KokkieH Reviews Inferno by Dan Brown

About a month ago I mentioned that I had won a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno, which was a good thing as, after The Lost Symbol I wasn’t planning on buying one of his novels again.  Turns out my instincts were right as Mr Brown’s latest offering was not much of an improvement on its predecessor.

Inferno by Dan Brown
Cover design: http://www.henrysteadman.com
Publisher: http://www.transworldbooks.co.uk

I have to admit that wasn’t my first impression.  In fact, I quite enjoyed the first two thirds of the novel.

(At this point it would be pertinent to insert a spoiler warning.  I am going to reveal significantly more than the jacket blurb, but I’ll try not to ruin the big stuff just in case you really want to read it.)

Inferno once again features Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor in Art History and Symbology who had previously caused havoc in Rome, Paris, London and Washington DC.  This time Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital with a bullet wound to his head and no recollection of the past forty-eight hours.  A woman in black leather bursts in and tries to shoot him and he gets dragged out into the night by a beautiful American doctor named Sienna Brooks who takes him to safety.

Langdon discovers a biometrically-sealed biohazard container hidden in his clothes and inside, a laser projector with a curiously altered version of Botticelli’s Mappa dell’Inferno.  Langdon is also having visions (which had me raise my eyebrow, as in the previous novels Langdon is painted as an agnostic verging on atheist – not the type of person who has visions as a rule) but that is later explained as a side-effect of the head wound and resulting retrograde amnesia.

Langdon and Brooks do not remain safe for long, but are soon running for their lives pursued by the relentless assassin, Vayentha, the Florence police, and agent Brüder and his special forces team.  While on the run, they naturally manage to decipher the riddle of the altered painting which leads them into a race against time through Florence, Venice and Istanbul to prevent a terrible plague from being unleashed on humanity.

Click on Page 2 below to find out what I liked about the novel.

9 thoughts on “KokkieH Reviews Inferno by Dan Brown

  1. Y’know, by the end of your 2nd page I was starting to like the sound of this novel. By the end…less so :P. I’ll probably still check out the Lost Symbol movie, though, if only because I liked the Angels & Demons adaption so much.


    1. The first two thirds really weren’t bad, and you wouldn’t notice the Brownisms if you’re not an expert on Dante and Florence. But he ruined it for me with the twists. The final act did not fit in with the first two, in my opinion (and I confess I don’t know that much). Next time round I’ll rather read the original Inferno 😉


  2. I could reconcile most of the ‘plot twists’… The fact that agent bruder was reporting back to WHO and not the Provost… I got lost there! Who was he calling if not the provost? There explicit references to him calling a male. Unless he’s been calling his HQ, and some random person, this twist goes down as a fail!


    1. Definitely. Especially when we consider that his boss was right there with him (and we’ll ignore the fact that Europe doesn’t have its own SWAT team to deal with epidemics and such…). What really irritated me is that he used Sinskey’s POV, in other words her thoughts, to show us she’s a captive while she was actually in charge. Laying red herrings is one thing, but that felt like Brown was trying to trick us.


  3. I’ve read enough Dan Brown to not want to read any more. The two I read – ‘The Of Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ reveal a mastery of structure and of a topic highly likely to seize interest – but that’s about it. The science and history he reveals in these books is riddled with idiotic errors, and I was left with the disturbing impression that he hadn’t actually visited Paris for the former novel. More crucially, for me anyway, his writing has a choking ineptitude about it that to my mind should have been fixed by his publishers; both in terms of his characters – who are cardboard – and the technical writing style itself. I can’t fault the guy for selling 80 million copies or more of his books, but the ones i read could have been so much better written.


    1. In this case I feel he failed in terms of structure as well. The last part of the book almost seemed disconnected from the first with all the about-turns regarding the character roles and motivations. It’s as if the story got away from him at some point and he just pushed ahead regardless.


    1. The ending quite ruined what would otherwise have been a reasonably entertaining, though still not great, novel. I think there are many better ones you can read instead.


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