I’ve been meaning to do this post for a long time! And since his new Robert Langdon book, Inferno, is out next week (May 14th!) now is a good time!
So Dan Brown, doesn’t really need any introduction does he, with 200 million sold books? He does? Fine… He’s the author of The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol, Digital Fortress and Deception Point. The first three are definitely his most famous works, since the first two have been made into movies (the third is quite possibly heading down that same path). Those three are connected by the character Robert Langdon. And his new book, Inferno, is yet another Robert Langdon book.
I’ve actually read all five of his books, in fact, I own four of them (though they were gifts since someone didn’t want them any more, and I said I’d have them). I read Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol before I actually read The Da Vinci Code, but I had seen the movie, and knew what it was about. Though, even if you didn’t know, the books are basically standalone anyway. I read Digital Fortress last year, and Deception Point only a few weeks ago actually. So I have certainly been exposed to all of Dan Brown’s works.
The internet seems to have a lot to say about Dan Brown, and I’m sure many literary critics, cringe to hear his name mentioned. Why? Well, the opinion of these ‘sophisticated folks’ tends to be that Dan Brown just writes fodder for the masses. And his style of writing, is criticised as being a whole bunch of short chapters (can’t deny that he has about 100+ chapters in a 500 page book!), that end on suspenseful endings before rushing off to go and look at some other plot point. Plus, they tend to be the same sort of plot, that the lead character who is a specialist in some strange field (symbols anyone?) is called up to go and investigate something, which then turns out to have huge implications, and then they are chased by the authorities and the ‘evil guys’ who want them dead to stop them releasing the secrets they’ve uncovered. Always things change suddenly, and then they find out that someone who they thought was a good person, turns out to be this mysterious person who has been directing the whole thing, usually for the good of the country or whatever. And of course, there has to be a love interest involved, and the good guys win in the end, with some sort of lesson. But is all that a bad thing?
Frankly I like them. Sure, they aren’t the best books out there and I wouldn’t really reread them too often, but they are good for a nice easy read. Perfect ones to take on holiday and pass the time. Sure the criticisms are mostly founded but there is a large market for ‘easy reads’. Not only that but the mystery certainly makes it gripping even if it’s sometimes predictable, being able to try to pick the bad guy (who is always a supposedly good guy) and figure out what’s going to happen next can be somewhat rewarding. Plus conspiracies are always interesting, even if they aren’t really all that true, it’s interesting to think about it. Just look at the huge number of spin off books around The Da Vinci Code, trying to analyse the historical and factual essence of the book, and to see whether it could be possible. I think, whatever you say about Dan Brown, he’s hugely popular, and I’m sure Inferno will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and I’ll certainly read it, when I get the chance. I just won’t be rushing off to find a copy, and I won’t be buying one. But I will be wanting to read it, and if he’s getting people to read, I think that’s a good thing.