Wowzers! Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon thriller is another thought provoking page-turner full of history and intrigue with every single chapter ending on a cliff hanger. In the earlier offerings in the series (The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol), Langdon narrowly escaping capture at every turn was a novelty. This just gets to be old and unbelievable by book four. Still, Inferno ended strong and gives you a lot to ponder, even after you turn the final page. You’ll want to discuss with anyone who has read it.
Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital having no idea how he got there. The last thing he remembers was walking across campus in Massachusetts, with no recollection how he got to Italy. His doctors inform him that he walked into the hospital with a bullet wound to the head and was mumbling something about “very sorry.” The next thing he knows, a woman starts shooting the older doctor from the doorway and Dr. Sienna Brooks and Langdon escape through another door in the nick of time.
They take brief refuge in Sienna’s apartment where they discover a biohazard tube sewn into a hidden pocket of Langdon’s blazer. The tube reveals a projection of an altered picture of the Botticelli’s famous Maps of Hell, which depicts Dante’s (The Divine Comedy) journey through hell and purgatory to reach paradise. Their reprieve is short lived since there is an army of Italian police hunting them down, and this is the first of many clues that take Langdon and Sienna from Florence to Venice and finally Istanbul while they solve the mystery and attempt to save the world from a bio plague released by a crazy and powerful geneticist.
Like all of Brown’s Langdon books, you’ll learn way more about history, art, and architecture than you ever thought you needed to know, and he combines the true, historical elements with a nail biting thriller center around our favorite hero. The story is full of illusions and nothing is what it seems.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but the last third of the book you learn more about this dangerous plague and the transhumanist movement that makes you wonder about the world’s future given the WHO’s statistics on population growth. This book will stay in my memory for a long time for sure.