Synopsis of "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown

by Micah McDunnigan

"The Lost Symbol" is a novel by Dan Brown which continues the adventures of the Harvard professor Robert Langdon, a specialist in art history and the study of symbols. The story is a modern incarnation of the classic treasure hunt with the suspenseful deadlines and historical factoids that mark Brown's other stories.

Exposition

"The Lost Symbol" begins with Robert Langdon flying to Washington D.C. to give a speech at the United States Capitol at the bequest of his long time friend, the wealthy philanthropist Peter Solomon. However, after he touches down in D.C. he discovers that the invitation did not actually come from Solomon, but rather the man who kidnapped Solomon and left Solomon's severed right hand in the Capitol rotunda. The kidnapper charges Langdon to use his knowledge to find the Mason's Pyramid, the rumored subterranean Freemason complex, in order to get Solomon back alive.

The Threat

Shortly after the kidnapper, who arranged Langdon's entire trip to D.C., contacts Langdon, the Harvard professor is met by the CIA. These officials tell him that Solomon's kidnapping is not a simple matter of recovering the philanthropist, but part of a greater threat to the United States. These officials require Langdon to cooperate with the CIA for the sake of national security. Langdon, who is more concerned with finding his friend than governmental politics, escapes with the help of a freemason and sets out to find the Mason's Pyramid and save his friend.

Mal'akh's Motivation

Solomon's kidnapper turns out to be a mysterious individual who calls himself Mal'akh. He is a man with tattoos covering almost all of his body, and a great fortune at his disposal. Mal'akh used this fortune to infiltrate the most politically influential circles in D.C. while wearing a number of disguises and arrange for Solomon's kidnapping. While his motivations for taking Solomon and finding the Mason's Pyramid are not clear, the man repeats that he will be completing a personal metamorphosis when he reaches the pyramid.

The Lost Symbol

As the story progresses, Langdon learns more and more of the situation in which he finds himself embroiled. He learns the nature of the threat to national security, a video whose contents could destabilize the government, and Mal'akh's mysterious past and present identity are gradually revealed to show a very personal connection to the Solomon family. The Harvard professor has to use all his wits to try and evade capture by both the CIA and Mal'akh, all while trying to balance both the life of his friend and the security of the United States.

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