national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Another cracking good yarn from Dan Brown. (Review by Keith Millar)

Dan Brown’s books have been translated into 52 languages, and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide. His blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, written in 2003, is regarded as one of the most popular books of all time.

All this is an indication of how high he has set the bar. With his latest offering, Inferno, he has produced a spellbinding, electrifying “race against time” thriller which easily meets that standard.

Dan Brown’s inspiration for this book was part one of Dante Alighieri’s epic 14th century poem, The Divine Comedy. Also entitled Inferno, it portrays Dante’s descent into the depths of hell.

Brown’s story sees hero Robert Langdon racing through the streets and secret passageways of Florence, Venice and Istanbul trying to prevent global catastrophe plotted by an evil genius. Langdon is accompanied by the beautiful and mysterious Doctor Sienna Brooks. Together they have to decipher a series of clues, puzzles, hidden mysteries and symbols all stemming from Dante’s masterpiece. It is an intriguing and dizzying journey as the story takes more twists and turns than a mountain road.

Dan Brown’s hero, the urbane Harvard University professor Robert Langdon, is a charming and interesting character. Not for him are karate chops and guns and drinks shaken not stirred. He would rather use his superior intellect and substantial knowledge to solve problems, better his enemies and to get the girl. On this occasion, however, he is hard-pressed to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, save the world from disaster.

As always, Brown has done his homework as far as the locations used in his story are concerned. As a result, his settings are historically and geographically accurate and this adds an intriguing travelogue quality to the action. If you haven’t been to Florence, Venice and Istanbul before, you will want to after reading this book.

Another possible bonus which may well result from this book will be a renewed interest in the classic masterpiece, Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Like most books in this genre Inferno is formulaic, predictable and at times a bit over the top. It is, however, thoroughly enjoyable escapist entertainment. One started it is difficult to put down. Dan Brown has written another cracking good yarn. 

Inferno is published by Transworld Publishers. ISBN: 978-0-59307-249-3. Recommended retail price R299. – Keith Millar