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Tom Chaney No. 226, Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol
Of Writers and Their Books, No. 226, 11 October 2009 Tom Chaney book review : The Lost Symbol A catch up posting. There will be 2 Tom Chaney columns for today
The next earlier Tom Chaney essay Cussing with Imagination
By Tom Chaneybookstore@scrtc.com
Dan Brown and the Screenplay as NovelDan Brown is back with another fast paced novel digging into symbolism like a hog rooting in slop.
After taking the Vatican and the Catholics for a speedy turn around the turf in Angels and Demons and the Da Vinci Code, this time he takes on the Freemasons in The Lost Symbol.
Robert Langdon, the Harvard symboligist is back, running about trying to save the life of friend and mentor Peter Solomon of the Smithsonian.
Evil villain, Mal'akh who is not all he seems to be, lures Langdon from the ivory towers of Cambridge to the byways of the nation's capital under false premises in order to take us on a thirty-three degree romp through the Masonic symbols at the root of the nation and its capital and capitol.
Langdon, who is a chronic sufferer of claustrophobia, acrophobia, agoraphobia, and other fears, is tested to the max -- especially when he is placed in a coffin-like torture where waterboarding would be a relief. He drowns, but is restored to life -- all before dawn of the second day.
Because at dawn of the second day Langdon must be on top of the capitol dome with his lady fair in time for the sun to rise and kiss the top of the Washington Monument with the first rays confirming the Masonic symbolism of the obelisk and the nation.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the novel. I can even envision the movie which will be inevitable. I read the five hundred plus pages in three days and nights while tending to a bunch of other matters. It was fun. But it left me, as well as Langdon, a bit out of breath.
And behind all the running about, in which Brown revels, the book makes some interesting points.
The Masonic order has had some notable illuminati amongst its number. They are not all ancient costumes and secret rituals.
Think of Sir Isaac Newton, George Washington -- scientists and builders of nations.
If one can come away from such a book with something of value, it could well be a growing respect for the history of science.
I used to be most frustrated in collegial discussions with friends on various faculties when scientists failed to be aware of the history of their disciplines. Many academics seem to have blinders which prevent their looking right or left in their pursuit of science. But many have destroyed their rear view mirrors as well.
I reckon it is necessary to know the past to avoid the same chuck holes. That's why we have historians. Brown has his scientists aware of the past and the intricate connections across disciplines -- connections of symbols and ideas -- which link us all.
By all means, read The Lost Symbol. Be sure you are in good shape when you do -- there is much chasing about. But don't look for the mild critique of the Masonic order that we found of the Vatican in the two earlier novels.
It's kinda' fun.
Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at:
The BOOKSTORE in Horse Cave, KY
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney firstname.lastname@example.org
To read other Tom Chaney book reviews and essays, enter "Tom Chaney" in the searchbox.
This story was posted on 2009-10-11 09:18:23
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More articles from topic Tom Chaney: Of Writers and Their Books:
Tom Chaney No. 225, Cussing with Imagination
Tom Chaney No. 225, Sept. 27, 2009: Bonnie and Clyde
Tom Chaney No. 223: Sept. 20, 2009: At the Dusk of Dawn
Tom Chaney No. 222: Sept. 13, 2009: The Lighted Torch
Tom Chaney No. 221: Fenton Johnson, New Haven, KY
Tom Chaney No. 220, 30 Aug. 2009: Biscuits
Tom Chaney #219 review of The Advocate 23 August 2009
Tom Chaney reprint #38 review of The Way to Cook
Tom Chaney #218: Commentary on Julia and Julie
Tom Chaney #217: Book review of Pegasus Descending
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