Dan Brown has certainly outdone himself this time. After that less-than-stellar Robert Langdon offering, The Lost Symbol, Brown takes his favorite protagonist back to Europe for Inferno. Set mainly in Florence, this new thriller is instantly cinematic and piping with energy. It takes not 10 pages to instantly suck you in.
Langdon awakes in a hospital and is informed by a beautiful woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks, that a bullet grazed his head and he is now suffering from acute amnesia. He is quickly distracted from his surprise upon learning he is in Italy (his last memory from a couple days ago is being at Harvard) by the arrival of spiky-haired assassin Vayentha who shoots up the hospital in pursuit of Robert. Sienna flees with him, leading him to her apartment where they regroup. There he discovers a small cylinder with a biohazard symbol in the lining of his jacket. Opening that cylinder sets him on his newest symbol-driven quest, this time to prevent an ominous Black Plague lurking in the near future.
As can be construed from the title, the framework for the mysteries in this novel are centered around Dante’s Inferno. Once again, Brown seamlessly intertwines mythology and symbolism with classic architecture and settings and modern technology. As the fourth Langdon novel, Inferno may seem poised to be a tiresome retread; but Brown breathes new life into this character, subverting many of his quirks in a fun, winking way. While nothing could ever match the sheer enormity of The Da Vinci Code, Inferno is possibly Brown’s best novel—at least his most captivating. This is one page-turner that you should definitely read this balmy summer, maybe right after you book your flight to Florence.