The Lost Symbol

lost-symbol

Title

  • The Lost Symbol

Authors

Publication Info

  • Bantam Dell Pub Group 2009

ISBN

  • 9780385504225 : HRD $28.95
  • 0385504225 : HRD $28.95

Formats

  • Hardcover
  • Paperback
  • CD
  • e-book
  • e-audio
  • Large print

Rating Scale

3Q, 4P

Reader’s Annotation

Symbologist Robert Langdon of The DaVinci Code plunges back into trouble as an evil mastermind draws him into his search for the hidden wisdom and power of the Masons.

Summary

When Robert Langdon gets a call from his dear friend and mentor Peter Solomon asking him to fill in at the last minute as a keynote speaker at a big Washington, D.C. event, Langdon rushes off to the airport without question. The questions start, however, when Langdon arrives at the Capitol building to find no meeting. An adrenaline-laced quest begins when Langdon and Capitol security find a severed hand, tatooed with mystical Masonic symbols pointing at the Dome–and the hand clearly belonged to Peter Solomon. An anonymous caller demands that Langdon follow the grotesque sign to help him find a Hidden Mystery if he wants to see Peter alive again.

Accompanied by the Architect of the Capitol and the sister of the kidnapped man, Langdon goes on the run across D.C. attempting to outwit the CIA and the mysterious man, solve the riddle of ancient Masonic wisdom, and save his friend.

Evaluation

The Lost Symbol is fast-paced and yet cerebral. Robert Langdon of The DaVinci Code is the action hero for the scholarly set. As in the previous adventure, this one centers around a centuries old conspiracy with its own set of mysterious symbols and rituals of which our hero is an able interpreter. The amount of time spent exploring the secrets of Masonry may become wearying, and yet the rapid pace never really lets up. The villain is an archetypal evil genius, somewhat over the top and predictable. The religious and scientific philosophies may be offensive to orthodox Christians.

The novel is plot driven, with little real character development, but that is not to say that there are no interesting characters. Robert Langdon is smart, heroic, and likeable. The Architect of the Capitol is interesting to a point. But despite the histrionics of the villain, possibly the most interesting character is Sato, the assistant director of the CIA. Sato remains shadowy, with true motives hidden until near the end.

Dan Brown fans may find this a satisfactory sequel, and lovers of conspiracy and secret societies may also appreciate this novel.

Author

Visit the author’s website here.

See an interview with BBC News, and read one with The New York Times.

Reviews

Goodreads

Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post

Genre

Thriller/Suspense

Appeal Factors

Dan Brown fans may enjoy the book. It may also appeal to conspiracy buffs and people interested in secret societies, American history, or religion and science.

Readalikes

The Camel Club, by David Baldacci. This is part of a series about an organization that chases conspiracy theories about the U. S. government. The Camel Club and The Lost Symbol are both fast-paced thrillers.

The Jefferson Key, by Steve Berry. A mystery with historical elements, government secrets, and conspiracies, The Jefferson Key has many similar elements to The Lost Symbol.

The Book of Fate, by Brad Meltzer. Both books are fast-paced suspense with historical lore, political conspiracy, and ties to the Masons.

The Machiavelli Covenant, by Allan Folsom. The books share fast-paced suspense, with murder and secret government activities.

Booktalking Ideas

“Secrets lie hidden in the very stones of our nation’s capital–secrets that promise great wisdom and power. The worthy guard these secrets and wait for the right time for all to be revealed. The unworthy seek this treasure for their own diabolical purposes.”

These few sentences could begin an interesting booktalk on the underlying premise of the book.

Discussion Questions

Mal’akh was initially able to gain the trust of Langdon and Katherine Solomon with very little trouble. Did this strike you as realistic? How did he do it?

The Masons are a central part of this story. Do you know any Masons? Do you think the portrayal of this group is accurate? What are your thoughts about secret societies?

Which character or characters did you find most interesting? Why?

Katharine’s study of Noetics has convinced her that man can manipulate matter with the mind and be like God. What do you think about this?

Why I chose the book

This book was a group pick for book discussion. The action and the setting are appealing.

Memory Cues

Robert Langdon, Mal’akh, Masonry, tatooed man, Washington, D.C.

 

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