If you have not yet read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, and plan to do so, I recommend not reading this post, for it may contain information that will spoil the book.
I have been a fan of Dan Brown since I first saw the movie DaVinci Code. I know, I am one of those people that resist such bandwagons of books until I see the movie and am inspired to read it. After seeing the movie, however, I then read DaVinci Code,Angels and Demons, and Deception Point. The only one that I have not read is Digital Fortress. When I heard that he was releasing another volume of the story involving Robert Langdon, I of course wanted to read it!
Overall this story compels the reader to think of Jesus' message "The Kingdom of God is in you and all around you."(Gospel of Thomas) God can be found within us all through the expansion of minds and knowledge. This message is not just a Christian one, but one of all religions, portrayed in numerous ancient texts. I am intrigued with Brown's intricate way of connecting so many ideas. He not only makes connections of ancient texts and religions, but also connects those ideas to newer revelations about the power of the mind and the proof of God. In this book, Brown gives light to Enlightenment, if that is possible. The greatest revelation of all is his illumination of the Noetic Sciences, a sector which bridges the ever widening gap of religion and science. As always, his book has left me pondering and grasping out to read texts affirming and/or tearing down these great hypotheses.
There are two areas of the book where Brown has disappointed. One aspect that is greatly disappointing as a historian, is Brown's many references to dispelling of the theory of a flat earth through the explorations to the New World. There is no evidence to support such a claim, though as children we are taught this fallacy in school from a very early age. I am disappointed because it is one area that Brown does not challenge the norms in the way the world views history.
A second disappointing aspect of this novel is the lack of connectivity to the previous two concerning Robert Langdon. Brown does make some superficial references like his claustrophobia and the horrors that he experienced in that respect while in Rome and France. What the book avoids, is building upon the knowledge that Robert has learned in the previous installments. In this new tale, Robert is solving a mystery of the Freemasons and in the process revealing much about Enlightenment and the presence of God within us. What would make these revelations more meaningful, would be for the character of Robert to reflect these new findings with what he had learned previously, most notably reflection on the fact that he has proof of the blood-line of Christ. What is the meaning of this claimed knowledge about Jesus' life and the alleged incorrect portrayal of his life in the Bible in reference to the way Brown presents the Bible in The Lost Symbol?
The Lost Symbol was a very enjoyable novel which both challenges and expands the mind as all the previous novels have done. Still, I am left a bit disappointed with a lack of connection to his other works, and left wondering what is his real message? Perhaps, I am reading into this too much. However, I do not believe that anyone would write novels that stir so many questions for entertainment purposes only.
Images found through google images at pacemiller.com and onlinemoviesfreedownload.blogspot.com