Full disclosure: At the time, when it was still just some book and not THE DA VINCI CODE, I recommended that mega-selling novel to several people. I read it front to back one rainy Sunday afternoon, and had a fine time. For me it was a pulp thriller, a breakneck-paced, over-the-top tale that layered on the Templars, secret societies and hidden codes that are classic components of any good action tale. It was a novel in the grand tradition of Doc Savage and The Shadow flatly written, out of control, race car pace and set in a larger-than-life world.
The fact that people began to take the historical plot devices from this novel seriously came as quite a surprise. And so, like so many others, The Da Vinci Code phenomenon turned the whole thing sour for me.
Now here comes the much-anticipated sequel, Dan Brown's first new novel in years: The Lost Symbol. I went into it striving to reacquire those pre-phenomenon eyes, to judge the novel just on its own terms. And you know what? It's a pretty terrible book judged on its own. Also, judged by the standard of the surrounding phenomenon, it's still a pretty terrible book.