What a hectic whizzmegoround!

2009-11-11 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown

Bantam Press

DAN Brown is hugely keen on (gasp) mysteries, but not even he, surely, is able to fathom the mystery of the ­success of his first blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code. Having laughed all the way to the bank ­following the crazy sales and filming of that book, the decent thing would have been for him to sit back, enjoy his ill-gotten millions, and never write another word.

Not our Dan. His next (gasp, wow), Angels & Demons, is now followed by this one (gasp, double-wow), The Lost Symbol. It’s fat, 509 pages, and composed in the usual fast-food style: tiny bite-sized chapters for tiny minds, super-quick scene-cutting, every page sprinkled with italics (yes! yes! yes!), ­every mystery ­followed by another mystery, spiced with Free­masons, Rosicrucians, Isaac Newton and Einstein; wicked bald men covered in mystic tattoos and ­diabolically intent on finding the key to the elixir of life; pyramids and obelisks with coded messages, hints, and ­directions; ­secret tunnels, underground passages, conduits and compartments; wheels within wheels within wheels; demonic this and apocalyptic that. What a feverish whirligig! What a hectic whizzmego­round!! What a breathlessly hysterical roller-coaster ride!!!

In short, what rot. ­Unfortunately it will be swallowed whole by the gullible, especially as everything is built on the real geographical location and structure of buildings in Washington DC — and this, of course, must have taken a lot of background swotting. Someone ­in the know tells me that the exhaustive research is done, not by Brown himself at all, but by his unsung wife. Why isn’t that ­surprising?

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