Inferno is the fourth installment in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor of symbology and thanks to the movies, I can only see him in my mind as Tom Hanks. All of the books in the Langdon series can be called formulaic, but for me they are fun, escapist reading. Listening to the audio book made the 12 hour drive to Arkansas go by in a flash.
In this one, Robert wakes up in Florence, Italy in a hospital bed with strange visions of a long, silver haired woman standing by a river of blood telling him to “Seek and ye shall Find”. He has no memory of how he got to Italy or what he is doing there and what is he supposed to seek and find. Suddenly a woman with spiked hair shows up on a motorcycle and shoots the main doctor and Langdon and another young doctor Sienna Brooks escape back to her apartment. Brown didn’t waste any time in this book getting the action started. In fact, it felt like it was written for the screen because I could see it in mind all the way through. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t made into a movie eventually.
The woman on the motorcycle works for a secret organization called The Consortium and a subplot of the book is The Provost, or head of the organization, has a job to hide from the World Health Organization a wealthy genetic engineer with plans of wiping out a quarter of the human population. This engineer is obsessed with Dante’s Inferno and uses clues from the poem to eventually lead Robert and Sienna into discovering his plan. Of course, Langdon is very knowledgeable about Dante and manages to piece the clues together while lecturing about the history of Dante, his Divine Comedy, and famous artworks and landmarks in Florence, Venice, and finally Istanbul. All the while, Robert and Sienna are being chased by agents from the World Health Organization and The Consortium. Like I said, it is pure escapist fun.
I think Brown does a very good job of bringing his readers along for the action and as all of the books in the series do, it makes me want to visit Europe someday.
There are also some amazing twists and turns which I’m not going to reveal here as well as an interesting discussion on the effects of over population. Overall I really enjoyed going on this ride.