Dan Brown's Inferno

Dan Brown's new novel Inferno came out recently, and I'm not (too) embarrassed to admit that I was looking forward to reading it. It seemed like a good summer read, and I liked his previous novels well enough. So, it's with a little disappointment that I have to say that this just didn't quite do it for me. There is nothing really wrong with this book, it just didn't seem to have the momentum that I'd come to expect. I think one reason for this might be that, this time around, Brown has concocted his own mysterious riddle to move the story along. Several of his previous books (The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons) had as their backbone an established conspiracy (Jesus' bloodline, the Masons, the Illuminati) that Brown is able to draw upon and build the action around. Inferno has mystery and murder and good guys racing to uncover a secret to beat the bad guys, but it all seems a little less intricate.

Still, you'll learn a lot about Dante and his life, about the environs of Florence, Italy and some art, and a bit about infectious diseases. If you like Brown's previous books and the character of Robert Langdon, this book won't disappoint. For the record, though, I figured out where the riddle was leading way before Langdon did.

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What are the chances this is the first in a three-part series? Will Dan Brown be tackling "Purgatorio"and "Paradiso" next?

On the other hand, if Dan Brown wants to take classic literature and build a mystery around it, perhaps his next novel should send Robert Langdon all over the globe in search of a mysterious figure known only as "Waldo"...

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