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The Literate Learner Featured Article of the Week

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown


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by Steve Gardiner
November 11, 2017

Dan Brown hooked me with the Da Vinci Code. His protagonist Robert Langdon, the Harvard University professor and symbologist was the right combination of intelligence and courage.

 

I followed Robert through Angels and Demons as well as The Lost Symbol and was excited to return to his world in the recently-released Origin.

 

In this story, a former student of Robert's, Edmond Kirsch, notifies Robert that he has made a huge discovery. Edmond explains that “words can't describe how excited I am to share it with the world tonight. It will usher in a major paradigm shift. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my discovery will have repercussions on the scale of the Copernican revolution.”

 

Edmond invites Robert to a museum in Bilbao, Spain, to hear his announcement. Dozens of others gather in anticipation of the news.

 

Robert, while excited about his student's discovery, is leery. He wonders what Edmond could have found that could be so dramatic, and is anxious for Edmond's presentation.

 

Edmond drops a hint by telling Robert that there are two mysteries which “lie at the heart of the human experience. Where do we come from? Where are we going? Human creation and human destiny. They are the universal mysteries.” He promises Robert that his presentation will explain both.

 

However, before Edmond can reveal his significant discoveries, a crisis interrupts his presentation and Robert is forced to use his knowledge of art, literature, language and religion to solve a series of clues Edmond provided to find a password that will make sure Edmond's message is delivered to the world. The quest for this password involves murderers, military personnel, Spanish royalty, members of the Royal Guard, and a host of religious figures representing diverse views of the spiritual world.

 

Brown's research on the buildings, art, and religious factions in the story is as strong as any he has done. In fact, he includes an author's note in the beginning of the book stating, “All art, architecture, science and religious organizations in this novel are real.”

 

Brown's ability to tie all these factors together makes this an excellent read.

 


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