Envisioning my version of the characters is part of the fun of escaping into the fictionalized world, but with Dan Brown’s latest mystery thriller – Inferno – I couldn’t get Tom Hanks out of my mind – Robert Langdon will never be the same. The book was a hot pick at my library (to be returned within a week), but the intensity of Brown’s stories encourage fast reading, and it was easy to finish quickly. Using his familiar successful formula of a mad chase with a beautiful woman, complete with secrets, puzzless and historical references, Brown targets overpopulation and a villain who would solve the problem with a pandemic.
Florence is the site for the action, with references to its amazing art. Brown may add this Italian city to Paris and Rome as a future tour destination for tourists looking to follow the mystery. The Parisian church, made famous by the Da Vinci Code, had crowds looking for the nonexistent clues that had made the book famous. It is fiction, after all, but with Brown’s latest adventure, his astute connection of real history and literature to his fabricated additions, make the story seem real. The scientific possibilities for biochemical alterations and the mathematical predictions add credibility to the future doom predicted in the tale. If you missed reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, Brown’s lectures will clarify any vague notions about the descriptions of hell, purgatory, and paradise with excerpts and explanations.
Brown assures the reader in his preface:
All artwork. literature, science, and historical references in this novel are real.”
The action accelerates in the end, with a twist of loyalties, but at times the plot wallows in Brown’s detailed background information. As a good friend advised me – “if you liked his (Brown’s) other books, you’ll like this one” – different setting, exciting chase, lessons on history and art – same storyline.