Dan Brown’s latest thriller falls way short of his two best novels, Angels & Demons and the mega-million selling The Da Vinci Code.
The biggest problem being that his plot is formulaic, and identical to many of his other books. His central character, Robert Langdon, an Harvard professor of symbology (a science that does not exist) and religious iconology, always arrives or is summoned to a place where art is king (In this case the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao). He meets a beautiful woman, Ambra Vidal, soon their lives are in danger and they must go on the run.
Then a series of art conundrums need to be solved so order can be restored to the world. All throughout, many chapters begin with travel-book descriptions of historic or religious places. Angels & Demons was a great suspense novel and The Da Vinci Code asked legitimate questions about the role of women in religion across the centuries.
Brown needs to change the template for his stories. He has a huge following and will always generate sales in the millions, but if he wants to gain new readers he will have to change his tune. There are too many great European suspense-thriller novelists who now eat his lunch.
Origin revolves around Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist who is about to reveal answers to two of the fundamental questions about human existence. Unfortunately Brown’s lukewarm answers left me wanting.
Here’s hoping his next book brings us something new.
By Dan Brown
480 pages, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, $38.50
Rating: 1.5 stars (out of 5)