Inferno: A Novel
Written by: Dan Brown
Narrated by: Paul Michael
Length: 17 hrs and 12 mins
Series: Robert Langdon, Book 4
Release Date: 05-14-13
Publisher: Random House Audio
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost four years since there was a Dan Brown book. In his latest novel, Inferno, Brown uses the protagonist from The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons – the imperturbable symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon. The author uses the same technique for his latest book, Inferno, switching the Bible for Dante. I think this works out quite well. The thing with all Langdon books is that they happen over a very short time period, so you don’t get so many opportunities to get to know the characters better, what they are about and the backstory is lacking.
The audiobook starts with Langdon awaking in a hospital in Italy with a head injury, with no idea what happened and how he got there. Then things start happening. This time-lock narrative formula and outright flat characters place him at a significant disadvantage. However Brown redeems himself with curious facts, believable stories and fast paced action.
While I listened to most of the audiobook during my commute, I really think it would have been best enjoyed in a quieter setting where you can truly feel the deep voice of Paul Michael flow through your earphones right into your brain. To say that Michael did a great job in narrating Inferno is a huge understatement. Switching his role between the protagonist and antagonist, male and female characters, American and French accents, and playing the role of omnipotent guide, Michael helped bring the story to vivid life.
In my opinion formed through discussions with other people who’ve read his works, I think Brown is a love him or hate him kind of author – no middle ground. People seem to be quite vocal about their opinions because of his formula and style. I just like to relax and enjoy the experience. He isn’t the most silver-tongued of writers but I do like how he puts together all of the research and the quick pace he moves you through conflicts.
Overall, a credit-worthy listen. I strongly suggest that you check out his stand-alone books Digital Fortress and Deception Point which are both very good. They don’t rely on the same formula as the Langdon books. In some ways, they are much better done than the Langdon novels. As long as Brown doesn’t use this recipe every year, I will probably buy his next works – this one was quite enjoyable.
Here’s the book trailer for the hardback edition:
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