Growing up, some of Dan Brown’s books were a little controversial in some circles (my circles, I guess. Specifically, The DaVinci Code, which I’ve still never read). None the less, after seeing the movie, Inferno, I immediately knew the book would be so much better, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Brown returns to what I understand to be a regular character, Robert Langdon, an American art history teacher who finds himself caught up in mystery and intrigue surrounding ancient art. In Inferno, Langdon wakes up in Florence, Italy, with a head wound and no memory of the last two days. But within hours, Langdon is on the run for his life, trying to solve a riddle. If he fails, it will mean the end of the world–at least for some.
Langdon’s antagonist is a radical genius, a scientist obsessed with solving the problem of overpopulation. Brown tackles the issue in an interesting way, instead of painting the issue as black and white, Brown deals in shades of gray (that turn of phrase will never sit quite the same again), and even the end leaves readers to determine for themselves what is right.
Compared to the movie, the book is so very much different, with more twists, turns, and, as I said, ambiguities for the reader to engage with. If you saw and enjoyed the movie, do read the book, it so much better.
Even though I saw the movie first, the book was still an engaging read. With a variety of characters of varying depths and motivations, Brown weaves in some red herrings to keep readers wondering just exactly who is who and who to root for.
Having finally had a taste of Dan Brown’s writing, I’m anxious for more (though, as always, my ever-growing, never-shrinking reading list makes it unlikely that I’ll get to it any time soon). The symbolism, the intrigue and hints of Sherlockian deduction, it’s a book that your brain will thank you for.