About Me

My photo
Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

52. – 741.) Inferno by Dan Brown – An unknown man calling himself the Shade climbs high in a Florentine building. Speaking in poetic phrases he seeks to protect a masterpiece:

It grows even now … waiting … simmering beneath the bloodred waters of the lagoon that reflect no stars.

As pursuers close upon him the Shade leaps to his death praying he will not be remembered as “a monstrous sinner, but as the glorious savior”.

His masterpiece is to restrain a burgeoning world population about to exceed the earth’s capacity to sustain its people.

Harvard Professor Robert Langdon awakes in a foreign hospital bed with confused images of a silver haired woman echoing in his mind. As he struggles back to reality a young beautiful woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks, explains to him that his head has been grazed by a bullet. He is shaken when he learns it is two days later than his last memory. His mind is further sent spinning when, looking out the window, he realizes he is in Florence, Italy. How did he get there from America? What happened in the lost days?

Before he can assemble his thoughts an attack is made upon the hospital room. A doctor is slain. Langdon barely escapes with Brooks. They go to her apartment where Langdon tries to grasp what has taken place.

At the same time members of the Consortium, a business devoted to facilitating the needs of the very wealthy are viewing a disturbing video from the Shade about Dante’s hell while showing a shimmering bag suspended in water.

Back in Florence a tube sewn into Langdon’s suit coat contains a form of projector that displays Botticelli’s famed painting, Map of Hell, portraying Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell. Upon the image have been put letters but they do not form a known word. Langdon starts drawing on his knowledge of symbols and cryptography to decipher the letters.

Langdon learns Brooks is a genius, an actress as a child who has become a doctor. When he finds her flowing blond hair is a wig and she is bald he confronts another mystery

Tracked down to Brooks apartment by black clad security forces Brooks and Langdon race away to determine the meaning of the letters amidst Florence’s greatest architectural achievements.

At the heart of the mystery is Dante’s Divine Comedy. Over 700 years after it was written the powerful images of his poetry and the images they inspired continue to make The Divine Comedy a powerful work of art.

The book is a breathtaking chase while Langdon determines the meaning of symbols in word, art and sculpture as a looming catastrophe faces the world.

The end was far more complex and subtle than I had expected. It was a genuine surprise to me. I was glad I read the book. My next post will have some thoughts on the quartet of Brown books I have read – Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Sympbol and Inferno. (Nov. 16/13)


  1. Bill - Brown certainly does quite a job with the pacing of his books doesn't he? They are full of action and surprise twists. I'll be interested in your thoughts on the quartet.

  2. You certainly make this book sound entertaining and full of action Bill - I read the Da Vinci Code, and don't really plan to read any more by Brown, but you might almost tempt me. I'll be interested to read your remarks on the whole quartet.

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment. The pace was relentless as Langdon worked to figure out the symbols.

  4. Moira: Thanks for the comment. If you were not fond of The Da Vinci Code I am doubtful you will enjoy Inferno. I liked the Da Vinci Code.

  5. Bill, I've only read "Angels and Demons" and liked it so much that I'd planned to read "The Da Vinci Code" and "Deception Point" right away but that hasn't happened so far. I have this book and your review has rekindled my interest in Dan Brown's work. I think it'd be safe to call him one of the original "writer thinkers" of this century.

  6. Confession time - I've never read any Brown books, perhaps I should try at least one some day.

  7. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I can recommend The Da Vinci Code. I have not read Deception Point.

    I am not sure I can call Brown an "original". See my next post on him drawing on earlier authors.

  8. col: I hope you try Brown's books. If you like them you will be absorbed.