Dan Brown’s Inferno is the fourth book based around protagonist, Robert Langdon. The title of the book relates directly to Dante’s epic Italian poem ‘Inferno’ and having read this and failed to understand the majority of it I thoroughly enjoyed Browns interpretation of the poem and its use within the book. However, it is absolutely not necessary to have read it or even know anything about it as Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology lest we forget, explains aspects of the poem and its symbolism countless times throughout the book.
I have always enjoyed Brown’s books based around Langdon for their combination of fact with fiction. Brown has a talent for taking a fact and managing to weave a gripping story around it. Inferno is no exception to that. I found the twists in this book far more unpredictable and clever than those in his previous books. At points the story does loose pace a little bit when Langdon, suffering from Amnesia, constantly has to retrace his discoveries. Whilst I found this a bit tiresome I can understand that Brown has done it so that the reader can keep pace and understand what has been uncovered this far, that being said I did begin to find the character of Robert Langdon a bit pedantic.
What I particularly enjoyed about the book was the central issue it was based on and the different viewpoints expressed regarding this. I found that this issue contributed to making the novel more realistic and easier to relate to than The Da Vinci Code. It makes the reader think, not only about the story, but about what position they would take and whose side they would be on. The idea of ‘sides’ is blurred within the book and soon it becomes apparent to the reader that within the Inferno the characters are faced with the situation is anything but black and white. Whilst reading this book it is hard not to give away the final twist but even if my tongue was to slip (don’t worry it hasn’t) I don’t think that this book would have been any less enjoyable.
It’s a relatively easy read and a smart thriller, the characters are interesting and Brown continues to develop their personalities and history slowly as the story progresses. If anything I find that the setting in Dan Browns books is fascinating and what makes them so enjoyable. Inferno is set in Florence, Venice and Istanbul. Having been to Florence and Venice I felt disappointed that I had missed out on a lot of the cities beauty and history that Dan Brown had included. It left me longing to return and I know that if I do return to Florence and Venice or if I am lucky enough to see Istanbul I know that whilst I am stood in some of the cities most historical beautiful sites it will be Robert Langdon on my mind...
By Eleanor Boyce