7 Hook Falls Flat
“The dark religions are departed & sweet science reigns”
The new installment of Professor Robert Landon’s journey bore many Dan Brown signatures. The story started with a scientific discovery that claimed to shake the very foundation of all religions! The audacious claim cunningly hooked audience to embark on another intellectual and physical adventure – yet only to meet a lackluster revelation. A painful reminder of Lost Symbol.
The story had two main plots. Landon set out to attend a new conference hosted by a world-renowned futurist entrepreneur at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain. Right before the entrepreneur was about to reveal his discovery, he was assassinated on the stage in front of millions of viewers around the world. On the other hand, the royal family of Spain was engulfed with conspiracy, second guessing and an ideology struggle. Who hired the assassin? Who made the false statement? Was this a bloodshed fight between the conservative and the progressive? As the story unfolded, each member of the high royal circle was implicated with greater viciousness. Anyone could have been the puppeteer.
Dan Brown style.
Except this time, the two plots never crossed paths. It is like John Snow and Cersei Lannister somehow managed not to meet each other in the Game of Thrones. Everything was just a misunderstanding！
After the assassination, the story followed a heroic Hollywood blockbuster routine. Professor Landon refused to be protected by the officials. He and his new companion escaped under the nose of Spanish Royal Guards and a shower of bullets by Spanish police. They travelled across Spain to find a way to reveal the scientific discovery. As usual, they had to decipher a few codes, plant a few decoys along the way and even do a back-flip! The turn of events was fervently followed by millions across the globe with intensifying enthusiasm. A website called Conspiracy Net was feeding its voracious readers with outlandish theories thanks to an informer firstname.lastname@example.org. At the end, a disguised message in an artwork led the couple to unlock the unfinished presentation.
The presentation turned out to be a wordy, sleep-inducing lecture. It was anything but shocking. Yes, if you can recall – the Lost Symbol Washington Monument walk style. Thankfully, Mr. Brown saved a little surprise at the end. A hint: if you know Spanish well enough, the cue of the twist was out quite early in the story. The new journey of Professor Landon was centered around north of Spain. Mr. Brown has demonstrated a thorough research into Spanish culture and history. The knowledge helped him manicure the storyline with historical facts and fabrication.
I didn’t rate this new book particularly high. The reading experience is far less intriguing than some of his earlier works. Da Vinci Code has set the bar so high, just some repetition is not going to make the cut. But my ranking might be negatively biased. I have read all of his books which made me long accustomed to his writing style.
Noetheless, the book can easily double as an excellent guide of Barcelona and a critique of Antoni Gaudi’s works. It could be quite fun to do a book trail around Bilbao and Barcelona, or even a quad bike ride in the Dubai desert. I would like to see the giant spider and how “two thousand years of architecture were replaced with chaos”. Then I want to see how Gaudi made the famous Sagrada Familia alive.