In my quest to find a travel book, I chanced upon Dan Brown’s newest fiction endevour, ‘Origin’, starring my favorite protagonist, Robert Langdon. Based in Spain, the disclaimer on page 5 of the book, left no doubt in my mind that I had to buy this. “All Art, Architecture, locations, science, and religious organizations in this novel are real.” What better way, to learn about Europe, its incredibly vast treasure of art and built art, it’s famed cities and royal clans, as well as the infamous religious clouts and practices, than to combine it with a gripping thriller of a story, which you just can’t put down!
Whenever you see a Dan Brown book, it is replete with intricate symbols, architecture and art references, a treasure map, and the excitement of your childhood rushes back to you. Who doesn’t enjoy a modern day tale of a young character fashioned as Indiana Jones, on a mission to save the world whilst discovering a multi million dollar treasure! A race against time, every book of his compels the reader to step into the shoes of the main character and live his exciting journey at the same pace. Most of his books are based on the events of one day and he takes the reader back and forth to what happened before this to lead the protagonist to where he is today. The constant swinging drives you wild and makes you want to applause and try to read faster to arrive at the end.
‘Origin’ is the story of a super rich, super brilliant scientist, portrayed much like our real life Iron Man, Mr. Elon Musk, on the verge of a life changing discovery. The man has a flair for the dramatic, and choses to reveal his life’s work, a mega revelation about man’s two most primary questions, 1. ‘Where do we come from?’ 2. ‘Where are we going?’ in the most spectacular way possible in Spain. Owing to the size of the epiphany causing discovery, a lot of factors are involved in the event namely the royal family of Spain and ofcourse, wherever there is Science involved, so is the Church! The book is based on the adventures leading up to the day of the announcement, and what happens thereafter. Owing to Mr. Robert Langdon decorated portfolio of being a professor of symbology and religious iconology, expert in deciphering intensive ancient codes and imagery and experienced in dealing with many cult groups such as the Illuminati etc., he is obviously called upon to witness the declaration of the truth of where humans come from and where they are going by the man himself, and thus he finds himself in the thick of things when the controversy stirring proclamation about mankind’s ‘Origin’ and his future is about to be disclosed.
‘Origin’ is a classic example of Dan Brown’s writing, engaging, adventurous and highly researched! Every architecture reference paints a word picture, so detailed and so mesmeresing, that for a moment you find yourself in the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao or the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Even for the uninitiated, reading ‘Origin’ will take you right into the debate which Mr. Brown fights for from both sides in each of his publications: Science or Religion? The way he has woven art, imagery, sculptures, symbols, languages, architecture, locations, famous quotes, in his book, it feels like you are reading several literatures at once. However, it doesn’t sound unnecessary or too hard to digest, as all this information is imperative to the story and leads you deeper and deeper into the plot instead of straying one far away from it.
The book tries to answer questions, and pose new ones which is the best part about it. The ability to stay with a reader after the last page is read, the ability to make him ask questions and to make him think and rationalise is what sets Mr. Brown apart from other fiction writers. Instead of making fiction, fictional, he introduces reality and reason and logic and rationale in his writing, so much so that it becomes hard to tell apart, what is real and what is make believe. So well researched and so interestingly conveyed, this information doesn’t become preachy or drab, but encourages the reader to lap it up and learn something new while indulging in a engrossing account of a fictional hero. In the course of the book, you want to hug Robert, you want to slap him, you feel like taking his side and discarding him, to stand by him and also to totally reject the ideas he puts forth.
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?”
“Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” -Nietzche
This is my favourite quote from the book and in many ways the entire piece of writing seems to be stemming from this very idea. God was an idea proposed by Man, and now that very idea threatens to destroy us.
What each one takes away from this book differs in magnitude, as it is so variably crafted. But, there is one thing the writer succeeds wholly in, making the reader want more. Breathlessly waiting for the end, ‘Origin’ is a fast paced thriller with a lot of elements, that you just shouldn’t miss. Read it for it’s beautifully worded illustrations, for the ease in which Mr. Brown relates a story, for the magnificient ideas and concepts put forth and most importantly for the thought that he plants in your brain, you will be left speechless!
I recommend it – 4.5/5