Tuesday, December 27, 2011


When I saw my friend Hanson Tan posted a status update of Facebook saying he's now reading The Lost Symbol, I couldn't resist the urge to ask if he would like to do a joint-reading with me. To my delight, he agreed and off we go embarking on an exciting and thrilling journey of codes, secrets and unseen truths, all set within the hidden chambers, tunnels and temples of Washington, D.C.

The Lost Symbol is a follow-up to The Da Vinci Code and it was indeed my plan to first read the latter. However, I reckoned there is nothing wrong with jumping the queue by reading The Lost Symbol first, so I threw all caution to the wind and started the puzzle-driven journey with Hanson.

Revisiting Robert Langdon is a mind-blowing experience and an educational one, as well. My first time getting to know the Harvard professor of 'Religious Symbology' was during Angels and Demons. In The Lost Symbol, I was exposed to the influence of Freemasonry on America's Founding Fathers, the Masonic architecture of Washington D.C., characters such as the German artist Albrecht Durer (and his work Melencolia I) and the tattooed villain, Mal'akh. Dan Brown cleverly weaves all of these elements together, making subjects that I would not otherwise be interested in, into something that is fast-paced, thrilling, and intellectually stimulating.

As in all Langdon stories, there is a female lead in them. We get Katherine Solomon in The Lost Symbol. She is a fifty years old woman, beautiful, and is a leading researcher of Noetic Science. Almost murdered from the start by Mal'akh, she manages to escape and finds Langdon. Her brother, Peter Solomon, is already captured and when his severed hand—tattooed to resemble 'the Hand of the Mysteries'—turns up at the U.S. Capitol Building, the frenzy begins.


Now, if you would like to further explore the history and ideas underpinning The Lost Symbol, you may want to read Behind the Lost Symbol by Tim Collins, as well. The book gives readers insights into the rituals, the settings, the symbols, the history, and the science behind the book. Collins also referenced the chapters in the novel so you would know exactly what happened where. For example,
The Great Architect of the Universe. In Chapter 6 of The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon speaks positively about the religious tolerance and open-minded attitudes of the Freemasons. He says that to keep the fraternity open to men of all different faiths, they use the general term 'The Great Architect of the Universe' (also known as the Grand Architect of the Universe).

The Hand of the Mysteries. In Chapter 13 of
The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon realizes that Peter Solomon's severed hand has been tattooed to resemble 'the Hand of the Mysteries', an ancient summons to an initiate to receive secret knowledge.

Have you read
The Lost Symbol? If yes, how do you find it?

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