Dan Brown: A disappointing one-hit wonder

DaVinci Code was a great book. But all of the rest of Brown's book seem to follow the same formula.

Asif Nawaz December 23, 2010
“The Da Vinci Code” hit book shelves in 2003, and went on to become the best-selling English language novel of the 21st century.

Very few books dig down into the roots of history, challenge your beliefs and provide food for thought; this one did. Besides igniting some ferocious controversies and becoming a global phenomenon, the book established its author, Dan Brown, as a talent to watch.

However, Brown's next books have failed to live up to the standards that he himself modeled. There’s a blatant sense of repetition and a tone of monotony easily palpable in his novels that followed. Take a look at some of the common features that you find in all of his books.

  • It’s always about changing the world. The antagonist maliciously claims every other second that the world is about to change forever in a matter of hours, and the protagonist fears this to be true. However, in none of the novels does the world actually change. All that changes in the end are perceptions.

  • The novels are invariably based on history. They keep on feeding us on the things that we didn’t even know existed. It’s either about some ancient, secret brotherhood, some thousand years old symbols or some utterly forgotten, dead artists. We would appreciate a lesser dose of history.

  • The main character knows absolutely everything, and so does his accompanying female companion. Honestly, is there anything on Earth the couple is blank about? Even in the sequences where they pretend to be clueless about a certain thing on the first glance, the revelation always dawns upon them; sooner or later. How very convenient!

  • Agreed, the precise details are the USP of the books, but sometimes it seems as if we are reading Wikipedia instead of a novel. How many of us are actually concerned about the number of stairs in the Washington Monument, or the number and pages of books in the Vatican archives, or the exact height and architecture of the Louvre Museum?

  • There’s too much family drama in the novels: estranged parents, lost children, busted relations and stuff. And more often than not, the stories kick off by the death of a character among these. Then, as we can guess, Robert Langdon jumps in to the rescue.

  • The stories never span a time limit of more than twenty four hours. During the proceedings, the characters might travel across continents, unearth world’s greatest mysteries and experience all that stuff that we require days even to understand. Yet, they are quick enough to conclude all these mammoth tasks in a mere day.

  • The endings are always abstract. They are in direct contrast to the dramatic, majestic endings that we conceive during reading the book. They always tend to go towards a philosophical, safer side; no bombs go off, no secrets are made public, and the rest of the world keeps on sleeping.

Asif Nawaz Asif Nawaz is a doctor from Abbottabad who's either traveling or writing while not procrastinating. He tweets as @asifnz (https://twitter.com/asifnz)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Canya | 12 years ago | Reply Although I'm a huge Dan Brown fan, but I couldnt help but agree 100% with this part:
Even in the sequences where they pretend to be clueless about a certain thing on the first glance, the revelation always dawns upon them; sooner or later. How very convenient!
Terry Mock | 13 years ago | Reply The REAL Lost Symbol - http://www.sldi.org/newService/SLDIOct2009.html Even as the book’s clever and fast-paced plot concludes, what may not be apparent to many readers is the connection between the SLDI mission and the meaning of “The Lost Symbol” - The Apotheosis of George Washington - painting on the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda. According to Brown’s story, “This ceiling’s spectacular collection of images was indeed a message… The founding fathers had envisioned America as a blank canvas, a fertile field on which the seeds of the mysteries could be sown. Today, Washington - a soaring icon – the father of our country, ascending to heaven – is hung silently above our lawmakers, leaders, and presidents...a bold reminder, a map to the future, a promise of a time when all people, like George Washington, would evolve to complete spiritual maturity.” “The Lost Symbol” connects the meaning of George Washington’s life to the achievement of our human potential as creators on earth. Now this is something to which we in land development can relate and aspire! Interestingly, SLDI made that very same connection almost four years ago. As first written in the December 2005 Land Development Today magazine article by SLDI entitled, “Breaking New Ground”: “When you look at the history of our industry in America, one is hard pressed not to conclude that George Washington, the Father of our Country, also grew to become what can only be described today as the Father of our own land development industry, as well as a visionary prophet of sustainability.” Further, the May 2007 SLDT magazine article People, Planet, & Profit, which originally unveiled the need and concept for SLDI, again documented George Washington’s unique leadership qualities, and addressed the multitude of problems facing our profession with this advice – “What Would George Washington Do?... Understanding the life and times of perhaps our country’s greatest hero, George Washington, can help to light our way down a path of true sustainability – one where people, planet, and profit all are considered equally in a decision model.” Now, once again following the visionary philosophy of George Washington, SLDI is pleased to be able to disclose the world’s first sustainable land development best practices system – The SLDI Code.™ Your participation and comments are welcome. Sustainable Land Development Initiative - http://www.triplepundit.com/author/sldi/ Promoting worldwide land development that balances the needs of people, planet & profit - for today and future generations.
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