Author: Dan Brown
Provided Synopsis: 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.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust … before the world is irrevocably altered.
Review: Although it had been some time since I have read the three previous Robert Langdon books, Dan Brown wastes no times placing his main character straight into action. We join Robert right after he awakes in a Florentine hospital with a bullet wound to the back of his head. An assassin is after him, but most important is the fact that Robert has no idea why he is in Florence. His injuries have resulted in a case of amnesia and the past two days can no longer be recollected. By setting up the story in this manner the tension and suspense levels are already high — as Robert and his companion, his doctor and savior in the Florence hospital, uncover a clue that has been mysteriously stitched into his trademark tweed jacket a race against time develops. Sienna and Robert must decipher cryptic messages relating to Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy and the threat of a plague.
At risk of giving away the many twists of the plot I will say no more. Instead, I’ll dive into what made this story such an enjoyable read. The level of suspense that you will receive from a Dan Brown book is a given, but so too is the breath of educational material. I received a minor in Classics at university and was pleased to travel on a journey that dealt with Dante’s great work. I learned more than I had known before, especially in terms of all the paintings and allegorical references that have been created due to inspiration from The Inferno. If you are interested in these areas then this book is perfect for you.
Also, I really liked how this book asked a significant moral question. The main antagonist in the story is a man who wishes to release a plague in order to remedy the overpopulation of the world, which is depleting the earth of its resources. Characters must constantly consider if his inspiration and methods of achieving it are correct. Then there is also a fine point when characters must consider what would be the result if the engineering behind the plague were to fall into the hands of a powerful government that may wish to alter it to become a weapon. It is very intriguing and thought provoking to consider when technology takes us too far.