Are all aspects of "The Lost Symbol" realistic?I love Dan's books (IMHO Digital Fortress is the best of the 5 he's written) and I am not quite yet finished with "The Lost Symbol," but the one...

Are all aspects of "The Lost Symbol" realistic?

I love Dan's books (IMHO Digital Fortress is the best of the 5 he's written) and I am not quite yet finished with "The Lost Symbol," but the one premise in the storyline that has really thrown me off as not really plausible is the manner in which Mal'akh was able to befriend and get in the circles of Peter and Katherine sooooo quickly! Both are highly intelligent people and some of the things are just kind of hard for me to swallow. For example, Katherine believing that her brother has mastered the use of his new iPhone with the text message... I would want to hear my brother's voice! Anyone in possession of a phone can send a text and I can't believe she did not think of that.  Then, I do understand that Mal'akh being 33rd degree would make him privy to 'new' secrets, but did Peter have to start with the most guarded secret?

Is it just me or is there some light shed on this in the end of the book? Did anyone else feel this way as they were reading the novel?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although Dan Brown is a very entertaining writer, I often find aspects of his plotline and characters to be highly unbelievable, and rather convenient for the story that he is trying to tell.

Yes, Mal'akh did "win over" Katherine quite quickly; part of this is that she knew her brother was gone, but didn't know that it was quite an emergency, or what was going on.  So, her level of alarm wasn't as high as ours was, as knowing audience members.  She just wanted to know where he was and that he was okay. All of that being said, I wouldn't go do some strange doctor's house alone at night.  I just wouldn't do it.  It's not professional, it's unsafe, and highly bizarre for a doctor to ask you to do.  She was stupid, in my opinion, to trust her safety to a stranger in his highly isolated house.  Peter having mastered the iPhone is more believable; he is an intelligent human being after all, and new gadgets are fun to mess with.

As far as Mal'akh infiltrating the Masons to the highest level and getting all of their deep, dark secrets, that is once again a convenient tool for Dan Brown to use to intrigue the reader to keep going in the book.  If we think that he--despite his weirdness, total lack of a background, and violent, malicious tendencies--did somehow get "THE" secret, we will be dying to know what it was.  Who cares if it's believable as long as it keeps people going until the end of the book, right?  T.V. does this all of the time--they have that long, dramatic pause..."And the next winner of American Idol be revealed after the next commercial break!"  It's a suspense strategy.

For me, Brown's books are less about believability and more about fantastical adventures in which you have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy.  There is no way you can enjoy his books if you are analyzing every detail for consistency, probability or even realism.  Just let it go, and enjoy the ride--that's how Brown needs to be read.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, agree with the previous posts.  One of the problems Dan Brown has encountered is that critics try to interpret his works of fiction as reality (hence, the controversy with religious groups over The DaVinci Code). I just read his novels as that--fiction--and enjoy them for their elements of suspense and interesting characterization.

My favorite is Angels and Demons although I did enjoy Digital Fortress and The Lost Symbol. In regards to all aspects being realistic, Brown--like most authors--has to rely on suspension of reality and unlikely coincidences to advance his plot.  If I am able to get beyond that with respected authors such as Mary Shelley or Khaled Hosseini, I can certainly give an author like Dan Brown the same reader's courtesy.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, most certainly all aspects of The Lost Symbol  are not realistic. But nor are they meant to be. This is a work of fiction with historical overtones. Based on what we have learned of Dan Brown’s writing, I would say without a doubt that most of the historical facts used in this novel are true and accurate. However, there is no doubt that fiction writers sometimes have to diverge from total truth and realism slightly in order to make up a plot that takes you from Point A of the exposition to Point E of the denouement.

Thanks!!!  makes perfect sense when you put it that way ;-)...

thank goodness this is a REAL discussion board.... all the others that i found seem to be 'bashing' boards.... bashing Dan, bashing other readers for reading 'trash" ... i was appalled...

why is it that the internet makes so many people so very mean?...

sorry <<<blushing>>> i just needed to say that... some boards really puzzle me...

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The Lost Symbol

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