Dan Brown’s Inferno was a book I should have read a long time ago; in a literal sense I mean it’s actually been sitting on my bookshelf since July waiting for me to pick it up, but I also mean that I was wondering where it was all my life. Ordinarily, I don’t like investigation/mystery type books, unless you count my childhood Nancy Drew phase, but this was fantastic.
What Inferno is about:
This is the fourth of Brown’s Robert Langdon books, however, thankfully you do not have to be familiar with his other works to follow and enjoy the story. The same Robert Langdon from the Da Vinci Code, which I didn’t even watch in full, so if this is your first Dan Brown book, you’ll be fine.
The novel follows symbol’s professor and Dante enthusiast, Robert Langdon try to uncover why he woke up in whos the same protagonist from the previous three books. He wakes up in a hospital bed in Florence with no recollection of how he even arrived in Italy in the first place. When an assasin shows up at the hospital and kills a doctor while looking for Langdon. He also attempts to uncover the origin and meaning of the mysterious device found in his possession and why assassins are following him.
As Langdon puts the pieces back together to try understand what happened to him, it becomes apparent that he’s now tasked with saving the world from a Doomsday device.
Named after Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, The Divine Comedy is a huge facet of the text. For those who may be unfamiliar with the work, it is a three piece epic poem detailing the poets escape from Hell (the final two parts being about purgatory and heaven). Brown draws heavily on this as Langdon is not only following clues based on Dante’s piece but also compares his adventure frequently to Dante’s escapades in hell.
What I thought:
It was initially difficult to get into; I found Brown’s writing style to be cold and mechanical at times. To be honest, I wasn’t overly fond of it for the first few chapters. However, once getting into the book I was in awe at the multiple twists and turns the plot took. Each time I tried to predict what was going to happen next I was mistaken. Like a true mystery, I didn’t figure it out before the characters did. Throughout the novel Langdon had to unravel passages of poetry, altered images, and learned that things and people are never what they seem. The plot unraveled in a way I never imaged it would from the start.
While the plot is fictional, the locations and points of artistic references are authentic giving a unique mixture of fact and fiction in the one story. I felt rather enlightened on Italian art afterwards to be honest. Browns descriptions were quiet vivid, and his knowledge of Italian art extensive, this is a writer who clearly takes his research seriously. Throughout the novel Langdon had to unravel passages of poetry, altered images, and learned that things and people are never what they seem.
It may have taken some patience, but Inferno was worth the read.