Genre(s) | Thriller, Mystery, Adventure
Goodreads Rating | 3.96
Humpo Show Rating | 4.0
Published | 2017
Publisher | Bantam Press
Another fascinating adventure-mystery from the master of the thriller, Dan Brown. His most famous creation, Robert Langdon, a Harvard Professor of Symbology and Religious Iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend an announcement that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence and consign all religious existence and destiny stories as works of fiction. However, this announcement is thrown into chaos and with the secret pertaining to “where we come from” and “where we are going” teetering of being lost, Langdon vows to reveal the secret, and along with the beautiful museum director Ambra Vidal, they scurry across Bilbao and Barcelona decrypting clues that lead them to unveil the discovery and truth that will change the lives of billions of people.
Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire futurist who has become known as a modern Nostradamus for correcting predicting future events, as well as creating dazzling high-tech inventions that outstrip anything NASA, CERN or Google have come up with, has produced a presentation where he intends to unveil a scientific discovery that will shock the world. But before the tech maverick’s, a la Steve Jobs, meticulously orchestrated presentation is completed, Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Langdon and Vidal, discover that there is a way to display the presentation, but with this knowledge they find themselves in imminent danger. Together they flee to Barcelona on a thrilling quest to unearth Kirsch’s cryptic password that will unlock his presentation that the world waits for with bated breath.
On a trail marked by modern art and puzzling symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s existential discovery… and the breathtaking truth that has eluded humanity. Although the reveal came across as more of a TED Talk, the “Where we come from” unveiling was not anticlimactic, but it wasn’t an earth shattering reveal either. However, it served to set Kirsch up for the stronger of the two announcements. The “Where are we going” reveal was both realistic and possible, and it bared all the hallmarks of his life’s work while has been so antagonistic towards the world’s religions.
The standard formula is used again: a debate about the validity of religions, a beautiful female companion, the Mickey Mouse watch, Langdon’s claustrophobia, an individual acting in defence of a personal cause, and of course, Langdon acting as a guide across historic cities and the art and architecture that they possess. The critics and literary snobs can copy and paste the same review for every other novel Dan Brown book if they wish, they can reel out the same explanations of “cliche writing”, “not historically accurate”, or “the plot is not good enough”, but for many, Brown’s thrill-a-minute novels captivate them far more than a literary classic. My thoughts in regard to Brown’s critics can be found in my Review-Defence of The Da Vinci Code.
Brown has produced another book to ruffle the feathers of every religion, and although the focus is more on modern art rather than the Da Vincis and Raphaels that Brown’s readers have become accustomed with, the deciphering of clues and codes in regard to them is just as interesting. Origin is a book like his others in that he has ignited a passion in me to visit the cities that Langdon gives a brilliant tour of, this time it is the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum that has entered the list, along with Barcelona, famous for Sagrada Familia. The earth-shattering discovery is not as tangible as I was expecting, but it was something believable and relatable to the storyline that had preceded it.
The Humpo Show | Richard