Dan Brown has crafted several novels that resulted in a massive number of sales and in all honesty created an industry in tourism. His novels Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code sparked tours and ignited a fascination with symbols, myths, conspiracies and controversy. The Lost Symbol, released in 2009 has not generated the same type of interest. People have not decided to devote time to setting up TLS tours in the nation’s capitol. Ironically, it seems that Dan Brown has an effect on the rest of the world through his literature, yet in America where The Lost Symbol is set, this same passionate response is non-existent. Possibly this speaks to the point of this text. Which is how apathetic the American society has become. Actually, there isn’t one point in The Lost Symbol, this book is an arrangement of facts, and storytelling that lends itself to dialogue and the generation of a conflict which actually has the power to destroy an industry, or support it. That industry is the big business of the church. Then again that isn’t the only point of the book. Confusing isn’t the word I’m looking for to explain why America hasn’t created the same fervor for The Lost Symbol as it did for the other books. The United States is the youngest nation in the world and with youth comes the inability to focus. Americans have simply added TLS to a long list of to do items. I happen to think it should be in a short list of must do, must understand, must implement.
In The Lost Symbol Dan Brown takes us through one of the longest days in the life of Robert Langdon. Langdon is the symbologist who understood the Roslin not as the meridian but as the Bloodline of Jesus Christ in the Davinci Code. Robert Langdon is also the man who understood that the papalcy was going to be manipulated in Angels and Demons. In The Lost Symbol, Langdon is brought to the nation’s capitol to decipher another code. All of the traditional Brown elements are in place: Masonry, Alchemy, the asexual villain who looks like some odd blend of demon and saint, and most importantly the analysis of religion is there. This time however, the reader is introduced to what is at the core of the book, Noetic Science. Noetic Science was founded in 1973. Noetic Science is as much a character as Malakh, the villain.
Dan Brown continues to be the king of pacing. Any novelist or aspiring novelist, looking to learn to craft a story by focusing on pacing should take each of Brown’s novels and study. His use of short chapters adds to the frenetic pace of the 24 hours the book is set in. Dan Brown also has made the most of his research; the careful analysis, description and discussion of science and religion enhances the novel in a way that requires the reader to sit down with a cup of coffee and a laptop and research each idea introduced. The Apotheosis has now taken the place of the Sistine Chapel as the mural that I most want to see. The Soloman family in this novel is intriguing and the Masonic rituals almost seem to be additional material instead of the focus as it was in The Davinci Code. Langdon, however, remains the constant face of cool in the face of pressure and death. Yes he dies in this novel, and is resurrected. (Read it yourself to understand this).
The real value in this book as I mentioned earlier though is the controversy established. Reading TLS creates an interesting dilemma for any person who is questioning their faith in their religion of choice. Recently an article was written about whether Hell is Dead. That article by a pastor of a church actually falls in line with TLS. It also falls in line with another book. In 2006 The Secret was released and became a new age philosophy that was studied by everyone I knew. People bought the book, shared it, gave it as a gift and literally envisioned themselves becoming better by visualizing themselves as being better. The Lost Symbol in many ways is akin to The Secret. The difference is that at the conclusion of The Lost Symbol lies a solution for the dawning of a new age. If 2012 is truly the end of this age, then The Lost Symbol has allowed me to feel comfortable with what the future holds. Although this novel feels like the others by Dan Brown, it is definitely worth your time especially if you have ever wanted to see yourself as something more.