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Dante’s allegory rekindled in Dan Brown’s latest novel ‘Inferno’

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(Current fiction & past quality fiction)

Examiner likes the way Dan Brown picks a bit of history (literary or whatever) and builds his novels around that tidbit. His latest novel, “Inferno” (Doubleday) could have sprung from a glance at Sparknotes. But he spent years digging, to his credit, to recreate this story in Brown’s own trademark image.

Brown is a popular story weaver as evidenced in Albuquerque by the library’s waiting list of 429 readers for its 79 copies. There are also five copies available in Spanish.

As his publisher puts it, in his international blockbusters “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons,” and “The Lost Symbol,” Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

Now imagine you searched for the origin of these words, “Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost.” Sound familiar? They open Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy,” written in three books, of which “Inferno” is one.

Go immediately to Sparknotes to see what’s up and you get this: “These famous lines, narrated by Dante, open Inferno and immediately establish the allegorical plane on which the story’s meaning unfolds. The use of such potent words as “journey” and “right road” signifies the religious aspect of Dante’s impending adventure and quickly notifies us that we are leaving the realm of the literal. Likewise, the image of being lost in “dark woods” sets up a clear dichotomy between the unenlightened ignorance involved in a lack of faith in God and the clear radiance provided by God’s love. The simple contrast between the “dark woods,” which embody Dante’s fear, and the “right road,” which embodies Dante’s confidence in God, makes his challenge clear—he sets out to look for God in a sinful world.”

Fast forward to the heart of Italy: Harvard professor of “symbology” Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

Hope you enjoy unraveling this latest Dan Brown tale. Everyone recommends it.


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