A review of Dan Brown's Inferno.

History and facts gelled together with a tight plot and a topical theme, and hey presto! Inferno is ready to grip you, compel you to keep on turning the pages. Take momentary breaks in between to envisage the architecture and breathtaking landscape, before immersing yourself again in a tale that spans across continents and cultures. Absorbing would be too little a word to describe the work.

The theme is topical and the plot does justice to it. A scientist, willing to dirty his hands to save human race from extinction, creates a virus that is capable of assisting nature by doing its balancing job (read large scale bloodshed and incurable epidemic). A votary of natural diseases that bring about an equilibrium, the scientist rubs the head of a major world health organisation in the wrong way. A hunt ensues and the poetic scientist, inspired by Dante, leaves behind a cryptic message for the world before leaping to his death. In comes Langdon to decipher the message and stop the virus from obliterating human race from the face of the world. Nothing is as it seems, there are sub-plots and sub-sub-plots that come together before the climax, adding to the thrill. You might at times think that you have figured it out, but the very next revelation would make you ashamed of your Holmesian skills.

The story, as in other Brown novels, begins with suspense. Someone attacking Langdon for some unknown reason. A daring chase and an equally audacious escapade. Events begin to unfold gradually, even as Langdon tries to make sense of the mysterious recurring dream with a beautiful woman in it urging him to find something of vital importance. Involved in the search is a major organisation with a global reputation for shady activities and a world body trying to ward off a global catastrophe. The story ends in Turkey, where East meets West, with** Langdon for the first time seems not at his best.**

Any avid fan of Dan Brown worth his salt would vouch for the book being one of the best. The point is it stops at that. It’s not the best of Brown. What hampers it from taking the top slot is its loose ending. All through the book Brown manages to keep the tension up with his smart and thrilling writing, but fails to deliver the punch. Brown somehow gets entangled in the mesh of morality and decides to grant deliverance to the principal antagonist with a long note of preaching about forgiveness.

Where it falters, and big time at that, is at the ending. Langdon decides to forgive and protect the person, who unleashed a deadly virus, from retribution. Had the ending been on the lines of his other works, it would have made much more sense than seeing the perpetrator of such grave crime going scot-free. In my opinion, its a book betrayed by its ending. However, it does not mean that its not worth the money you spend. Its an absorbing read. And like all other works of the great Brown, you will emerge wiser. Steeped in history with an abundant dose of literature and ample servings of suspense and thrill, it surely deserves a place on the book shelf.