Sunday, December 27, 2009
The Lost Symbol
I bought a book as a Christmas gift for my friend. Its the The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. This book is Robert Langdon sequel.
The protagonist--Robert Langdon is a Harvard symbologist. Invited by his mentor, a 33rd degree Mason named Peter Solomon head of the Smithsonian Institution. When he arrived there, he finds the severed right hand of Peter Solomon tattooed into a symbolic Hand of the Mysteries, pointing straight upwards to the fresco The Apotheosis of Washington on the inside of the Capitol dome. Solomon has been kidnapped by the villain Mal'akh, who demands that Langdon unlock the Ancient Mysteries in return for Solomon's life.
Langdon joins forces with Solomon's sister, Katherine, a researcher studying noetic science in a secret laboratory in the Smithsonian Museum Support Center. Langdon and Katherine are pursued by both Mal'akh, and Inoue Sato, the head of the CIA's Office of Security. Mal'akh is planning to release a clandestine video of Washington powerbrokers engaged in secret Masonic rituals.
The chase and the clues to the puzzles lead through the sub-basement of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Freedom Plaza, the United States Botanical Garden, and Washington National Cathedral. The clues center around a small stone pyramid, entrusted several years ago by Solomon to Langdon. The pyramid and the box which holds it reveal several puzzles, involving a Masonic cipher, a circumpunct, an alchemical formula, and references to the 1514
engraving Melencolia I. Mal'akh captured both Katherine and Langdon, and takes Peter Solomon to the top floor of the Masonic headquarters House of the Temple. Langdon and Katherine Solomon are rescued by the CIA, while in the meantime Mal'akh reveals to Peter Solomon that he is in fact Peter's own son, Zachary.
As a young man, he had been unhappy with the way he had been treated by his father, so he faked his own death in a Turkish prison. He then experienced a religious epiphany, finding the need to learn the The Lost Word (the verbum significatium or lost symbol of the title). He plans to complete his transformation into a godlike being by inscribing his scalp with what he mistakenly believes to be the symbol for the Ancient Mysteries, the circumpunct.
Trying to recreate the Biblical story of Abraham on the verge of sacrificing his son, Zachary attempts to goad his father into killing him with Abraham sacrificial Akedah knife on the altar of the Freemasons. But Langdon intrudes. Peter Solomon then takes Langdon to the Washington Monument, a dot in a circular plaza, with a Bible in its cornerstone. Peter tells him that The Word that Mal'akh was seeking was in all holy books such as the Bible, Koran, and Bhagavad Gita. The Ancient Mystery is the realization that people are not God's subjects, but in fact possess the ability to be gods themselves. Langdon realizes that the lost symbol is God, standing for limitless human potential.