Loafer-shod Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is back to solve another mystery in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol ($16). The Dan Brown formula for a successful page-turner is as familiar to readers as the Scooby-Doo standard plot is to little kids. Langdon is recruited to help solve a crime shrouded in ancient myth and lore. He uses his unique intellectual arsenal to battle a demented, self-flagellating mastermind, with the help of an older, but still very attractive female academician and there's a big revelation at the end. This novel is set in Washington, D.C. and explores the true meaning and significance of The Ancient Mysteries, as interpreted by the Freemasons. Still, Langdon is a likable character and Brown's narrative style of leap frogging by chapters from the hero to the baddie does keep you on your toes. The Lost Symbol may not be an Earth-shattering work of fiction but it is a fun read to curl up with on chilly nights.
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