The best thing Dan Brown has done for the world of literature is to spawn a legion of authors following in his footsteps of intelligent, historical/end-of-the world fiction tales. Unfortunately, for Brown, several of these authors (Steve Berry, James Rollins, Lynn Sholes & Joe Moore, Brad Thor, etc.) have FAR surpassed him in creating engaging, page-turning fiction within this genre.

Brown's first three novels were brilliant - "Digital Fortress", "Deception Point" and "Angels & Demons" - he was on pace to becoming the new Michael Crichton (the ability to write intelligent fiction that required constant use of an Encyclopedia to truly enjoy the reading experience). Regretably, his last novel - "The DaVinci Code" was so dumbed-down for mass consumption that you had to second-guess the identity of the author. The novel ONLY received hype and ridiculous sales success due to the controversial subject matter. Let's face it, the Christian world does not stand for anyone threatening their story of Jesus.

Global best-selling powerhouses like King and Rushdie dismissed Brown's "DaVinci Code" as being both trite and trash. I thought that was a bit harsh and, like millions of other readers, looked forward to his next work. Is "The Lost Symbol" worth the wait? In a simple word - NO! Robert Langdon is at it again - this

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time, racing through the catacombs of the Capitol Building and other Washington D.C. landmarks in an effort to figure out the symbolic secrets hidden within the Masonic Temple. When Landgon's best friend, Peter Solomon, is captured and has his hand cut off by a full-body tatooed lunatic known only as Mal'akh, he is on a race against time to decipher the symbolic code for the 'baddie' in order to save his friend's life.

What follows, for over 500+ pages, is mind-numbingly boring and not at all exciting. In fact, Brown is reduced to the James Patterson idiotic technique of ultra-short chapters (some no more than a paragraph long) with each one ending in a pseudo-cliffhanger. I had to keep checking the jacket photo to ensure that this was, indeed, a Dan Brown novel and not written by Team Patterson. The mysteries of the Masons are, quite frankly, not very interesting and ground that has been covered by Nicolas Cage in the horrible "National Treasure" films. You would have more excitement reading the back of a U.S. Dollar Bill! The only highlight in the book is when the actual identity of Mal'akh is revealed (however outlandish and unrealistic it is). The book ends with so much religious & new age mumbo-jumbo I felt preached to rather than walking away enlightened.

The only thing lost with "The Lost Symbol" is the $30 I paid for the book and the nights of tiresome reading I subjected myself to in finishing this dreck!