My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, Dan Brown’s writing can be formulaic, of course. (Why corrupt a successful and lucrative recipe, after all?) Robert Langdon, pre-eminent art historian, finds himself on a quest to save the world and must use his powers of decoding and deep knowledge of art history to uncover Truth and outwit Evil. An intelligent and beautiful woman is usually involved in the quest as is the case here. Formula aside…I was in heaven – especially during the first half of the book, set in Florence, Italy, my favorite city in all the world. Familiar buildings and places, including the Boboli Gardens, the Ponte Vecchio, the Vasari Corridor, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile, the Baptistery, were described in detail with wonderful notes on the history of each.
(I found myself frequently jealous of Brown, pondering and salivating over the research process he must have undertaken for this book and, oh, how I relived some fantastic travel memories!)
Certain works of Botticelli and Michelangelo, and especially Dante, figured prominently in the storyline. Again, heaven.
As the clock ticks, the search moves to Venice and finally concludes in Istanbul.
I was happy I read Inferno. I think the book would appeal to many diverse souls including those who’ve travelled – or are thinking of travelling – to Florence, Venice, or Turkey; Art History fiends (place me squarely in this camp, too); Dante scholars; those who have read Dante’s “Inferno”; those concerned about the over-population of the world (a major theme of the book); and, of course, Dan Brown fans. I don’t know if I consider myself a fan of his as much as I simply appreciate his ability to depict many of the settings and works of art that I treasure and which hold deep meaning for me.
Fan or not, I did enjoy the book.
Here’s a great infographic on Dante’s “Circles of Hell” which figure prominently in this book.