1) The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. Copyright 2009. 509 pages.
2) The Lost Symbol begins with Harvard Professor Robert Langdon receiving a call form a long time friend and powerful Mason, Peter Solomon. His friend asks him to present a speech in D.C. that day, and Professor Langdon agrees, and takes the next flight to D.C., only to discover that Peter Solomon never really invited him! The initiation turned out to be a fraud, and Langdon quickly discovers his dear friend is in terrible danger. He is told to cooperate with the mysterious person that caused all this trouble or risk Peter’s life. The strange man asks for a sort of “key” that Langdon possesses.
When Peter’s hand is discovered in the Capitol Building, Professor Langdon realizes how dire the situation is. The CIA quickly gets involved, and the situation becomes a concern of “national security.” Langdon, who meets up with Peter’s sister, is led along a seemingly endless series of clues and myths, cleverly solving the encrypted codes that lie within our nations history. The man behind all their trouble is Mal’akh, who is a mysterious man of wealth and power. During the wild goose chase between the CIA, Langdon and Katie, and Mal’akh, Robert is taken on a journey he never would’ve imagined and uncovers some of the nations most well protected secrets. Mal’akh seeks eternal knowledge and wisdom, and Robert knows he cannot have it.
Unfortunately, Robert can’t have it both ways. He struggles to balance his friend's life and eternal glory for an enemy, and often times the balance tips one way or another. Robert knows it is up to him to save his friend, while the CIA relies on him to save the States. Mal’akh’s shocking identity is revealed in the end, along with his true master plan, which is much more problematic than previously thought.
The Lost Symbol is a fitting title because it not only serves as a literal meaning to the piece of information that Zachary seeks, but as a reminder to us of all the rich information behind the US. Robert Langdon has a seemingly endless supply of intriguing information regarding almost every aspect of Washington D.C., and other characters in the book seem to be just as intellectual. The title challenges the reader to learn more about the rich US history and offers a compelling teaser of what they can discover with a little digging.
Robert Langdon: brilliant, intuitive, concrete, factual, ambitious
Katherine Solomon: caring, unorthodox, proud, insightful, and resourceful
Director Sato: determined, experienced, insightful, feared, cunning
Zachary Solomon (Mal’akh): mysterious, confused, obsessed, hungry, angry
Peter Solomon: respected, generous, powerful, strong, true
Robert Langdon is the protagonist of The Lost Symbol. At first, Professor Langdon came off as a brilliant historian who had an inspiring story. His father died in a freak elevator accident as a child, as recounted in the dream Langdon is introduced to, “Their eyes locked for own terrifying second. Then the bottom dropped out.” (pg 6) He had had advantages his whole life that many didn’t have, but only because he paid a terrible price. Peter Solomon took him in after his father’s death, “in many ways filling the void left by Langdon’s father’s death,” (pg 7) and Langdon had become a respect Harvard symbologist. After realizing how easily he had fallen into Zachary’s trap, he seems to be all too trusting, to his own expense.
Zachary Solomon is an extremely interesting antagonist. We don’t discover his identity until the end of the book (he is known as Mal’akh, after a fallen angel who had hidden amongst humans, Moloch), but in the beginning, he seems to be a unique, mysterious character. In his opening scene, he is defying an ancient sacred ritual. His thoughts as he enters the 33rd Degree of Masonry warn his brothers, “Soon you will lose everything you hold most dear.” (pg 5) His persona for quite some time is a man...
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