterity unions profoundly laden with a darker agenda burdened with conspiracy and hidden schemes, Brown lures readers into the historically accurate points of the Masons and how the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, specifically, has inspired many of the conspiracy theories regarding the Freemasons, situations that Brown gladly uses to his advantage to draw his readers in and build a fantastically exciting storyline.

The plot moves quickly, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat as we wonder if Langdon can move past the sinister design of Mal’akh, while additional quandaries involving national security. Nevertheless, the newest of Brown’s novels evokes similar debates about Freemasonry, much like the disputes that occurred between the Catholic Church and Da Vinci Code fanatics. The Lost Symbol contains information regarding a motivating, interesting, and thrilling group known as the Freemasons. While founded in fiction with invented, albeit, well designed, characters that will undoubtedly spark another cultural debate regarding extreme visions and historically and accurately portrayed clandestine assemblies in the form of a clever storyline in Dan Brown’s thrilled mystery. Between Brown’s rousing plot, the chemistry and intrigue between Langdon and Katherine, the villainous Mal’akh and the secretive Masons, The Lost Symbol is guaranteed to keep you guessing well after the final pages have been closed.