Readers find ‘Lost Symbol’ in nation’s capital

Jon Turtletaub should be worried because once America gets a hold of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Turtletaub’s film National Treasure (2005) is going to seem the children’s version of Masonic history.

In Lost Symbol, Harvard professor of symbolism Robert Langdon, the main character in Brown’s famous novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, expects to give a talk on Masonic symbols in American history at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. However, things changes as Langdon is pulled into solving a centuries-old Masonic mystery in order to save the life of a close friend and 33rd degree Free Mason, Peter Solomon.

The quest for the Ancient Mysteries, a myth supposedly owned by the Masons, will be revealed to the world at the apocalypse and will reveal how man becomes a god through a process called apotheosis.  Langdon must use his knowledge of the Free Masons to solve this mystery in order to release Solomon from his captor.  With the help of Solomon’s sister Katherine, Langdon runs all over the District in search of the location of the Mysteries so that he might exchange the location for his friend’s life.

The story includes all the typical components of a Dan Brown book: an attractive, intelligent male, a clever female to aid him, elderly clergymen, a missing person, murders, a secret society and a seemingly corrupt government agency. Fortunately for Brown, his typical book is an exhilarating masterpiece.

There are, however, a few variants in the story that set it apart from the other Robert Langdon mysteries. Katherine Solomon, the female partner, is about 50-years-old, a good 20 years older than any other leading lady in Brown’s books.

For readers in the D.C. area, the most interesting part will be the subtleties, mysteries and symbols Brown suggests are embedded in the nearby capital.

Although it appears that the Masons have had a huge influence on American culture, many Masonic aspects of our society are not specific to Free Masons. According to a Sept. 15 National Geographic article, the “all seeing eye” that appears on the U.S. one-dollar-bill (one of the most famous of Masonic symbols) was actually designed and put there by non-mason artist Pierre Du Simitiere.

A refreshing and exhilarating read, Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol is a much needed deviation from the tedium of an everyday schedule that allows its reader to be caught up in the history of this country.