Title “Origin” by Dan Brown
This book sees the return of protagonist Robert Langdon, central character from several Dan Brown books before. This time, Robert is invited to witness the announcement of a major breakthrough in religious and scientific thought by an old friend, but as before, things are not quite what they seem and things take quite a sinister turn quite quickly.
Who are the main characters?
As I mentioned, Robert Langdon is one of the main characters and for the large part of the book he is accompanied by Ambra Vidal, who is the Prince of Spain’s fiancée, and Winston, a surprisingly helpful and knowledgeable assistant. The announcement is made by Edmond Kirsch, and he features quite heavily throughout the story, along with an array of other characters from the King of Spain to Bishop Valdespino, the highest ranked clergyman in Spain. I would argue that the artist Antoni Gaudi could be called one of the central characters because it is his architecture and artwork that form the major backdrop to the plot.
Where is it set?
My thoughts on the book:
I found myself both compelled and irritated by this book. On the one hand, I was desperate to know what the announcement was going to be and how it was going to answer the main theme of the book where did we come from and where are we going? But on the other I was irritated by the way the story kept hopping about. I understand the author’s intention to build mini-scenes into mini-cliffhangers, but for me, it was overdone and meant that I couldn’t settle into reading for any length of time before I got annoyed and put it down again. The chapters are very short, and each one focuses on a different part of the action. I don’t want to give too much away, but say we are following Langdon and Ambra and they get into a conversation, just as it gets interesting the chapter ends and we are suddenly with the Bishop. We just about work out what’s going on with him and then chapter ends and we are back with Langdon. I can see why it was done, I just didn’t like it.
The action takes place within about 18 hours, which is similar in format to the previous ones in the series. A lot of action in a very short space of time.
On a positive note, I did enjoy the “science vs religion” argument which is the major theme of the book. I was fascinated to see how it would work out in a work of fiction, and though it was plausible, I am not convinced of Kirsch’s assertion of where we come from and where we are going to. I would like my own Winston too….!
Will I read the next in the series?
I don’t know. I wasn’t as blown away with this one as I was with the “Da Vinci Code”, which is the first in this series, and I think if there is a next one it had better be a bit more convincing than this one and a bit more in it than just switching focus of characters to keep it interesting.
Would I recommend it to my friends?
I would – it is a nice read with comfortable characters, and there are some searching questions asked that will make you think too.