• Audio Book Review: The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

      The Lost Symbol
      Robert Langdon is summoned to Washington, DC , by his old friend and mentor Peter Solomon as a last minute substitute guest speaker. Ho-hum, no problem, he'll just recycle a speech he's given before. That's the last relaxed moment symbologist Robert Langdon will enjoy until the stunning conclusion of this epic mystery thriller. When he arrives at the supposed scene of the banquet, Robert finds a terrifying item--a severed hand, just the first of the many symbols he will have to interpret to save his friend Peter's life. Racing through Washington and its environs, he's joined by Peter's sister Kathleen, a researcher who'd been studying noetic science in a secluded museum. Peter's disappearance appears to be related to his Masonic leadership position since so many of the clues involve Masonic symbols, clandestine locations and secret members. As they follow leads in this cat and mouse pursuit, Robert and Kathleen find themselves the target of a deranged killer with unlimited personal resources and access to the latest in technology. The deadly combination of insanity, obsession, brute strength, wealth, power, vengeance and intelligence produces a villain who tests the limits of Robert Langdon's ability to survive.

      Dan Brown's latest thriller is another riveting escapade uncovering clues, interpreting symbols and evading death in a historic setting. This time the action takes place in Washington, DC, among and within our national monuments. Set in the familiar, but colored by the mysterious and esoteric, the book informs and beguiles. Paul Michaels sustains the tension throughout the 17.5 hour reading of the novel, giving inspired interpretations of both the good and evil characters.

      I often thought that the title of the book should have been "The New Dan Brown Book" because of all the anticipation before its publication. Does it live up to the hype? Yes, definitely. It's compelling, suspense and terror filled, is full of historical and scientific information and has strong, well defined characters who carry out the events in a fascinating plot. The problem is that based on his prior work, we probably have unrealistic expectations when it comes to new Dan Brown material. We expect each book to be much better than the last and it's difficult to improve on excellence. My recommendation is to enjoy The Lost Symbol and to use it as an incentive to plan a road trip in the Washington, DC area to explore and appreciate our national treasures.

      The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
      Read by Paul Michael
      Random House Audio, unabridged: 17.5 hours on 14 CDs

      The Lost Symbol