I’ve read all of Dan Brown’s books, and consider this to be his best yet. It’s the fourth book to feature Robert Langdon, distinguished US academic and expert in symbology. This time most of the action in the first part of the book takes place in Florence, one of my favourite cities, so that’s a bonus!
The plot centres on Bertrand Zobrist, a geneticist and believer in transhumanism, the main principle of which is that humans must improve their race by becoming actively involved in the evolutionary process. The less positive side of transhumanism however, is that there needs to be a radical reduction in the population to enable the genetically improved cohort to survive and flourish. Zobrist has tried to get the World Health Organisation involved in his project, but not surprisingly they refused his approach. He subsequently commits suicide, but not before apparently leaving some kind of drug that he has created, to be released at a particular time, possibly threatening the future of the human race.
The book begins with Robert Langdon waking up with a head injury in a hospital in Florence. He doesn’t know where he is or how he got there, and assumes that his short term memory loss is due to his injury. But it soon becomes apparent that he is being pursued, and he manages to escape from the hospital with help from a doctor, Sienna Brooks. He gradually realises that the vision that has been haunting him, of a silver haired woman, who instructs him to ‘seek, and ye shall find’, actually has some meaning, but what must he seek? He then finds an object sewn into his jacket, which turns out to be a laser pointer that has been configured to project a painting, an image of Boticelli’s Vision of Hell’, which has had some letters added to it. These letters are the first of a number of clues which he and Brooks must follow to try to find where Zobrist’s ‘object’ is hidden. Langdon knows Florence very well, and the search takes them all over the city. Finally the clues suggest that the search must move on to Venice, and finally to Istanbul. You will need to read the book to follow the chase and to find out if Zobrist’s ‘time bomb’ is recovered in time!
The action is non-stop and exciting, and the descriptions of Florence made me want to go there again! it was very difficult to put the book down; I read it over a Bank Holiday weekend. I recommend it totally, and will award it five stars on Amazon and Goodreads where this review will also be posted.
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