Skip to content

All your life, you’ve tried to be good.

As a child, you were taught kindness and compassion, honesty and trustworthiness. You learned graciousness and generosity, and embraced gratitude.

You’ve always tried to be good for several reasons, mostly because it’s the right thing to do. Also, there’s a place for evil people and you don’t want to go there, but in the new novel “Inferno” by Dan Brown (c.2013, Doubleday, $29.95 / $30 Canada, 465 pages), you may have no choice. Hell may be coming to Earth.

Nothing made sense—then again, nightmares rarely do.

But when Professor Robert Langdon woke up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy, the nightmares weren’t the worst of his problems. Langdon couldn’t remember how or why he’d gotten to Italy in the first place, or how he’d been grazed by a bullet aimed at his head. Though he’d been sedated, there was little time for recovery: moments after he regained consciousness, a spiky-haired woman strode down the hospital’s hall and tried to kill Langdon again. He narrowly escaped with the help of his doctor, quick-thinking Sienna Brooks, who asked Langdon about an object he’d been carrying.

Covered with text and symbols, the object was a cylinder that, once opened, yielded an odd device that became a projector. Although Langdon was an expert on Italian art and literature, Dante in particular, the image from the projector mystified him.

It was a famous painting, an impression of Dante’s “Inferno,” but it had been altered. Dante’s Rings of Hell were out of order, with additions to the painting in strange places. Slowly, Langdon came to understand that the alterations were clues to what the device was and where it had come from … but there was no time to think. Someone wanted him dead, and they’d surely kill Dr. Brooks, too.

OK, first the bad news: “Inferno” is a tad too long.

Author Dan Brown’s two main characters escape and are chased over and over and over again, relentlessly—which is exciting at first, but tiring as this book progresses. “Inferno” also ends rather strangely (but I won’t tell you why, because that would ruin it for you).

Now the good news: Dan Brown has a new book.

And it’s a thriller with chases, intrigue, esoteric clues that require genius-level thinking, international locales, secret passages, and an evil madman. It’s complex and fast-moving. For a couple weeks’ worth of entertainment, what more could you want?

Fans of “The DaVinci Code” will feel right at home with this book in their hands, and espionage lovers will want to dive right in. If that’s you, and you crave a good book, “Inferno” is already one of this summer’s hottest.