Monday, 27 May 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

"As they neared the end of the alley, Langdon stumbled again."

It was on special, yes that is my excuse for revisiting the world of Robert Langdon. That, combined with a weekend at my parent's farm and the thought that my father might fancy another Dan Brown tome. Both of us read the novel in a day. Was this because it was an amazing work of fiction? Not really.

In truth the pace of this novel derives, as it seems from all Brown's work, from the never-ending running - down alleyways, through secret passageways, oh and through more hidden paths. It seems whenever he runs out of potential mazes in one famous building, he moves the action to another and when the city yields no further landmarks for exploitation, it is time to move city.

I, perhaps stupidly, kept reading, waiting for something new and elucidating to occur. The denouement was so anticlimactic that I nearly threw the book on the floor in disgust. Had I really traversed more than 400 pages for that? Thank god for the large print!

There are some aspects of Brown's success that I admire a) at least people are reading... something and b) they are buying books - even if they are predictable and staunchly formulaic. I can't be too critical, I bought the darn thing.

After completing a horrendous university take home exam, I somewhat appreciated a mindless escape, but it felt like every move was so telegraphed that the whole novel could have been condensed considerably. Was it thrilling? Not so much. Also, does Langdon, who continually laments that he's not as young as he used to be, ever get tired of running?

So much prose is given over to the description of Langdon's sartorial splendour, yet his chief accessory is a Mickey Mouse watch - come on!

If you're seeking a novel that is reminiscent of a B/C grade thriller then this is definitely your thing.  2 out of 5 sinister shadowy organisations might agree.

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