by Dan Brown

Hardcover, 2013



In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces--Dante's "Inferno"--as he battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.

Library's rating


½ (2782 ratings; 3.6)


British Book Award (Shortlist — 2013)

Media reviews

"In short, Dan Brown’s “Inferno” is the kind of satisfying escapist read that summers were made for."
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... there is the sense of play that saves Brown's books from ponderousness, even when he is waxing wise about some ancient mystery or architectural wonder.
"Unfortunately, at other times the book’s musty passageways seem to be not so much holding history up as sagging under its weight."
"To the great relief of anyone who enjoys him, Mr. Brown winds up not only laying a breadcrumb trail of clues about Dante (this is “Inferno,” after all) but also playing games with time, gender, identity, famous tourist attractions and futuristic medicine."
Renowned author Dan Brown hated the critics. Ever since he had become one of the world’s top renowned authors they had made fun of him. [...] The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was
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mired in a sea of mixed metaphors.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member melissarochelle
Read from May 17 to 20, 2013

I don't remember The Lost Symbol -- that's how boring it was. At least the premise of Inferno was interesting -- beyond that it was kind of ridiculous and repetitious. Robert Langdon is wry, he has a Mickey Mouse watch, and he wears tweed...blah blah blah. I mean, I had
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to read what the "bad guy" said in his video SO many times. Oh! And in case you didn't know, Sienna Miller has a ponytail. Then the big twist...umm...the already over-the-top idea of the book moved into LUDICROUS territory. Some parts were so torturous, I stopped reading to do laundry and dust.
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LibraryThing member japaul22
This is the latest Robert Langdon thriller. Again, Langdon traces historical clues and solves puzzles and symbols to solve a crime. This time everything revolves around Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy and a possible plague that is about to be released into the world.

I have to say that I
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didn't like this one very much. Not like his other books are high art or anything, but this was not very intricate, didn't have very interesting puzzles, and I found the whole premise pretty unbelievable. It was mainly chase scenes.

I wouldn't recommend it.
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LibraryThing member scodenton
A resounding 'meh'. Typically fast-paced, as all Dan Brown books are, but I can't shake the feeling that the whole escapade was essentially pointless. Filled with opinions that may initially be shocking, but then couches them with immediate riposte by other characters, as if Dan Brown is afraid of
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the backlash for suggesting it in the first place.

More courage of conviction please Mr Brown. Stop playing it safe and trying to appease everyone.

Whilst I'm there, it's great naming all these fantastic and beautiful historic buildings, but sadly I haven't been there myself, nor do I know what they all look like, so as you name them all, it wouldn't hurt to actually describe to the reader what they look like. If I had really cared to get a sense of the location, I'd have needed google open and constantly searched for the images to picture what it looks like. Perhaps I should know what the "Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore" looks like, but sadly I'm not that intelligent or knowledgeable. Which probably explains why I'm reading Dan Brown novels and not Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy....
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LibraryThing member burnit99
Okay, so it's a new Robert Langdon mystery/suspense/thriller by Dan Brown. You know going in that it's going to involve Harvard symbiologist Langdon in a race through ancient locales, searching for clues hidden in classic writings and historical monuments, competing with a mysterious, powerful and
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far-reaching secret organization, and aided by a brilliant beauty who has secrets of her own.


Dan Brown stays true to his formula. Fortunately, I enjoy this particular formula. Here, Robert Langdon awakens with a head injury in Florence, with no memory of the last couple of days or how he got here from Harvard. Almost immediately, it seems, he is being pursued by a mysterious killer, accompanied by Sienna Brooks, a beautiful doctor with secrets of her own. He learns that a powerful man who is fascinated by Dante's "The Divine Comedy" (particularly "The Inferno") has hidden a horrifying creation of his own design that will change the human race forever, and Langdon must decipher the clues hidden in Dante's writing to prevent an Earthly Inferno. The plot stretches the bounds of credulity, but not to the breaking point, and I quite enjoyed the fast pace, sudden twists and surprise revelations. And, if Brown's research is to be believed (not quite sure if I do), I came away knowing quite a bit more about Dante and the Renaissance than before.
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LibraryThing member lettylibrarian
Great book - if you are planning a trip to Italy and need a touring plan. With every page I turned I looked up images on Google so that I can see where they were on their Italian mystery adventure. I've never done that before and that was a lot of fun. It made reading a more adventurous experience.
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Otherwise I was not as impressed. The DaVinci Code was spectacular. So when all the other books have to meet that standard, it is too bad for the author. And maybe for me because I have higher expectations. I loved DaVinci code for the "what the ????" moment I got reading it. There was none of that. Although I did like the whole idea of population explosion and why we should all be concerned about that. If the books starts a global conversation on that topic then great, it served a fabulous purpose. But as for a thrilling read, ok, I will give it that. As for a spectacular mystery. Ehh.
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LibraryThing member WeeziesBooks
"Inferno" was another enjoyable novel by Dan Brown. Beginning with the “DaVinci Code”, I have read each book as soon as it was available. My favorite is still “Angels and Demons” but this book is a strong runner up. From traveling across the world, to dealing with amnesia following an
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'incident’, and trying to save the world from a horrible threat, Robert Langdon was reminded constantly of Dante's Inferno, the nine circles of hell and the death mask. He quoted Dante quite appropriately throughout the book. In this newest offering, Langdon again finds himself in a world of powerful individuals, treason, and fine antiquities. This volume is full of adventure, violence, terror and daunting challenges. Langdon is not a stranger to violence or puzzles, or love interests. There is plenty of each of these in this book. It was interesting including the World Health Organization and the issue of overpopulation into the story line along with incidents involving medicine, suspicion and greed. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Florence, the Plaza Vecchio and St. Mark’s Basilica. When visiting Italy, it does feel indeed as if you are in a world of water, history and romance. I rate this book 4 stars.
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LibraryThing member michrym
Fast read and captivates the attention as with all of Dan Brown's novels. Fact interwoven with historical fiction is my favorite gendre! I learned a lot about Venice and Istabul as well as the WHO. Excellent as always.
LibraryThing member KVHardy
I really didn't enjoy this. I got about a third of the way through and completely lost interest. I will most likely finish this on vacation, but for now, I've got more interesting books to read.
LibraryThing member joannemonck
As always Brown is being chased by someone and escapes (like Indiana Jones) but the action is fantastic and as always you learn a great deal about art and symbolism. Well done Dan Brown.
LibraryThing member mainerk8
It was a good Dan Brown book. It was fast paced from the first pages. Not a leisurely read, but that's not a Dan Brown story. Unique subject matter...
LibraryThing member bilmcdaddy
I am always impressed with his research. Anyone who likes likes art history will find some nuggets here. I think his books are becoming a bit formulaic and it seemed to drag a bit in the middle, but they do always make you think at some point. I find the concept of transhumanism and interesting
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point of debate and think it's overall a good, entertaining read.
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LibraryThing member PiperUp
While I enjoyed learning about Dante's Inferno I couldn't help but think that this book was too formulaic & about 100 pages too long.
There were some twists that I didn't guess along the way which is why it gets three stars instead of two.
I wish the MSM would report more on the effects of
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overpopulation & the fact that it will cause so much harm within the next 50 years.
I don't think it will receive the attention it needs from most people via this book since the book is fiction, even though the statistics are non fiction.

I enjoyed Brown's other books more than this one but I enjoyed the topic of this one more than the topic of others.
Sure, I realize that seems a bit of a contradictory statement...but it's due to the length of the book & how formulaic it is.

I'd recommend that people read it since it points out all the negative effects of overpopulation.
I'd especially recommend that people that have more than 2 children read it as well as have to pay some kind of monetary penalty for having more than 2 children. I realize we can't force birth control on individuals so why not tax them?
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LibraryThing member riverwillow
Much better than the last one, which was not hard. Brown is a master at spinning a ludicrous plot into something half-way believable. But what should be an enjoyable man saves the world romp becomes a bit of a slog to read because Brown's convoluted prose kept pulling me out of the story.
LibraryThing member abitmorejerry
Definitely not the fast-paced, dramatic page turner many of us have come to expect from the author. In fact after a while, I did find myself skimming and turning the pages rather quickly but for a different reason - I was looking for the story! Far too many pages devoted to self-indulgent showcases
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of the author's/author's team's knowledge of various cultural places of interest/museums, art etc. You can get all this from tours/books or even the internet. Speaking of which, it seems like the author has just discovered how to do a 'vanity' search - there was a few pathetic attempts at humour or trying to show off a rather meagre knowledge of web users (not sure which as it just didn't work).
Don't get me wrong - I have been a big fan of Dan Brown and really enjoyed his previous work but this novel was a far cry from his previous work. With regards to the monotonous drifts into travelogues and tedious descriptions/opinions of art related to the story, I understand the need to set the scene but in this case it went too far - way too far and drowned out the story. Not sure if there just wasn't enough story there and these too-frequent, too-boring discourses were just there to fill space.
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LibraryThing member bookswoman
I know, lots of people don't like Dan Brown and his Robert Langdon books but I love them. They are fast paced, give out lots of information and often teach me a thing or two. I don't accept everything as gospel but if I'm interested I'll do some more reading to see the real facts. Any book that
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makes me curious is always a good thing to me.

Inferno revolves around the issue of world overpopulation and what to do about it as well as what some people are willing to do. Set mostly in Italy, Brown gives the reader a peek into the various museums and towns that the Masters worked and lived in while creating some of the greatest paintings and literature of all time. Dante, of course, takes center stage in this book as his book The Divine Comedy, specifically the part on The Inferno. I'm not a huge fan of Dante's Divine Comedy but this is the 2nd book in the last couple of years I've read on the topic. Craig Johnson used the work as the theme for his book "Hell is Empty" and now Brown.

It took me a while to get through this one. Not because it was bad but because life kept interrupting me! I'll keep reading Brown until he disappoints me, but it hasn't happened yet.
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LibraryThing member voracious
What would the world do without Robert Langdon's brilliance to save it from destruction? As with his other adventures, Robert is unexpectedly thrust into a race against time, this time to save mankind from an epidemic set upon the world by a Dante-obsessed madman, who believes he has found a way to
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protect the longevity of the human race. Fortunately, our hero is fully versed in the minutia of Dante's Inferno and able to interpret the clues carelessly strewn along the way (why would the evil genius madman leave clues one might ask? Your guess is as good as mine). I found the race to the end exhilirating, though I love a good brainy thriller. If you are willing to suspend disbelief and just have a good time, it is a fun and quick read. However, if you are going to be a snooty know-it-all who thinks he is too good to read a book by Dan Brown, then you probably won't enjoy it and will find many reasons to tear it apart.

On an aside, I found the concept that the world's population might extinguish itself by shear population explosion to be very disturbing. It has stuck in my mind since, particularly as I have driven past fields of crops on my way to work...
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LibraryThing member Ralphd00d
Very interesting book. I enjoyed Robert Langdon being in yet another thriller/action novel, but the overall subject content threw me for a loop. I finished this actually last night, and still am trying to process the ramifications. I know not how true the figures used in the story are, but either
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way.... wow.
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LibraryThing member zojjz
Tired and cliche characters, somewhat insulting hetero-normative and homophobic tones, over explanatory of relatively obvious plot twists, constantly repetitive of information. Interesting surroundings and lore can't carry it alone unfortunately.
LibraryThing member JoniMFisher
This giant doorstop of a book was worth hefting for days. Wowza. The intrepid Professor Langdon marches through symbolic hell and genuine danger after a brilliant madman who is determined to send humanity through a man-made apocalypse. Sure, there are parts of the book that require the reader to
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suspend disbelief with both hands, but in the long run, the gravitas of the book's message merits the reader's cooperation.
Powerful, engaging story that will haunt the reader and broaden viewpoints.
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LibraryThing member santhony
I read Dan Brown’s breakout hit, The DaVinci Code, and while acknowledging that it may not be “fine literature”, it certainly kept my attention and proved to be a highly enjoyable read; so much so that I immediately ordered his two earlier books, Deception Point and Digital Fortress. I was
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not disappointed, though again, enjoying them for what they were, quick, easy, entertaining reads.

Angels and Demons disappointed me greatly, and Lost Symbol, though marginally better, shared many of the problems I had with Angels and Demons. Inferno fits very comfortably in the Dan Brown mold and while sharing many of the best points of his better efforts, also has its share of drawbacks.

First, the good: Dan Brown novels are outstanding opportunities to learn about art, architecture, culture and even literature. In this novel, readers can become conversant about the history of the city of Florence (one of the most magnificent cities ever inhabited), its landmarks and most famous works of art. Most particularly, the reader is immersed in the life and works of Dante Alighieri, and his seminal epic poem The Divine Comedy, which many consider to be among the greatest works of literature ever penned.

Dan Brown is a master of weaving a story, slowly releasing bits and pieces of a puzzle and ending each chapter with a cliffhanger so compelling, the reader is reluctant not to continue. Many times I’ve found myself reading into the early morning hours, unable to find a stopping point.

Now the bad: The scenarios in many of Brown’s novels become so ridiculous and ludicrous that enjoyment becomes difficult. Reading, in fact becomes a chore between eye rolls. As in Angels and Demons, where the “bad guy” is imbued with such superhuman strength and durability that he could have seemingly survived a direct hit with an atomic bomb, our hero in this novel, Robert Langdon, and his female sidekick are surrounded and hopelessly defeated countless times, only to discover “hidden passage ways” over and over and over again. I understand that the medieval city is rife with such escape hatches, but apparently Langdon is the only one that knows about them, he knows all of them, and they just so happen to appear when most desperately needed.

Message to Dan Brown: THESE ABSURD PLOT TWISTS ARE NOT NECESSARY! The underlying story is engaging and vastly entertaining. Your subject matter is incredibly rich and complex. The absurd chase scenes and miraculous get aways are detracting from the story.
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LibraryThing member terk71
You might recall the Harvard art historian and symbologist from other Dan Brown novels. In this novel, Robert Langdon bounces through Tuscany and visits classical sites in pursuit of an evil genius bent on infecting the world population. Langdon searches the native territory of Dante Alighieri as
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referenced in his Divine Comedy in order to dismantle the Doomsday bomb planted by a bio-terrorist.

Langdon’s initial problem is that he has no memory when he awakens in a Florentine hospital. His eidetic recall has been impaired apparently by a head wound, and his escapade is launched by the appearance of an assassin. His evasion and gradual recollection are assisted by an ER doctor while they zip through Aegean sites, following pertinent clues, avoiding sinister pursuers, and racing the clock.

Dan Brown blends literature, literary history, and philosophy into this work. The inclusion of many verses from Dante’s poem captures the flavor of Italian Renaissance literature, and the author adds a précis of some verses while introducing the historical background, events, and personalities involved in Dante’s work. Brown renders descriptions of the classical buildings, sculptures, and other artwork with vivid aplomb.

The novelist also introduces the philosophic propositions of 18th Century British scholar Robert Malthus, who postulated that the world’s population would grow faster than the earth could provide subsistence. The Malthusian model also posited that population was controlled through famine and disease. Unfortunately, in our modern world pharmacology has eliminated many diseases, medical advances have advanced living ages, and the population has been exploding exponentially while resources are diminishing, bringing the human race to the brink of extinction. Genius geneticist Bertrand Zobrist, at odds with World Health Organization and in collusion with a secret group headed by the Provost, has devised and is about to execute a solution to overpopulation—unless Langdon can stop him.

Despite the intriguing revelations in this literary jaunt or the conflicting sociological viewpoints, Dan Brown’s formulaic plot here has become a bit threadbare. Even the romping visits through various exotic vistas are becoming tedious. The ageless Robert Langdon has become a picaresque protagonist, more a pliable foil for other characters than a self-actualized hero. Yet, a fascination to discover what evils will be released into the world will propel the reader onward.

This novel demonstrates how difficult it is to maintain a specific standard within Dan Brown’s genre. But consuming this book is not a waste of time.
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LibraryThing member ckrcelich
Another excellent book by Dan Brown!
LibraryThing member Clara53
Leave it to Dan Brown to capture your attention at the very start and not release it till the end, with an unexpected twist on the last pages. Though the book begins with a familiar type of pursuit involving codes, etc., it certainly becomes worthwhile when the reason for the chase becomes clear.
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While in "The Da Vinci Code" Dan Brown daringly delved back into history presenting a unique perspective on Christianity, in "Inferno" he, no less skillfully, tackles science and ventures into the problems of the Earth's future - specifically, the problem of overpopulation that brings with itself depletion of resources for the human race to exist. The author doesn't exaggerate when he says: "When it comes to the circumstances of the world, denial has become a global pandemic". As I see it, the reality of this statement cannot be overestimated if we don't want to bring about the extinction of human race. Professor Robert Langdon finds himself in an unfamiliar territory this time, but his expertise once again proves invaluable. I loved the book, especially for its hugely significant premise.

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LibraryThing member piersanti
There is never any real mystery here, so instead the author repeatedly and pointlessly withholds information.
LibraryThing member mrsdowney
I ran into trouble with this book, although I'm a loyal Dan Brown fan. I'm glad I read it; I like the conclusion, even if it's a bit of a stretch. It brought me to think of things I'd rather not. Fans should read it. And some of my problems with the book were unique to me, I suppose; a few of those
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irrelevant to the contents of the book.

First, I kept getting interrupted by other books that needed to be read first, or college classes I needed to complete. But any other Dan Brown book would not have been interrupted no matter what. So I began to wonder: Why am I not loving this book?

One reason was strictly physical: Why on earth would anyone publish such a ginormous, unreadable, heavy collection of pages between hard covers??? I'm not a big fan of e-books (I forget they are there and forget to finish them, being out of sight). But in this case I wished I'd ordered the digital version instead. Oh, how I longed for that neat little Kindle device! I lugged this massive tome around with me and many times wanted to ditch it in favor of something easier to tote, hold, and read. My hands and arms ached. In this age of the diminishing influence of bookstores, I think the publishers did the author a disservice with this choice. It was not necessary to fatten it up like that to become visible on shelves. I suppose it was designed for the massive hands and arms of massive men??? Silly conceit on the publishers' part and it was no fault of the author's, so my reluctance to pick it up is an unfair gauge of its worthiness, but nevertheless played a big part in the length of time it took me to finish this book.

Secondly, the imagery of Dante's Inferno and Botticelli's artwork was not exactly appealing to me. Since I believe that sort of "hell" is created in the minds of people who believe in it, I wasn't happy to be spending so much time contemplating it.

Next, I grew impatient with the pacing and repetition, thinking perhaps the author or his editors had drawn things out for the sake of creating that enormous physical book. Some of the actual writing seemed careless to me.

HOWEVER, the tour of Italian art and architecture was appealing, to a point. About 3/4 of the way through, I grew bored with that, as well. Once again, it was frustrating to have to lug the book into my office, fire up the computer, and Google the various artworks or locations in order to follow the author's heavy-handed insistence. It would have been easier for him to post a website and give us the images all in one place rather than construct a plot around his trip to Italy and try to build it into a novel. Or perhaps if the book was going to be so physically imposing, it might have served better as a coffee-table art book? Again, this was the first time in my life I have longed for a wirelessly-connected, hand-held device for accessing the Internet. Was he trying to create an App, but his advisers insisted he must produce another book instead?

This might also have been the first time in my life I found myself rooting for the villain from the beginning. So bottom line, I complained all through it but I'm glad I read it, and I hope the next book is better.
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Doubleday (2013), Edition: First Edition, 480 pages

Original publication date





0385537859 / 9780385537858


Original language

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