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'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown - Book Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 2 Star Rating (21 Reviews)


'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown

'The Lost Symbol'

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The Bottom Line

Have you read anything by Dan Brown yet? If not, start with Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code. They are better thrillers. If you have already read Brown and enjoyed his previous books, you will probably enjoy The Lost Symbol. Robert Langdon's third adventure is another fast paced thriller that involves secrets in art, architecture and history. Brown does not break any new ground, but he does provide some good beach reading.


  • Brown's style keeps the pages turning as readers try to connect the dots.
  • Symbols and mythology in a familiar setting provides a fun chance to toy with conspiracy theories.
  • 'The Lost Symbol' does not require much effort to read.


  • A familiar formula & mediocre dialogue keep Brown from accomplishing anything new.
  • 'The Lost Symbol' becomes tedious when it strays from plot and tries to make profound points.
  • The "national security crisis," when revealed, falls short of the build up and character reactions.
  • Long, less-than-captivating denouement.


  • 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown was released September 15, 2009
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • 509 Pages

Guide Review - 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown - Book Review

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is Brown's third Robert Langdon thriller. In Brown's first two Langdon books -- Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code -- Langdon uncovered conspiracies within the Catholic church that involved art and science. The Lost Symbol takes place in Washington D.C. and explores the secrets of Freemasonry.

Brown is not the first to use the Masons as a launching point for a thriller. Indeed, I couldn't help but compare my experience reading The Lost Symbol with watching National Treasure. I enjoyed the movie more because it took itself less seriously than The Lost Symbol and enjoyed a visual advantage (always nice to be able to see the symbols and buildings involved in a conspiracy). Still, there is plenty of Mason folklore to go around, and The Lost Symbol does a fine job of creating another mystery in our nation's capital.

So why do I consider The Lost Symbol merely an average read? First, Brown does not create anything new -- no new character development, no big surprises in plot trajectory. Furthermore, his signatures "twists" are not nearly as tantalizing as in his previous books. After so much build up, I found myself let down by the reality of the secrets revealed in the end. Finally, there are several points when it seems as if Brown is trying to make his book more intelligent or profound than it actually is. Langdon's rants about religion and truth, when not directly tied to the mystery, are tedious and even a little preachy. In fact, the last 50 pages of the book try a little too hard to be enlightening.

My recommendation: If you're planning a trip to Washington D.C. in the next year, this would be a fun read to accompany your tour. Otherwise, unless you're a die hard Brown fan, I'd get on your library list or wait for the paperback release.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
The lost symbol review, Member ajay16

The Lost Symbol is about a symbologist-professor at Harvard university named Robert Langdon who receives a call from his friend, Peter Solomon a famous philanthropist, historian and scientist, asking him to come to Washington dc to be a substitute speaker at the capitol building. When he arrives at the capitol building, Roberts finds something else, peters disembodied, recently tattooed, right hand hand. Robert quickly relies the hand is an ancient form of invitation that if he doesn’t accept his friend is doomed. Thought this book Langdon and his acquaintances go through a series of tasks to avoid being tracked down by the CIA, find peter, hunt down the one who did this to him, uncover one of the world’s best kept secrets, and save the united states from complete chaos. This book takes you deep into the masonic community and delivers action packed scenes, epic twists, and reveals the true secrets behind the heart of this country. The author, Dan Brown, uses real facts and vivid detail to depict each moment, and uses his well-known sense of riddles, puzzles, myths, symbols, and languages which like the, Davinci Code, add another layer to the story. The lost symbol is far more complicated than what meets the eye. Religions, secret organizations, science, and law enforcement all have a major part in the development of this story. In fact many parts of the story professor Langdon is not even in but someone from one of those groups of people play a major role including Sato the CIA agent hunting Langdon down, Katherine, a scientist and Peters sister, several different masons, and Mal’akh the villain in this story. Many of the things, organizations, and places in the book are real and it is clearly states in the beginning of the book “ In 1991, a document was locked in a safe of the director of the CIA. The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and an unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase ‘it’s buried out there somewhere’. All organizations in this novel exist, including the freemasons, the invisible college, the Office of security, the SMSC and the Institute if Noetic Sciences. All rituals, Science Artwork, and Monuments are real.” Since many of the things are real it draws people in and gives you connections to everyday life. The lost symbols story line also draws the reader in from the very beginning. In fact the first sentence in this book is, “The secret is how to die.”. it also goes back to this brilliant hook on page 458 were it says once again, “The secret is how to die.” This brilliant hook is just one of the ways Dan Brown keeps people entertained till the very end were everything is reviled. I would recommend this book to people who have read the Davinci Code, Angles and Demons, Digital Fortress, Deception Point or are looking for a book by one of the best thrill writers in history. I would honestly give this book 4 star due to its creativity compared to the other books in the Robert Langdon trilogy. I cannot weight for his next book.

9 out of 11 people found this helpful.

See all 21 reviews

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