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Synopses & Reviews
In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code,
Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol
is a masterstroke of storytelling—a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol
accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.
As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object —artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.
When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon—a prominent Mason and philanthropist —is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations—all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.
As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for . . . his most thrilling novel yet.
"After scores of Da Vinci Code knockoffs, spinoffs, copies and caricatures, Brown has had the stroke of brilliance to set his breakneck new thriller not in some far-off exotic locale, but right here in our own backyard. Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter's severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages. A villain known as Mal'akh, a steroid-swollen, fantastically tattooed, muscle-bodied madman, wants to locate the wisdom so he can rule the world. Mal'akh has captured Peter and promises to kill him if Langdon doesn't agree to help find the portal. Joining Langdon in his search is Peter's younger sister, Kathleen, who has been conducting experiments in a secret museum. This is just the kickoff for a deadly chase that careens back and forth, across, above and below the nation's capital, darting from revelation to revelation, pausing only to explain some piece of wondrous, historical esoterica. Jealous thriller writers will despair, doubters and nay-sayers will be proved wrong, and readers will rejoice: Dan Brown has done it again." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Dan Brown is] bringing sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead....In the end it is Mr. Brown's sweet optimism, even more than Langdon's sleuthing and explicating, that may amaze his readers most." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Brown's narrative moves rapidly, except for those clunky moments when people sound like encyclopedias....The Lost Symbol is more like the experience on any roller coaster — thrilling, entertaining and then it's over." Los Angeles Times
"As a thriller, The Lost Symbol is exciting, although readers of The Da Vinci Code will notice that some of the same stock characters and creaky plot devices pop up." The Wall Street Journal
"World-renowned symbologist and all-around cool guy Robert Langdon is summoned to an Imposing Architectural Landmark, where something Really Yucky has been left in a way only he can recognize. You know, as a clue. Langdon snaps into action, and it isn't long before he's uncovered more clues that lead to a Secret Society full of Famous Dead Guys. There's a Super-Duper Secret, and the fate of the universe is at stake, but thank goodness Langdon has help from a Foxy Brainiac, which he needs because he's up against a Major Freak. Langdon and the Foxy Brainiac race through more Imposing Architectural Landmarks, pausing only to lecture each other about symbols and whatnot, and try to win a Race Against Time against the Major Freak." Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
(read the entire Oregonian review
Da Vinci Code symbologist, Robert Langdon, returns in Dan Brown's highly anticipated new thriller, The Lost Symbol.
Dan Brown's new novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his #1 international phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code
, which was the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time with 81 million copies in print worldwide, will be published in the U.S. and Canada by Doubleday on September 15, 2009.
The Lost Symbol will have a first printing of 5 million copies, and it will once again feature Dan Brown's unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon. Brown's longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, "Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book's narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan's readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises."
Dan Brown's popularity continues to grow. The film of The Da Vinci Code was a #1 box office smash when it was released by Columbia Pictures in May 2006 with Ron Howard directing and Tom Hanks starring as Robert Langdon. Box office receipts were $758 million. The same team will release Angels and Demons theatrically worldwide on May 15, 2009.
Nineteenth-century Europeand#8212;from Turin to Prague to Parisand#8212;abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. Conspiracies rule history. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created the worldand#8217;s most infamous document? and#160; Umberto Eco takes his readers on a remarkable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events. Here is Eco at his most exciting, a book immediately hailed as a masterpiece.
An ingenious, fast-paced historical thriller from the author of the New York Times bestseller The Last Templar
On a cold, bleak day in 1916, all hell breaks loose in a mining pit in the Ural Mountains. Overcome by a strange paranoia, the miners attack one another, savagely and ferociously. Minutes later, two mena horrified scientist and Grigory Rasputin, trusted confidant of the tsarhit a detonator, blowing up the mine to conceal all evidence of the carnage.
In the present day, FBI agent Sean Reillys search for Reed Corrigan, the CIA mindcontrol spook who brainwashed Reillys son, takes a backseat to a new, disturbing case. A Russian embassy attaché seems to have committed suicide by jumping out of a fourth-floor window in Queens. The apartments owners, a retired physics teacher from Russia and his wife, have gone missing, and further investigation reveals that the former may not be who the FBI believe him to be.
Joined by Russian Federal Security Service agent Larisa Tchoumitcheva, Reillys investigation of the old mans identity will uncover a desperate search for a small, mysterious device, with consequences that reach back in time and which, in the wrong hands, could have a devastating impact on the modern world.
Packed with the twists, intrigue, and excitement that Khourys many fans have come to expect, Rasputins Shadow will keep readers turning pages long into the night.
The story of a secret agent who weaves plots, conspiracies, intrigues and attacks, and helps determine the historical and political fate of the Continent.
About the Author
Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling novels of all time. Named one of the World's 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine, he has appeared in the pages of Newsweek, Forbes, People, GQ, The New Yorker, and others. His novels are published in 51 languages around the world.
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 (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 only able to consider 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, and the need to keep it "locked" because it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, a 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 did 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?
The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multi-faceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?
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?
What truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience in the epilogue, at sunrise, 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—both ancient texts and bestselling twenty-first-century novels?
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?