Review of The Lost Symbol

November 9, 2009

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At long last, I finally finished The Lost Symbol on Sunday night.  Instead of the ten days I had alloted for it, it took nearly two months to finally finish the book.  Much of the blame for the delay falls squarely upon the amount of time consumed by writing The Cell Window.

So, what did I think?

Overall Observations:

First of all, the book is long.  It is slightly more than 500 pages.  I personally see this as a positive.  I enjoy reading (when I get the time) and if the book is good, why not extend the pleasure?

When I first heard that the book would be set in Washington, DC (rather than flitting from one locale to the next) I feared that it would turn into something like National Treasure.  Mind you, I enjoyed National Treasure,  but I consider Brown’s works to be a step above it.  Both are good, but picking up a Brown novel and finding National Treasure inside would be like ordering a ribeye steak and having the waiter bring a sirloin.  You’d still enjoy the meal, but it would be missing a certain je ne sais quois.  Happily, this was not the case.

I’ve seen the book get panned by a few people.  I don’t full understood why someone would react adversely to it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be in line with Brown’s other works.  The only thing that makes sense is if a person was a fan of The Da Vinci Code and not of Brown’s others work.  [Note: see my author profile of Brown for information about his other novels.]


It’s definitely a fascinating tale.  I don’t want to spoil the plot for those who haven’t read it, but the book packs quite a bit of action and quite a few interesting locations into the plot, considering that all of the action is contain within Washington, D.C.  We also get some interesting back stories into the lives of some of the principal characters.  And, once again, Robert Langdon is romantically linked to a female character.  Come on, Langdon, settle down!


I’m of fan of the character of Langdon.  The fact that he wears a Mickey Mouse watch as a way to make sure he never takes himself too seriously coincides quite nicely with the fact that I have stuffed versions of Pooh and Eeyore in my cubicle (as well as a small menagerie of stuffed animals) for much the same reason.

The antagonist in the book is also very well developed.  It takes a brilliantly warped mind to develop the sorts of antagonists that find their way into Brown’s novels.

There are quite a few other fairly well developed characters in the book.  Quite a few of them are rather exceptional individuals.  Brown captured their essence well enough that I can imagine them quite well in my mind.

Moral / Philosophy / Controversy:

Many of Brown’s books contain a moral and/or philosophical thoughts.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that a major facet of the moral in The Lost Symbol is a philosophy that I have been advocating for several years.  I don’t think the messages within The Lost Symbol will be as controversial as those within The Da Vinci Code, but hopefully it will make people stop and think.

The Masons and masonic traditions and rituals are prominently featured in the book.  They are generally portrayed in a positive manner.

Closing thoughts:

This book initially had the working title The Solomon Key.  It quickly became apparent why – it is the surname of key characters in the plot.  I think I would have preferred for the book to keep that name.

I nailed a couple of the surprises at the end of the book.  I figured out the “mysterious location” quite early.

Buy it!

If you plan to buy the book, please considering buying it (and the other Dan Brown books) though the links below.  If you do, I’ll get a small referral bonus from Amazon.  Your price will be the same as if you entered through Amazon’s main site.

The Lost Symbol

Da Vinci Code

Angels & Demons

Deception Point

Digital Fortress

Initial Reactions to The Lost Symbol

September 16, 2009

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1 Comment

I know what you’re thinking.

“Kosmo – The Lost Symbol has been out for more than a day.  Where’s the review?”

I do indeed have my copy of the book.  I have not yet had the opportunity to read it.  Yesterday was spent getting Direct TV installed, and the next few days will probably be spent in a Direct TV induced coma.  I don’t typically watch much TV at all, but the availability of baseball will be very tempting.  (More on Direct TV in a later article).  However, I plan to finish the book in the next ten days or so, and will publish a review when I’m done.

I do, however, have some initial reactions.

  • The book smells really good.  The trees used for the paper were clearly harvested at precisely the correct time.
  • When picking up the book, remember to lift with your legs, not your back.  It’s fairly hefty – 509 pages.
  • The cover is très chic

Interested in other books by Dan Brown?  Read my author profile (written back in May)

On an unrelated note … I am taking suggestions for Fiction Friday articles.  If you have an idea that you would like to see turned into a short story, let me know (leave a comment below).  While I am perfectly content to keep coming up with my own ideas, I’m also open to the writing about things that are outside of my typical comfort zone.  The ideas can be just a few words, such as “dinosaurs“, “lesbian wedding“, or “attacked by a shark“.  (Note: the links point to stories I have written on those topics).

I can’t guarantee that I will have the time (or interest) to turn every idea into a story, but I will make an effort to use a bunch of the ideas.