The New York Times’ Janet Maslin has posted a glowing review of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which goes on sale Tuesday. “Too many popular authors (Thomas Harris) have followed huge hits (The Silence of the Lambs) with terrible embarrassments (Hannibal),” writes Maslin. “Mr. Brown hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s bringing sexy back a genre that had been left for dead.” According to Maslin, the new book is replete with plot tricks and twists, codes, secrets, and explorations into ancient philosophies and the occult.
SPOILER ALERT! Maslin says that Brown’s hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, has been lured to Washington, D.C., to give a speech on behalf of his old mentor Peter Solomon at the Capitol—only to find Solomon’s severed hand atop the Capitol Crypt. The mystery/treasure hunt that ensues does, as has been rumored, prominently feature the Freemasons. Only they do not occupy the villain role that Opus Dei played in The Da Vinci Code. According to Maslin, the villain this time out is a sinister psycho named Mal’akh.
Observant types will remember that back in 2003 Maslin also had the first review of The Da Vinci Code — and it was a rave as well. “Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops,” she wrote. Brown later admitted that “people called and said, ‘Is Janet Maslin your mother, because she never says stuff like that?’”