Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno by Dan Brown
ISBN – 0385537859
Publisher – Doubleday
Publishing Date – 1/1/2013
Category – Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Series – Robert Langdon 4

My Rating – 4/5

Dan Brown’s books have become synonymous with exotic cities, rich history, hidden meanings, secret organisations, huge secrets that could devastate the world if exposed and a race-against-the-clock chase to save the world. Just like his other works, Inferno also falls under this formulaic prediction. But there are a few tweaks here and there to change the order of things – Like Langdon losing his memory and an unthinkable of traitor at the end.


Inferno, Dan BrownThe story starts with a deranged man chased by armed men. When they close in and threatens for the information he prays to God to consider his work as a salvation to humankind and commits suicide.

Langdon wakes up in a hospital with no idea how he got to Florence. Soon after an armed woman barges in to kill Langdon. He barely manages to escape the hospital with the help of a Doctor, Sienna Brooks. They hide out in Sienna’s apartment where he finds out a Faraday pointer concealed within his coat. Faraday pointer is a device which emits light and images when agitated. The device produces a vivid Botticelli painting  that had been altered. The clues start here and its a chase through the exotic cities of Florence, Venice and Istanbul. Inferno takes us through these cities, their famous museums.

Dante's Inferno
A small vision of Dante’s Hell

The repetitive theme of the clues is of Dante Alighieri(, an Italian poet of the middle ages. He famous work is the Divine Comedy which is the poet’s imaginative vision of afterlife, heaven and hell. To reach heaven a soul has to go through various levels in hell in accord with the sins committed by them in earth. After passing through the inferno of hell the soul is deemed worthy to climb the mountain of purgatory to reach heaven.

The antagonist is a Dante fanatic, brilliant geneticist and a proponent of Population Apocalypse equation. The population apocalypse equation predicts the collapse of mankind due to overpopulation. The current population is 3X times the sustainable population on earth. The equation also predicts that humankind will not survive the next century if left unchecked. So the extreme scientist designs a virus that threats the very extinction of the human race.

During the Middle Ages a deadly plague or The Black Death caused by a bacterium killed almost 30 – 60% of the total population. Before the plague Europe was swamped with famine, overpopulation and economic hardships. The reduced population after the plague is said to boosted long-term socio- economic benefits and even is said to be the primary catalyst for the birth of Renaissance.

 He believes that the best thing that ever happened to Europe was the Black Death. In similar ways, the antagonist wants to thin the human race and make them repent for their sins to bring a modern-day renaissance. Langdon and Sienna Brooks must race against time to figure out the clues to find the ground zero location of the from where the plague will be released.

Does Langdon reaches in time to contain the spread of virus and save humanity? Read the book to find out.

What does population and a second century Italian poet have in common?

The author has researched a vast materials and it shows throughout the book. He takes us through Dante’s life in second century, various cities, their histories and with interesting tit bits scattered throughout the book.

The author presents each city and museum in vivid detail but after a few times it becomes tedious that you feel an itch to google the related images. Dan Brown’s books are generally fast enough – But the protagonist feels compelled to stop at every Botticelli painting, Michelangelo sculpture and run down its history and details. Mankind may be annihilated and two governments are chasing him with an intent to kill and his lethargic pace makes you want to shout, ‘Run along, will ya?’

The book ends in an interesting way. A huge change in the mindset and its acceptance.

So, What does population and a second century Italian poet have in common? Well, They have Dan Brown’s Inferno 🙂

Dante refers to sins and their payment in hell. Humans pays for all the sins committed in his life. Changing the order of nature is against ethics and every human could be condemned for that sin. We live in a world where water, air and food are depleted and poisoned. The required resources are skyrocketing and our earth is already teetering on an edge to provide the humans. We have a hell to pay in the coming years.

Controlled Genocide may evoke shocks and gasps across societies now. But if this unprecedented rate and unchecked growth continues ‘Controlled Genocide’ may become an accepted norm among world leaders in the future. A sin to cover another sin. Something to think of isn’t it?

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