Inferno

by Dan Brown

Hardcover, 2013

Collection

Description

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.

Media reviews

"In short, Dan Brown’s “Inferno” is the kind of satisfying escapist read that summers were made for."
4 more
... 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 mired in a sea of mixed metaphors.

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 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.… (more)
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 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 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. 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.… (more)
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 '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.… (more)
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 far-reaching secret organization, and aided by a brilliant beauty who has secrets of her own.

Check.

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 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 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 aagbay
Dan Brown recently released Inferno, the fourth book in the saga of Robert Langdon. This prompted me to read the entire series, from book one, all over just to read this book. I relived old memories while taking this trip back through the journeys of Robert Langdon. Inferno continues the same thrilling and puzzling qualities of the previous books while somehow adding a different feeling throughout the book. Taking the time to read the previous three books took almost a week, but when I read this one, I knew it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Robert Langdon is once again thrown into a mad dash to solve a mysterious puzzle laid out across parts of Europe. He wakes up in a hospital with a head wound, unsure of what happened due to a case of retrograde amnesia. A series of events leads to him and a woman named Sienna Brooks to travel across parts of Italy and visit countless architectural and artistic masterpieces to solve a mysterious puzzle to prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

I feel that this is a true return to form and improvement for Dan Brown and his series about Robert Langdon. He has combined aspects from his three previous books into Inferno and made a very engaging thriller.

As in previous books, there is a common subject that dominates the entire story. In this case, Dante and his literary epic, The Divine Comedy, take center stage in this thrilling puzzle. Clues and quotes from the book lead the aging professor and his partner in a race across Italy. While there, they also visit some very famous places, such as the Hall of the Five Hundred, and deal with many famous paintings.

Inferno also contains a significant to scientific advancement to genetic engineering and overpopulation. Both topics were explained just enough for me to understand what was going on.

I enjoyed my chance to read Inferno. I loved Angles and Demons, but also felt that last two books were lacking a little bit of action. Brown combined the action and fast-paced thriller of Angles and Demons, the significant art and literature references of The Da Vinci Code, and subjects from cutting edge fields of science seen in both Angles and Demons and The Lost Symbol. This combination has allowed Dan Brown to craft his best novel of the series yet.
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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 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 pussreboots
Inferno by Dan Brown is the fourth Robert Langdon book. I've read and enjoyed each of them because they are silly and capery, much like the Cats and Curious series I love. This one takes place in Italy and Turkey.

Robert awakes in hospital to a splitting headache and a nightmarish vision of war and death. Worse yet, he's in Italy and he doesn't know how or when he got there! Before he can get his bearings, the chase is on. He and his surgeon are running for their lives.

Normally I cringe at amnesia plots but the Robert Langdon books are inherently silly. Here the clues are derived from Dante's Divine Comedy (and mostly the Inferno part). Dante apparently put a lot of himself and his life into his works and now a master criminal (mad man) is taking advantage of that fact.

This mad man has taken Dante's work to heart and has hidden clues to the whereabouts of a new plague within the landmarks and artworks that date back to Dante's time.

The introduction of a plague (or a formula) combined with European history and a male and female team on the run makes for an adult caper very much in tone with the original 39 Clues series. The ending, though, set in Turkey, felt like a jarring crossover with Clive Cussler's Crescent Dawn.
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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 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.… (more)
LibraryThing member bks1953
"Inferno" is the 4th in Dan Brown's Robert Langodon series, following "Angels & Demons," "Da Vinci Code," and "Lost Symbol." While the last was a disappointment -- especially as it took place in my home of Washington, DC -- "Inferno" is, in a word, fantastic. An excellent and thought-provoking story line, borrowed both from the past (Dante's epic poem) and the present. The story is wonderfully told, with intriguing charcaters as well as institutions, and a few twists along the way to keep the reader thinking. Highly recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Dan Brown's Inferno is the fourth installment in the Robert Langdon series. Like all Dan Brown tomes, it starts with a death: genetic engineer Betrand Zobrist, a very cult like charismatic and extremely intelligent man who commits suicide and leaves a video behind. The video is heavily influenced by Dante's Inferno and alludes to the fact that Zobrist has left a biological agent, a plague of sorts, underneath a underground tavern surrounded by water. The clock is ticking because the virus is scheduled to be released...tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Robert Langdon wakes up in a makeshift hospital with a head wound in Italy. Apparently he's been shot in the head and mumbling something that sounds like "very sorry" over again when he was admitted. Langdon tries to recover the last two days of his life with the help of Dr. Sienna Brooks, a troubled genius in her own right.

Then, all hell breaks loose in the form of a lone soldier.

Langdon and Sienna make haste out of the hospital and momentarily get shelter however, it is short lived when a call to the U.S. Embassy results in that same soldier finding them and because of Langdon sending an email brings about a heavily black leather clad team whose loyalties are not known.

As Langdon tries to piece together his memory, he will embark on a journey through the most grand places of Italy trying to figure out exactly how Dante's Inferno fits into a bioterrorist's plans to control the world's population.

I thought Inferno was really good. It was very captivating and compelling. It was a typical Dan Brown novel. It was rich with character development and chock full of Art history and linguistics. One thing I always loved about Brown novels were the historical aspects. Thank God for my Art History class because I felt comfortable with the material.

I thought the transhumanism movement was a really interesting idea, drastic but honest. The ending I thought didn't live up to all of the drama although it was probably the most realistic.
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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. 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 rufusraider
Inferno by Dan Brown should definitely be on your reading list if you like thrillers that keep you guessing and make you reluctant to put the book down. The book follows Robert Langdon on another hunt with lots of historical references. The main historical theme of the book is Dante's Divine Comedy. The novel is set in Florence and Venice, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey where some of the historical items related to Dante's Divine Comedy are located.

The story starts with Robert Langdon dealing with amnesia and trying to escape from someone who appears to be trying to kill him. This initial assumption will prove to be false at some point in time in the novel. This is true of most of the initial presentation of facts throughout the novel. The story revolves around a mad man who is concerned that the world's population growth is a harbinger of the collapse of human population.

Even though this is fiction, you will learn alot about Dante's Divine Comedy and his life.
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LibraryThing member Steve.Bivans
The premise to the book is the only reason to read it. It would have been better, for the reader, if Mr. Brown had written TWO books: one, a fast-paced, thriller novel, of which this book has elements, and two, an art-history, travelogue, with actual photos of all the art he spends 300 pages describing in text. Descriptions of art, are a waste of time, especially in the digital age when we can all just Google it (which is what I did as I read the book). Such descriptions are pretentious, and boring. If these had been left out, the basic story would have carried itself. I will credit the book with launching me into a project to write my own, so with that in mind, "Thank you Mr. Brown."… (more)
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 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 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 InnahLovesYou
One of the best books I've read so far. Robert Langdon, as usual, leaves me breathless and Dan Brown knows how to keep the story going. I couldn't put the book down. It is one of the many that still haunt me, after hours, and I believe it will haunt me for days and months. All the symbols in Dante's "Inferno", of which I wasn't aware of are simply amazing.… (more)
LibraryThing member pinkozcat
Boring, contrived and far too long.

Perhaps Dan Brown could try writing for Lonely Planet; at least half the book was taken up with describing the scenery.
LibraryThing member Birdo82
The Langdon Adventure formula may make this read a pleasure for die-hard Dan Brown fans, but Inferno's absurd twists and anti-climactic ending will leave others with a far weaker experience than previous books in the series.
LibraryThing member marysneedle
Dan Brown has created another intense roller coaster of a ride book. I love the Robert Langdon escapade adventures, and this newest one did not disappoint me. The book was literally difficult for me to put down. This time it was all about Dante’s Inferno. How this was woven into a story about mad scientist and a global situation was great. Langdon again takes us to lots of interesting places with art and symbols, and cryptology. I have read other authors who try to write the same type of stories but, Dan Brown seems to be the best at pulling you in from page one all the way to the end.
There was a point however about three quarters of the way thru the book where it did seem like things were revolving in circles. But it was not enough to stop the edge of your seat feel to the story.
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LibraryThing member ckrcelich
Another excellent book by Dan Brown!
LibraryThing member tg0610
It's really hard to write a negative review of a Dan Brown novel and not come off like a snob, but I can't help it. Brown is not a great writer, he's not even a good one, but his books are enjoyable reads that offer the potential to turn one's critical faculties off for a weekend and absorb trivia that might have been previously unfamiliar. In these respects, Inferno does succeed at points, albeit with the usual clunky dialogue, in which characters summarise the plot at regular intervals, presumably for those who may have nodded off, or when Robert Langdon takes the time to give a detailed exposition on some piece of art or architecture while in the process of fleeing from a nefarious ne'er-do-well.

But Inferno is riddled with so many holes, implausibilities and inaccuracies, more than the usual Dan Brown fare, to the point that it drives any mildly intelligent reader to distraction. One example: if a supposed art expert wakes up in a Florentine hospital with someone telling him they were muttering something that sounded like "Ve... sorry, verry sorry" and it takes them 100 more pages to figure out they were actually mumbling 'Versari', I'm 'very sorry', but you don't have a credible character. That gem came in the first 20 pages and it just gets worse from there.

After that, we're left with the same plot and devices as every other Langdon novel (baddie wit h evil intentions who still manages to leave clues so someone can stop him; awkward and unconsummated sexual tension between Langdon and a beautiful, brilliant companion with a mysterious past that figures neatly in to the plot somewhere along the line; ready, red tape-free access to transportation in Europe's busiest cities, with no possibility of traffic or delays; the lack of need for food, so as to move the "24"-like plot along ... you get the picture). Dan Brown's books are not meant to be anything other than fun vacation reads and I did make it to the end of this one (albeit skimming the last 100 pages). However, they're veering too closely to self-parody for me to really make the effort on any future endeavour.
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LibraryThing member startwithgivens
I definitely think Dan Brown stepped out of his Robert Langdon comfort zone with this one. Some elements were very similar (i.e. the use of symbols) but others were different in ways I didn't expect (i.e. character development). I also felt like Inferno was more of a mystery whereas the previous three books were more suspense/thrillers from start to finish.… (more)
LibraryThing member MichaelHodges
Inferno by Dan Brown, first published in April 2013, and NYT #1 best Seller since early May 2013.
This book is a 460 page non-stop roller coaster thriller.. Dan Brown out shines himself in the style of his “Lost Symbol” and “The Da Vinci Code” all centered on his fictional Harvard symbologist Robert Landon. Few of us have read Dante in the raw, and Dante’s Inferno provides the backdrop for this exquisite story. Take a standard tourist street map and follow the action through Dante’s Florence for the first half of this thriller. Similarly, use a map for the next 40% of the book’s action in Venice. The last 10% can also be yet another tourist trip in an old world favorite city that I leave for the reader to identify. If you have spent time as a tourist in these cities, all the better to re-live your past travels. No need to get hung up between the concepts of heaven and hell; leave that to your reading of Dante himself if you must. You cannot read this book in one sitting but you might want to, in any event hold onto your seat for this truly awesome read/ride. In my view this book is Brown’s best yet. Thanks to Dan and Dante.--June 2013- Mike Hodges.… (more)

Publication

Doubleday (2013), Edition: First Edition, 480 pages

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2013

Physical description

461 p.; 6.43 inches

ISBN

0385537859 / 9780385537858
Page: 0.4723 seconds