Early Dan Brown

This is part of a series of wrap-up posts I’m doing for books which I read after I started noting down ratings for books I’d read, but before I started noting down when I’d read them, or writing reviews for them. This post is for the first four Dan Brown books.

Deception PointDeception Point by Dan Brown
Publisher: Pocket Books
Released: November 1, 2001
Pages: 557
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A shocking scientific discovery.
A conspiracy of staggering brilliance.
A thriller unlike any you've ever read....

When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory -- a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the President, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a deadly team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

Deception Point probably remains my favourite of the Dan Brown books. I found it thrilling, entertaining, and unpredictable, and I don’t think there were that many parts of it that really annoyed me much.

Digital FortressDigital Fortress by Dan Brown
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Released: January 5, 2004
Pages: 510
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When the National Security Agency's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage... not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence.

Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

I really liked Digital Fortress as well, if not as much as Deception Point. It was surprisingly different to the Da Vinci Code, which is probably the reason I started reading Dan Brown books in the first place, but I quite liked it. As a geek with a general interest in technology the tech-aspects appealed to me, and I was young enough that what I assume are various contrivances didn’t bother me too much.

Angels & DemonsAngels & Demons by Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Released: May 1, 2000
Pages: 736
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World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization -- the Illuminati. In a desperate race to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and deserted cathedrals, and into the depths of the most secretive vault on earth...the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.

And then, the Langdon series. Along with the rest of the world, I read Angels and Deamons after I read the Da Vinci Code. I liked it better than I did the Da Vinci Code, and the whole “secret stuff which seems real” thing is quite fun, regardless of the accuracy or even plausibility of it.

The Da Vinci CodeThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon #2
Publisher: Doubleday & Company
Released: March 18, 2003
Pages: 454
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While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.

Like everyone else, I read the Da Vinci Code because everyone else read it. Funny how that works. It’s entertaining in the way I believe Dan Brown has kind of come to define. The best way I can think to describe it is in the way Stephen King once described his own books: literary chocolate. It gives you pleasure and enjoyment at the time, but it doesn’t really count as sustenance.

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