Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown (Robert Langdon Series #5)

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown (Robert Langdon Series #5)

Title: OriginBook Review - Origin by Dan Brown

Author: Dan Brown

Series: Robert Langdon: Book 5

Publisher: Doubleday

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction

First Publication: 2017

Language: English

Major Characters: Robert Langdon, Ambra Vidal, Edmond Kirsch, Winston AI, Antonio Valdespino, Yehuda Köves, Syed al-Fadl, Admiral Ávila, Mónica Martín, Fonseca, Rafa Díaz, Suresh Bhalla, Beña, Prince Julián

Setting Places: Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Madrid (Spain), Budapest (Hungary)

Narration: Third Person Omniscient Narrator

Preceded by: Inferno

Followed by: 

 

Book Summary: Origin by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.”

The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough… one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever.

“Well, science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.”

Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret. Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself… and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch.

On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us. Origin is Dan Brown’s most brilliant and entertaining novel to date.

 

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

I have read Dan Brown’s books faithfully ever since the The Da Vinci Code came out in 2003.

Dan Brown writes amazing stories, even more though since he writes about buildings, groups, items, symbols that exist and it makes you wonder.

Origin is another wild Dan Brown adventure! Dan Brown’s books are like James Bond movies: a fast-paced thriller about religious conflicts, art history, code-breaking, and an incredible secret that can change the world. Origin by Dan Brown fits right into that category, making me read until late at night to see if Robert Langdon and his sidekick would make it.

“May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.”

At the heart of Origin by Dan Brown there are two questions: Where do we come from ? Where are we going?

Both equally fascinating but also very much controversial. I’m someone who loves controversial topics. Critical thinking. Stepping outside the box. It fascinates me. And Origin by Dan Brown had all of the above. I totally agree with the author.

Origin by Dan Brown, the fifth outing for Robert Langdon, Harvard symbiology and religious professor, is much the same. When the book begins, Robert is just arriving at the famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement by Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose high-tech inventions and bold predictions have made him a renowned global figure and hero to many.

Kirsch, a former student and mentee of Langdon’s, is about to unveil a controversial discovery that he promises will change the face of science forever by answering the fundamental questions of human existence itself.

“Sometimes, all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.”

However, during the presentation, Kirsch is shot and killed before he can share his discovery, forcing Robert to flee with Ambra Vidal, the museum director who staged the event with Kirsch. Together, they go on the run to Barcelona on a quest to locate the cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s discovery.

Dealing with hidden history and extreme religious figures, Robert and Ambra must evade those who want Kirsch’s secret hidden from the world, and uncover clues in modern art and symbols that will lead them to Kirsch’s striking discovery.

“Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of God…especially when their gods became threatened.”

Although the formula remains unchanged, Brown does a good job in setting up this adventure and laying out the foundation of the story. The beginning flows well and doesn’t feel rushed or forced. Characters are introduced in a multi-layered manner, flashing between the current moment and their background story that brought them to this point.

This sets up nicely for Kirsch to begin his presentation, be killed before the big reveal, and the dramatic chase begins for our fearless hero and heroine.

One of the interesting aspects was that, except for the beginning and ending scenes, Robert and Ambra are not on the front stage as much as in prior books. They have some important scenes solving puzzles to discover Kirsch’s password to his discovery, but the other characters played more primary roles in driving the multiple plots throughout the book.

There are several of them, including Navy admiral and assassin, Luis Avila; Jewish Rabbi Koves; Catholic Bishop Valdespino, advisor to the King; Prince Julian of Spain and the fiancée of Ambra; Commander Diego Garza and agent Diaz of the elite Spanish security force trying to protect the King and Prince; Monica Martin, Spain’s PR Coordinator, a real wild card; and of course, Winston, Kirsch’s unique AI computer system that partners with Robert throughout the story. Each plays a significant part in the overall storyline.

“Remember death. Even for those who wield great power, life is brief. There is only one way to triumph over death, and that is by making our lives masterpieces. We must seize every opportunity to show kindness and to love fully.”

In addition to the characters, Dan Brown places a large emphasis on art, religious history, and Spanish architecture. Each of course is woven into the background and tapestry of the story being told in ways that Brown is famous for. When it comes to the ending and the big reveal of where mankind came from and is going, I will not share any spoilers. What I will say is that there is a lot of scientific theory and modelling involved, to the point of almost overwhelming the reader.

However, I found the answer to one of the two questions to be very interesting and thought-provoking. I leave it to each reader to decide their thoughts on the two answers for themselves and how they viewed the discovery. I am sure there will be lots of arguing and debating over the points that Dan Brown makes and whether you favor creationism or evolution, the argument of science and religion will continue to rage regardless of the ideas expressed in this book.


 

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