Sunday, March 16, 2014

INFERNO by Dan Brown

Dan Brown's Inferno is more of the same old thing.

Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon wakes up in a Florence, Italy, hospital. Someone shot him. He has lost his recent memory. He doesn't know how he got to Florence or why he came.

Then a paid assassin tires to kill him. A genius-IQ medical doctor Sienna Brooks saves him. They take off together to go from monument to monument following the clues of a crazed scientist who wants to destroy a large part of the world's population.

At least three groups chase them, the Italian police, a secret organization protecting its own interests, and the disaffected paid assassin of that same organization.

The clues are passages and images from Dante's Inferno.

The cities range from Florence to Venice to a city way beyond.

Brown gives detailed descriptions of the artistic and religious monuments, even describing the secret passages in the buildings along the way.

A part of Brown's schtick is to claim that these details are factual.

Brown wrote this with the movies in mind. In the closing scenes, Langdon and his allies take part in a series of chase scenes by airplane, bus, and boat. Brown even specifies the background music for one part of the book's climax.

Finally we learn that most of the people were not who we thought they were. Even the purpose of the quest is different, a disappointing outcome for me.

I have only read Brown's The Da Vinci Code. If I remember correctly, I picked Inferno up at a bargain price. I always enjoy Brown's tedious descriptions of cities and monuments I'll never see.

Inferno is not as effective as The Da Vinci Code. The ending disappoints. Along the way, I found myself thinking, “Sensible folks wouldn't have done what these folks just did.”

Also, I didn't understand why the villain was so psychotically public. If he had kept his mouth shut and acted quietly, he could have done what he wanted to do without anyone knowing.

I doubt I'll read another of these books, but that doesn't matter. Brown's books are wildly popular. They will sell tens of millions without me.  

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