Dan Brown returns with yet another civilized treasure hunt in Inferno.
This time the scenery is different – the main part of the novel happens in Florence.
And also the plotting is vastly different – the protagonist starts off with amnesia and there’s plenty of uncertainty shoved down readers’ throats.
But some things never change:
Exposition occurs frequently, and oftentimes is barely masked.
There’s a vast conspiracy behind the scenes.
And Robert Langdon stumbles across a damaged yet brilliant woman.
The pacing is obviously rapid, and the in-media-res start to the book kickstarts the proceedings even faster than expected.
The tourist board of Florence must be rubbing their hands with glee, the author devotes pages upon pages on describing the unique properties of the city and its history. And quite right, too – after all, the city is absolutely packed with Medici-originating art and well-preserved buildings. And while some of the construction seems to be on the fantastic side, at least the secret passage between the Uffizi Galleria and Palazzo Pitti exists, I’ve walked its dusty length on a scorching day.
The plot concerns ancient secrets used to unravel a modern mystery. A mystery which requires the trademark treasure hunt approach – moving from a piece of artwork to a poem to a building.
The author travels on familiar ground for most of the journey, but at the resolution he manages to pull a duo of rabbits out of the top hat. I expected a far more conventional conclusion to Langdon’s fourth adventure.
Better than expected. Algorithmic, energetic and occasionally enlightening – that’s pretty much par for the course. But the subtext in Inferno was surprisingly well handled (and probably cause for quite a bit of concern on the publisher’s side).