Sometimes, a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.

The above-mentioned quote exactly describes how I feel about Dan Brown‘s latest novel, “The Lost Symbol“. It is a slow starter to the point of disappointment compared to his other novels. Albeit, a great read. One can compare it to a test of character. Ironic actually since it speaks of a “lost word” that can only be revealed to those who are suitable.

I finished “The Da Vinci Code” in 48 hours and “Digital Fortress” within probably the same period. The “Deception Point” lasted about a week in my hands. That’s how fast-paced these novels were. One can’t just put them down! In terms of pacing, “The Lost Symbol” can be compared to “Angels and Demons”. There are lots of information to churn and I mean serious “textbook” information like a Freemason’s process of initiation from the 1st to the 33rd degree. Not that you can actually read that in an ordinary textbook. I’m sure you know what I mean.

What it is about
The novel is another journey in a big city full of mysteries. Just like “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”. I get the feeling that it’s some kind of a promotional brochure for history fans to visit Washington D.C. It started with a hand found in the middle of the U.S. Capitol Building where Robert Langdon was supposedly invited to make a speech only to realize that he was lured to go there under false pretenses. The hand is owned by a close friend of him who happens to be at the top of the Masonic society. And the story goes on to answer the question: “Who cut the hand and why?”

Picks up at the 100th page
Despite the fact that the novel speaks of the importance of the number 33 over and again, it does not pick up until page 100. At least not for me. After I have finished it, I keep on thinking that it must be written that way to test my patience. Remember, only the “deserving” can find the lost word?

Shock value
In terms of shock value however, the “Lost Symbol” can qualify to that of Brown’s earlier novels. Now that I reflected on it though, the who’s-the-child-of-who ingredient comes back in this story. I’m not telling though, for those fans out there who haven’t read the book. But this shocking revelation before the story ends was quite surprising. I almost screamed when I read it. Needless to say, I did not have the slightest idea.

Strong points
I think the strong point of this novel is the fact that Brown does not fail to make us think. Like his other novels, this one does not only contain a free mind’s tour of a big city and baffling revelations but codes and numbers too. And unlike the others but like “The Da Vinci Code”, which remains my favorite, it also serves us some mental exercise of which a willing, open mind can take pleasure in.

Here’s a collection of quotes that might make you think too. Not necessarily in the same order as in the novel…

There are secrets out there that transcend human understanding…

We’ve been reading the bible too literally. We learn that God created us in his image, but it’s not our physical bodies that resemble God, it’s our minds.

The only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten
that you are divine.

The Buddha said, “You are God yourself”. Jesus taught that “the kingdom of God is within you” and even promised us, “The works that I do, you can do… and greater”.

Our thoughts have the power to change that world and if we know it and recognize it, we would be much careful about how we think. (edited)

If the infinite had not desire man to be wise, he would not have bestowed upon him the faculty of knowing.

I have to admit that before I reached page 100, I was ready to give up. I thought this was a novel that I would finish because my ego tells me to, because I read the other four. Only to realize that Brown still has it in him. He just doesn’t surprise me but he can make me think and re-think. This is an author that can not only drive you crazy with new words and etymologies but with a new perspective. If an author can do that, what can he be but a damn good one? Or maybe, I’m just easy to sway. Whatever it is, he remains on my list. #