The Lost Symbol.pdf
Vehicles move through the murky night, carrying highly secret material. And that clandestine material will only be available--after midnight--to those who have signed non-disclosure notices. The plot of the new Dan Brown novel? No, it’s actually how reviewers such as myself obtained our copies of the much-anticipated The Lost Symbol, the follow-up to the Da Vinci Code. And as we read it in (literally) the cold light of dawn, we wonder: is it likely to match the earlier book’s all-conquering, phenomenal success?
Firstly, it should be noted that The Lost Symbol has incorporated all the elements that so transfixed readers in The Da Vinci Code: a complex, mystifying plot (with the reader set quite as many challenges as the protagonist); breathless, helter-skelter pace (James Patterson's patented technique of keeping readers hooked by ending chapters with a tantalisingly unresolved situation is very much part of Dan Brown’s armoury). And, of course, the winning central character, resourceful symbologist Robert Langdon, is back, risking his life to crack a dangerous mystery involving the Freemasons (replacing the controversial trappings of the Catholic Church and homicidal monks of the last book). And while Dan Brown will never win any prizes for literary elegance, his prose is always succinctly at the service of delivering a thoroughly involving thriller narrative in vividly evoked locales (here, Washington DC, colourfully conjured).
Robert Langdon flies to Washington after an urgent invitation to speak in the Capitol building. The invitation appears to have come from a friend with copper-bottomed Masonic connections, Peter Solomon. But Langdon has been tricked: Solomon has, in fact, been kidnapped, and (echoing the grisly opening of the last book) a macabre mutilation plunges Langdon into a tortuous quest. His friend’s severed hand lies in the Capitol building, positioned to point to a George Washington portrait that shows the father of his country as a pagan deity. The ruthless criminal nemesis here is another terrifying figure in Brown’s gallery of grotesques: Mal’akh, a powerfully built eunuch with a body festooned with tattoos. Mal’akh is seeking a Masonic pyramid that possesses a formidable supernatural power, and a pulse-pounding hunt is afoot, with Langdon stalled rather than aided by the CIA.
Caveats are pointless here; Dan Brown, comfortably the world’s most successful author, is utterly review-proof. And there's no arguing with the fact that he has his finger on the pulse of the modern thriller reader, furnishing the mechanics of the blockbuster adventure with energy and invention. Like its predecessor, The Lost Symbol will unquestionably be--in fact, already is--a publishing phenomenon. --Barry Forshaw - This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Publisher
The Lost Symbol is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's No. 1 international phenomenon with 81 million copies in print worldwide and the UK's biggest selling paperback novel of all time, and it will once again feature Dan Brown's unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon. This book's narrative takes place in a 12-hour period, and from the first page, Dan's readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape.The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown's prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book.
'This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey', says Dan Brown himself. 'Weaving five years of research into the story's 12-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon's life clearly moves a lot faster than mine'.
"Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead…His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica…amazing imagery…and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down. SPLENDID…ANOTHER MIND-BLOWING ROBERT LANGDON STORY."—Janet Maslin, New York Times
"THRILLING IN THE EXTREME, A DEFINITE PAGE-FLIPPER."—Daily News (New York)
"Call it Brownian motion: A COMET TAIL-RIDE of beautifully spaced reveals and a socko unveiling of the killer's true identity."—Washington Post
"The wait is over. The Lost Symbol is here--and you don't have to be a Freemason to enjoy it….THRILLING AND ENTERTAINING, LIKE THE EXPERIENCE ON A ROLLER COASTER."—Los Angeles Times
"ROBERT LANGDON REMAINS A TERRIFIC HERO, a bookish intellectual who's cool in a crisis and quick on his feet…. The codes are intriguing, the settings present often-seen locales in a fresh light, and Brown keeps the pages turning."—Entertainment Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
Dan Brown is a graduate of Amherst College, and Phillips Exeter Academy, where, he has taught English and creative writing before turning his efforts fully to writing. In 1996, his interest in code-breaking and covert government agencies led him to write his first novel, "Digital Fortress", which quickly became a # 1 national bestselling book. Dan Brown is the bestselling author of "Digital Fortress", "Deception Point", "Angels and Demons" and "The Da Vinci Code". His novels have been translated and published in more than 30 languages around the world. - This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
PrologueHouse of the Temple8:33 P.M. The secret is how to die.
Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.
The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear. As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a "cable-tow" as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.The assembly of brothers encircling him all were adorned in their full regalia of lambskin aprons, sashes, and white gloves. Around their necks hung ceremonial jewels that glistened like ghostly eyes in the muted light. Many of these men held powerful stations in life, and yet the initiate knew their worldly ranks meant nothing within these walls. Here all men were equals, sworn brothers sharing a mystical bond.As he surveyed the daunting assembly, the initiate wondered who on the outside would ever believe that this collection of men would assemble in one place . . . much less this place. The room looked like a holy sanctuary from the ancient world.The truth, however, was stranger still.I am just blocks away from the White House.This colossal edifice, located at 1733 Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, D.C., was a replica of a pre-Christian temple—the temple of King Mausolus, the original mausoleum . . . a place to be taken after death. Outside the main entrance, two seventeen-ton sphinxes guarded the bronze doors. The interior was an ornate labyrinth of ritualistic chambers, halls, sealed vaults, libraries, and even a hollow wall that held the remains of two human bodies. The initiate had been told every room in this building held a secret, and yet he knew no room held deeper secrets than the gigantic chamber in which he was currently kneeling with a skull cradled in his palms.The Temple Room.This room was a perfect square. And cavernous. The ceiling soared an astonishing one hundred feet overhead, supported by monolithic columns of green granite. A tiered gallery of dark Russian walnut seats with hand-tooled pigskin encircled the room. A thirty-three-foot-tall throne dominated the western wall, with a concealed pipe organ opposite it. The walls were a kaleidoscope of ancient symbols . . . Egyptian, Hebraic, astronomical, alchemical, and others yet unknown.Tonight, the Temple Room was lit by a series of precisely arranged candles. Their dim glow was aided only by a pale shaft of moonlight that filtered down through the expansive oculus in the ceiling and illuminated the room's most startling feature—an enormous altar hewn from a solid block of polished Belgian black marble, situated dead center of the square chamber.The secret is how to die, the initiate reminded himself."It is time," a voice whispered.The initiate let his gaze climb the distinguished white-robed figure standing before him. The Supreme Worshipful Master. The man, in his late fifties, was an American icon, well loved, robust, and incalculably wealthy. His once-dark hair was turning silver, and his famous visage reflected a lifetime of power and a vigorous intellect."Take the oath," the Worshipful Master said, his voice soft like falling snow. "Complete your journey."The initiate's journey, like all such journeys, had begun at the first degree. On that night, in a ritual similar to this one, the Worshipful Master had blindfolded him with a velvet hoodwink and pressed a ceremonial dagger to his bare chest, demanding: "Do you seriously declare on your honor, uninfluenced by mercenary or any other unworthy motive, that you freely and voluntarily offer yourself as a candidate for the mysteries and privileges of this brotherhood?""I do," the initiate had lied."Then let this be a sting to your consciousness," the master had warned him, "as well as instant death should you ever betray the secrets to be imparted to you."At the time, the initiate had felt no fear. They will never know my true purpose here.Tonight, however, he sensed a foreboding solemnity in the Temple Room, and his mind began replaying all the dire warnings he had been given on his journey, threats of terrible consequences if he ever shared the ancient secrets he was about to learn: Throat cut from ear to ear . . . tongue torn out by its roots . . . bowels taken out and burned . . . scattered to the four winds of heaven . . . heart plucked out and given to the beasts of the field—"Brother," the gray-eyed master said, placing his left hand on the initiate's shoulder. "Take the final oath."Steeling himself for the last step of his journey, the initiate shifted his muscular frame and turned his attention back to the skull cradled in his palms. The crimson wine looked almost black in the dim candlelight. The chamber had fallen deathly silent, and he could feel all of the witnesses watching him, waiting for him to take his final oath and join their elite ranks.Tonight, he thought, something is taking place within these walls that has never before occurred in the history of this brotherhood. Not once, in centuries.He knew it would be the spark . . . and it would give him unfathomable power. Energized, he drew a breath and spoke aloud the same words that countless men had spoken before him in countries all over the world."May this wine I now drink become a deadly poison to me . . . should I ever knowingly or willfully violate my oath."His words echoed in the hollow space.Then all was quiet.Steadying his hands, the initiate raised the skull to his mouth and felt his lips touch the dry bone. He closed his eyes and tipped the skull toward his mouth, drinking the wine in long, deep swallows. When the last drop was gone, he lowered the skull.For an instant, he thought he felt his lungs growing tight, and his heart began to pound wildly. My God, they know! Then, as quickly as it came, the feeling passed.A pleasant warmth began to stream through his body. The initiate exhaled, smiling inwardly as he gazed up at the unsuspecting gray-eyed man who had foolishly admitted him into this brotherhood's most secretive ranks.Soon you will lose everything you hold most dear.
Chapter 1The Otis elevator climbing the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower was overflowing with tourists. Inside the cramped lift, an austere businessman in a pressed suit gazed down at the boy beside him. "You look pale, son. You should have stayed on the ground.""I'm okay . . ." the boy answered, struggling to control his anxiety. "I'll get out on the next level." I can't breathe.The man leaned closer. "I thought by now you would have gotten over this." He brushed the child's cheek affectionately.The boy felt ashamed to disappoint his father, but he could barely hear through the ringing in his ears. I can't breathe. I've got to get out of this box!The elevator operator was saying something reassuring about the lift's articulated pistons and puddled-iron construction. Far beneath them, the streets of Paris stretched out in all directions.Almost there, the boy told himself, craning his neck and looking up at the unloading platform. Just hold on.As the lift angled steeply toward the upper viewing deck, the shaft began to narrow, its massive struts contracting into a tight, vertical tunnel."Dad, I don't think—"Suddenly a staccato crack echoed overhead. The carriage jerked, swaying awkwardly to one side. Frayed cables began whipping around the carriage, thrashing like snakes. The boy reached out for his father."Dad!"Their eyes locked for one terrifying second.Then the bottom dropped out.Robert Langdon jolted upright in his soft leather seat, startling out of the semiconscious daydream. He was sitting all alone in the enormous cabin of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet as it bounced its way through turbulence. In the background, the dual Pratt & Whitney engines hummed evenly."Mr. Langdon?" The intercom crackled overhead. "We're on final approach."Langdon sat up straight and slid his lecture notes back into his leather daybag. He'd been halfway through reviewing Masonic symbology when his mind had drifted. The daydream about his late father, Langdon suspected, had been stirred by this morning's unexpected invitation from Langdon's longtime mentor, Peter Solomon.The other man I never want to disappoint.The fifty-eight-year-old philanthropist, historian, and scientist had taken Langdon under his wing nearly thirty years ago, in many ways filling the void left by Langdon's father's death. Despite the man's influential family dynasty and massive wealth, Langdon had found humility and warmth in Solomon's soft gray eyes.Outside the window the sun had set, but Langdon could still make out the slender silhouette of the world's largest obelisk, rising on the horizon like the spire of an ancient gnomon. The 555-foot marble-faced obelisk marked this nation's heart. All around the spire, the meticulous geometry of streets and monuments radiated outward.Even from the air, Washington, D.C., exuded an almost mystical power.Langdon loved this city, and as the jet touched down, he felt a rising excitement about what lay ahead. The jet taxied to a private terminal somewhere in the vast expanse of Dulles International Airport and came to a stop.Langdon gathered his things, thanked the pilots, and stepped out of the jet's luxurious interior onto the foldout staircase. The cold January air felt liberating.Breathe, Robert, he thought, appreciating the wide-open spaces.A blanket of white fog crept across the runway, and Langdon had the sensation he was stepping into a marsh as he descended onto the misty tarmac."Hello! Hello!" a singsong British voice shouted from across the tarmac. "Professor Langdon?"Langdon looked up to see a mi...
The Lost Symbol is the long awaited sequel to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code . The Da Vinci Code was an international phenomenon with 81 million copies in print worldwide. In Britain it was even the best-selling Paperback ever. The filming was also a huge success. Since May 2009, is Angels and Demons worldwide in theaters.
In his new book, The Lost icon again Robert Langdon is the hero. Readers will cheer again from the first page of Robert Langdon, when they accompanied him on an exciting journey of discovery full of surprises - and all in just 12 hours time for action. Dan Brown's talent for storytelling interwoven with historical elements, codes and intrigue make the new thriller once again a true "Paget Uri.
"This novel was a strange and wonderful trip," Dan Brown himself says "The result of five years of research into a 12-hour action was to weave and stimulating challenge. Robert Langdon's life strides definitely faster than my own. "