Futurist and atheist Edmond Kirsch has made a revolutionary discovery he is certain will answer life’s greatest mystery and will bring an end to the belief in the existence of God. He meets with three religious leaders, Roman Catholic Bishop Antonio Valdespino, Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Köves, and Islamic Imam Syed al-Fadl and informs them about his discovery and his plans to make it public. They are not pleased and persuade Kirsch not to go public, but 3 days later, he does.
The public reveal is at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and live-streamed to the rest of the world. Among his guests is Robert Langdon-his former teacher and the future queen of Spain- Ambra Vidal. During the presentation and just before revealing his discovery, Kirsch is murdered. A manhunt for the killer ensues while Robert and Ambra team up to unravel Kirsch’s discovery and share it with the world.
“Where did we come from?”
“Where are we going?”
Reading an hour a day, this book took me about 2 weeks. The book is typical of the Langdon series with historical locations, codes and symbols, science, architecture and art.
I like that every Dan Brown book leaves you thinking outside the box. Like Da Vinci Code where Dan Brown suggested that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married with a child, this book is one that will compel you to question what you thought you already knew about your faith, only this time, Brown didn’t just come for Christians, this book attacked everyone who believes in the divine and supernatural.
Next, all the places cited in this book are real and I think Barcelona must be really beautiful. It is rich with culture, historical art and architecture, I hope I get a chance to visit Spain. And finally, I’m still looking for the hidden symbol in the FedEx logo. Robert Langdon suggests there is one!
However, Brown often went off, giving too much historical detail on places in Barcelona. From Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Casa Milà, Sagrada Família to the Valley of the Fallen. He spent a lot of time describing these architectural edifices even though it’s impossible for anyone to imagine what these buildings look like. I couldn’t and had to constantly refer to Google.
Finally, there was no real emotional connection with any of the characters for me, (perhaps I’ve lost interest in Robert Langdon because I know he’ll survive). Half the time, I was just trying to solve the murder, with everyone becoming a suspect in my head. The only thing that kept me going was curiosity about Edmond Kirsch discovery and why he was killed for it.
Summarily, this is probably my last book of the year. It wasn’t a hard book to put down and to be honest, I am quite glad to be done with it. Regardless, I think it will make a great movie, especially because the architectural scenes will be easier to appreciate and technological advancement better expressed. It is an enlightening book if you are big on historical facts and religious and scientific arguments.
Some of my favourite quotes in this book are:
- “Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of God…especially when their gods became threatened.”
- “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
- “To permit ignorance is to empower it.”
- “Love is not a finite emotion. We don’t have only so much to share. Our hearts create love as we need it”
- “Love is a private thing. The world does not need to know.”
- “Remember death. Even for those who wield great power, life is brief. There is only one way to triumph over death, and that is by making our lives masterpieces. We must seize every opportunity to show kindness and to love fully.”
- “May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.”
If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear from you.
If you haven’t, get it here: Origin by Dan Brown
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