There are two purposes to a book review, I feel. One is to tell you whether it is worth your while to read the book being reviewed; the other is to tell you why I think you should or should not read the book being reviewed. I’m telling you this because I feel I can’t actually begin the review without giving away a major spoiler, and thus I think you need at least another paragraph of fluff before I tell you what the secret it is that the Freemasons are hiding.
“The Lost Symbol” is not a good book. It is, at the very most, adequately written, which is as damning with faint praise as you can get, and the plot, lifted very much from Dan Brown’s earlier (and better) work “Angels and Demons,” lacks power and punch.
Yet, no matter what I say, will this likely change whether or not you read this book.
The Secret the Freemasons have hidden is the Bible.
Well, except for that. By revealing the ‘Lost Symbol’ of “The Lost Symbol” I can, at least, make you less inclined to bother.
In “Angels and Demons” there was no real central conceit, no mystic mumbo-jumbo, only an elaborate disinformation campaign run by one man to make the Catholic Church think an ancient (and fictitious) enemy is once again on the move. In “The Da Vinci Code” the conceit is, at least, interesting (if equally false); what if the central story about the Christian Messiah had been tampered with. Both of these plot twists are surprising and work; the former because it is startling and the latter because, whether you believe it or not, it does pose a perfectly good question, “What if everything you thought you knew about Christ was wrong?”
In “The Lost Symbol” it turns out the Masons are hiding the Bible.
A book you can buy from the same bookseller you picked up “The Lost Symbol” from.
The plot of “The Lost Symbol” is the usual story; Robert Langdon, an academic specialised in occult symbols, is summoned to Washington, D.C., where he gets caught up in a series of art-related puzzles relating to an ancient order hiding an ancient secret. He is opposed by a violent assassin with strange and occult tendencies and, about halfway through the book, Langdon gets an info dump by someone with a defect.
And the secret being hidden is the Bible.
I cannot repeat this enough; the Freemason’s great secret is the Bible.
It is a little hard to review a book with a central conceit this pauce. It feels as if “The Lost Symbol” is an apology for “The Da Vinci Code.” Brown seemed legitimately surprised by just how vitriolic some of his opponents became. Not the literary critics or the historians; their criticisms were swept carefully away because, after all, “The Da Vinci Code” was just a novel. No, Brown seemed surprised by how people took his fiction to be an attack on the Christian Messiah. That was not his intention.
So, in “The Lost Symbol,” the Bible becomes the greatest secret the world has ever known.
The Bible, it seems, contains within it not just the wisdom of the ages, the power of the Ancient Mysteries, and advanced scientific knowledge, if only you knew how to access it.
Luckily, this treasure trove of information, is available in bookstores almost everywhere.
I just can’t do it, not just now. The book is dull. I read it. You do not have to.