23.5 Degrees Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown Comments - Mania.com


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ProfessorW 9/19/2009 12:37:31 AM

 Great insider's review of The Lost Symbol (I never did find out what that referred to).  My take on the book is that you get exactly what it says on the tin:

- hundreds (and hundreds) of pages of fast-paced action

- cool codes

- hokey ancient mysteries

- quirky (and bad) use of language and grammar and lots and LOTS of italics and CAPITALS

- the familiar Brown universe (familiar also extends to those writers who so obviously influenced Brown: Sebastian Junger"s The Perfect Storm for how drowning works and Thomas Harris' Red Dragon for nasty, full-body tatooed baddies)

In the end, what does it all MEAN?  It means Brown and the Washington Tourist Board are going to make a shedload of money from the book and the movie.  ... and just maybe there'll be an epidemic of self-castration this Fall.  After 550 pages, I was myself thinking of reaching for the knife.  I only wish Jason Kaufman had...

RogerXXII 9/19/2009 10:16:01 AM

 Since many of you have read this stuff, I don't have to suffer needlessly, and I can simply ask:

Is it true that there is some discussion of Nicolas Flamel, within that ocean of pages, and is it at all accurate?

StellaMaris 9/19/2009 12:03:58 PM

No, he doesn't mention Flamel (I would have definitely noted it if he had), although he refers to Alchemy tangentially in some of the discussions (mostly in the context of it being an "Ancient Mystery"). As far as accuracy is concerned... some of the concepts/locations/events Brown uses as literary devices do indeed exist, although not necessarily in the way that he presents them. Does that count?

For the avoidance of doubt, just because I note some of Brown's alleged sources in the above review, this doesn't mean that I endorse them or even believe in them. 

I think it's important to remember that this is all fiction...

Squid 9/19/2009 11:40:08 PM

Just thought that I would pass this along... are you aware that there are codes on the covers of both Davinci Code and Lost Symbol?  One of the ones on LS's cover refers to a phone number... that, for the 1st 33 callers, wins a personally signed copy of Lost Symbol.  I encourage you to look at www.thecryptex.com for information on the codes.



ProfessorW 9/20/2009 2:35:09 AM

 Squid, thanks for the link.  I particularly enjoyed the Today interview with DB.

Calibur454 9/20/2009 10:50:36 AM

I have put this one on my christmas list. I'm hoping it is at least as good as the previous two.

As far as movies go I have heard that angels and demons is much better than the davinci code. It is something I'll have to check out when it hits dvd.

abraxas27 9/20/2009 1:20:14 PM

Alchemy - well there's quite a bit of discussion of Isaac Newton's interest in the subject and links to Rosicrucians, talk of transformation of the (handily small) pyramid made of granite and gold by heating it to the Newtonian boiling point of 33 (or perhaps 34) degrees, mention of early alchemists using organic phosphors as thermal markers, et j'en passe et j'en passe, and VITRIOL is written on the wall of a "chamber of reflection" deep below the Capitol building...it's a shimmering, teasing concoction of evocative key-words and great men of mystery...


StellaMaris 9/20/2009 11:55:52 PM

Yes, Brown throws in a few Googled alchemical references, but nothing to do with Flamel. In fact, from the little hints he was dropping, I'm guessing his next book is going to be based around the Rosicrucians. He's done the Illuminati, the Priory of Sion, and now the Freemasons, so it's just a matter of time until he works his way around to the Rosicrucians (you read it here first!). 

Ironically, one of the books I'm reading at the moment is Isaac Newton's Freemasonry: The Alchemy of Science and Mysticism by Alain Bauer (in addition to Michael White's excellent The Last Sorcerer).

Squid - the codes are only on the covers on the US versions of the books, we have different covers over here in the UK. Besides, I have strong aversion to cracking codes and winning contests after what happened the first time:-


ProfessorW 9/26/2009 5:14:33 AM

 What happened to this week's Stella Maris column?  Is something going on behind the scenes?  I think we should be told!

RogerXXII 9/29/2009 8:58:21 AM

 Rumour has it that she was rendered speechless due to "cozying up" to a nefarious character.

Of course, the more realistic answer is that there was a beer shortage in the immediate area, and that there can be no art without beer, which is art.

Happy Michael's day just the same.

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