Florence: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.
A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city. Only Langdon’s knowledge of the hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.
With only a few lines from Dante’s Inferno to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the Renaissance’s most celebrated artworks to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat.
From the opening chapter when Langdon wakes up in hospital with a head injury and haunted by visions I was hooked. All the expected questions were popping in my head: what happened, where is he, who’s after him – you know, that kind of thing. And the pace doesn’t slow from there.
Set in Florence, Venice and Istanbul we’re taken on a rollercoaster journey as Langdon attempts to solve the mystery and the clues in a race against time before a catastrophic plague is released into the world. Sound familiar, course it does! This book follows the same suit/format/template of the other Langdon novels; Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol even in the ending of each chapter on a cliff-hanger of sorts. Basically different city/villain/lead female but in the same style. But you know what, why change a format that works and sells millions of books. I love it. The tension, the excitement, the red herrings, the double crossing, the will they won’t they, deciding who you trust, the descriptiveness of the city’s architecture and the fact that I might actually learn something.
The book is littered with Italian phrases, some are translated, others you understand because of the answers. I like this, makes it feel more authentic. And the beautiful descriptions of Florence and Venice’s architecure and art just make me want to jump on a plane now.
The subject matter itself is quite a provocative topic – world overpopulation.
“Here the throng of tourists was almost impenetrable, creating a claustrophobic crush…”
In some respects I can kind of see where Zobrist is coming from, the figures and facts speak for themselves but his method is obviously way off. Brown does like to stress his point and you will find a lot of repetition in this book (hence 4/5 not 5!)
So overall, you have to like mysteries, you need to like history and problem solving and although part of the Professor Robert Langdon series, this being number 4, this can easily be read as a standalone and is crying out to be made into movie as per the others.
Is is factually correct, is it historically correct, is it accurate? I don’t know and I didn’t care. I got totally swept along, believed every word and as I’m not a history or classics graduate then I didn’t need to pick it to pieces. It’s just a bloody good story.
“Remember tonight…for it’s the beginning of forever”
Attributed to Dante
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