Following on the colossal commercial success of "The Da Vinci Code," the writer Dan Brown came out with "The Lost Symbol" in 2009. Like Brown's earlier book, "The Lost Symbol" is a mystery in which the academic Robert Langdon becomes involved. Whereas "The Da Vinci Code" focused on Christianity and the search for the Holy Grail, "The Lost Symbol" concerns the cult of the Masons.
The basic storyline deals with Langdon's search for a Masonic pyramid, which holds the power of transformation, while dealing with opponents. Upon arriving to make a speech at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of a friend, Landgon finds that the invitation was actually somebody's ruse to get him to the site. He finds a severed hand that points him in the direction of Masonic rites and begins his quest for the Masonic pyramid. Katherine Solomon, a scientist, is also involved in Langdon's quest.
The Freemasons and their rites form the basis of "The Lost Symbol." Considering that Langdon is a "symbologist," a specialist in symbols and their meanings, he uses his knowledge to penetrate the obscure world of the Freemasons and understand their rituals. The severed hand that Langdon encounters at the Capitol building, for instance, represents the Masons' "Hand of the Mysteries." Peter Solomon, Langdon's mentor, is a Mason. The book also describes the Masons' rites for initiating newcomers to the society.
In addition to Langdon, the book also features Katherine Solomon, the sister of Peter Solomon, and the female protagonist. As a scientist who specializes in the study of the yet-to-be-tapped potential of the human mind, she is a good companion for Langdon's quest. There is also the villain of the piece, Mal'akh, Hebrew for "angel." This villain, a tattooed eunuch, is also engaged in the search for the Masonic pyramid.
In contract to the overseas action in "The Da Vinci Code," this book is set in Washington, D.C., tapping into its Freemason lore. As the protagonists go about their quest for the Masonic pyramid, Brown also goes into some of the city's Freemason connections. For instance, George Washington, a Mason, laid the foundation for the Capitol building in a Masonic rite. Brown also brings in the architect of the Capitol, Warren Bellamy, another Freemason.
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images