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Friday, September 13, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno: A Novel

Ah yes, even I love a good mass market thriller. This is Dan Brown's newest, Inferno.

Robert Langdon is back like whoa. He wakes up in a hospital in Florence with a gunshot graze wound to the head and retrograde amnesia. Before he can fully come to, he is on the run with his nurse from a crazed assassin with the understanding that his own government is trying to kill him. He has visions of a gray-haired lady wearing a plague mask and is mightily confused by the warped Botticelli facsimile in his pocket. Can he solve the mystery left behind by a crazed microbiologist and save mankind from a plague of epic proportions before he is killed by his pursuers? Can Dante's Inferno hold all the answers?

I realize that snobby book readers stick up their noses at the fact that the masses will read and enjoy this work, and to them I say, "Get a grip." I had this conversation with some Book Snots I worked with for five minutes earlier this summer before I came to my senses and walked out, when one of them said sarcastically, "So I know you guys can't wait to read Dan Brown's new book." The nineteen-year-old boys laughed derisively before I said, "Actually, I am planning on reading it. Dan Brown is a compelling story teller who knows how to get you to turn the page, and it is clear the he puts much research he into his work. You can make fun of it all you want, but I like a good story and I appreciate any book that gets people reading who don't often read." They changed their tune to regretful murmurs, but you can imagine the conversations they have at the wine bar on weekends. I will take my beer with fun, thankyouverymuch.

I will also take a story that is tight, page-turning, and fantastic in the most literal terms. I stand by my comments made to the Book Snots months ago--I find Brown to be a compelling story-teller and I will continue reading his books when they come out. I buzzed through this one in two days at the beach over the summer, and while it was predictable at times (if you have read Langdon's adventures before, you know he figures things out quickly, can be intelligently crafty, and loves a hot chic as a sidekick) I still enjoyed the story and the web that was woven around Dante's Divine Comedy.

It focused on Inferno but also brought the other two sections of Comedy to the table, making it fun and informative. I also appreciated that Brown found ways to inform his readers of Inferno's content without being pedantic about it; I imagine that not everyone reading this book has a history in Dante. It had been so long for me since I read it that the refresher was nice. I had a great time with this book and I am happy that I carved out some vacation book-reading time for it. Give it shot--you never know, you may very well find you also can't put it down.

I can only give you a link to the hard copy below. Enjoy!

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