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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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The Lost Symbol

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The Lost Symbol Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. How familiar were you with Freemasonry before reading the novel? How did your impressions of the organization shift throughout the book, from the chilling prologue to Peter Solomon's philosophical comments near the end?

2. How do Peter Solomon's students (including Robert) reconcile their admiration for him with the knowledge that he is a Mason? Did it surprise you to learn about well-known American historical figures who were Masons and to read about scientists who were intrigued by mysticism and other occult belief systems?

3. Discuss the novel's grand theme of architecture. How did The Lost Symbol change the way you think about the way buildings are designed and the intention of their architects—their creators? What most surprised you about the tributes to the past—and visions of the future—that are captured in the landmarks of Washington, D.C.?

4. Mal'akh considers the polarity of angels and demons, noting that "the guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon destroyer." What does this indicate about Mal'akh's perception of himself in the world? How can his evil nature be explained? Why is he able to consider only his own suffering, while relishing the suffering of others?

5. How did you react to Katherine Solomon's work in Noetic Science? What motivates her to investigate the tangible aspects of the human soul (attempting to weigh it, even)? How would it change the world if there were more tangible evidence of the spiritual world? How is Katherine Solomon's perception of science different from Robert Langdon's?

6. At the heart of the novel is a quest to unlock wisdom despite the need to keep it "locked" since it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, the World Wide Web) is a blessing or a curse?

7. The novel's epigraph, from Manly Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, encourages readers to become aware of the meaning of the world. What mysteries about the world, and life, do you think are the most important ones to explore?

8. How does Mal'akh amass enough power to turn his personal plot into a national security threat? What does his rise to power indicate about the potential of mind over body and a human being's ability to play a variety of roles for unsuspecting audiences?

9. The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multifaceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?

10. While interpreting the Masonic Pyramid's final inscription, Robert Langdon tries to bring order out of chaos by interpreting each symbol as a metaphor. Peter Solomon instructs him to be literal and accept the inscription as a true map. What does this exchange say about the best way to interpret all sacred messages?

11. In the epilogue what truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience, at sunris atop America's ultimate symbol? From your perspective, what does the Capitol symbolize?

12. What does The Lost Symbol indicate about the power of the word—whether ancient texts or bestselling twenty-first-century novels?

13. What common thread runs through this and each of Dan Brown's previous works? What makes The Lost Symbol unique? How has Robert Langdon's perspective changed from Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

mbtm2003, February 28, 2011 (view all comments by mbtm2003)
All I have to say is, "HOLY COW!!!! What a ride!!!!" I just finished this book, and it is even more mind-blowing than 'DaVinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons.' The plot twists and turns, taking the reader on an extremely-hard-to-put-down journey. Just when you think you have the secrets solved, something else occurs in the storyline which blows your ideas all to hell. The final two twists are absolutely guaranteed to make you feel as if someone cut a hole in the top of your head, stuck in a whisk and scrambled your brains. If you love reading a great book that takes you for a great ride, read this book! I am looking forward to reading more from him.
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pascales, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by pascales)
I found this book extremely interesting for the information it gave on the Free Masons. I had know idea of how much they have influenced not just politics but architecture. It makes me want to visit Washington D.C. just see if I can identify some of the items and places described in the book. Like all of Dan Brown's books it's a great read. You can't help but want to finish it even if it makes you hungry for more!
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Mary Radke, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Mary Radke)
Dan Brown just keeps getting better and better. I loved this book!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400079148
Author:
Brown, Dan
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
MASS MARKET
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
35 x 11.1 x 7.1 in 24.52 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers

The Lost Symbol Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400079148 Reviews:
"Review" by , “Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead....His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica...amazing imagery...and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down. Splendid....Another mind-blowing Robert Langdon story.”
"Review" by , “Thrilling in the extreme, a definite page-flipper.”
"Review" by , “Call it Brownian motion: a comet-tail ride of beautifully spaced reveals and a socko unveiling of the killer’s true identity.”
"Review" by , “The wait is over. The Lost Symbol is here — and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it....Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a roller coaster.”
"Review" by , “Robert Langdon remains a terrific hero, a bookish intellectual who’s cool in a crisis and quick on his feet....The codes are intriguing, the settings present often-seen locales in a fresh light, and Brown keeps the pages turning.”
"Review" by , “A fascinating pleasure....Upends our usual assumptions about the world we think we know.”
"Review" by , “A roaring ride....A caper filled with puzzles, grids, symbols, pyramids and a secret that can bestow ‘unfathomable power.’”
"Review" by , “Dan Brown is a master of the breathless, puzzle-driven thriller.”
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