Brown’s (The Lost Symbol, 2009, etc.) latest, in which a very bad guy is convinced that there are entirely too many people roaming the surface of the planet, and, because he’s a fan of Dante and the Plague both, he’s set to unleash inferno upon the world.
Naturally enough, this being a Brown novel, someone is in possession of a piece of occult knowledge that will save the day—or not. The novel is populated with the usual elements in the form of secret, conspiratorial organizations and villains on the way to being supervillains, and readers of a literary bent may find the writing tortured: “This morning, as he stepped onto the private balcony of his yacht’s stateroom, the provost looked across the churning sea and tried to fend off the disquiet that had settled in his gut.” To his credit, Brown’s yarn is somewhat more tightly constructed than his earlier Langdon vehicles, though its best parts are either homages or borrowings; the punky chick assassin who threatens Langdon, for instance, seems to have wandered in from a Stieg Larsson set, while the car-chase-and-explosions stuff, to say nothing of Langdon’s amnesiac wanderings around the world, would seem to be a nod to Robert Ludlum. (Being chased by a drone is a nice touch, though.) If you want more of the great medieval poet Dante woven into a taut thriller, see Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club.
Ace symbologist Robert Langdon returns, and the world trembles. Perfect escapist reading for fans.