Inferno is a thriller written by Dan Brown, one of the four novels featuring Harvard Art History professor and famous symbologist Robert Langdon as the main character. It is a well researched novel. The descriptions of the monuments, buildings and various churches or Basilicas in the cities Florence and Venice in Italy and Istanbul in Turkey is so meticulous that the reader feels that he is actually visiting them. It can take us to that level that we will be absorbed in the History itself and begins to wonder how much wisdom is used in their creation.
Inferno (Italian for “Hell”) is the first part of Dante Alighieri‘s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth.
The story begins when Robert Langdon awoke to find himself in a hospital in Florence with apparent bullet wounds on his head and with a condition called retrograde amnesia. He had no idea why he came to Florence and had no recollection of any of the happenings in his life for the previous two days. There in hospital he was attacked but escaped with the help of young doctor, Sienna Brooks with exceptional talents. The mysterious object found in Langdon’s coat pocket, the origin of which he could not explain, was a small projector. It projected the digitally altered image of the painting of La Mappa dell’inferno(Map of the Hell) by the famous Italian painter Sandro Botticelli. With the clues he got from the image, Langdon and Sienna embarked on a chase across the city of Florence. Langdon’s knowledge of the hidden pathways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic façade helped them to escape from the clutches of their unknown pursuers. He deciphered some codes which led him to Dante’s death mask and a few lines from Inferno written at the back of it was pointing to the threat to the world –the black death – Plague.
Bertrand Zobrist a highly talented genetic engineer and transhumanist, who had followers worldwide- very powerful and wealthy and thinkers- believed that human species is on the brink of extinction because of over population. According to his theory and mathematical calculations, the only way to prevent the extinction of human race is to kill half of the world population by creating genetically engineered Plague. Under the cover provided by the secret private organization “ Consortium ‘ headed by a man known as Provost, he developed some virus and kept it at some secret place to infect the humans before plunging to his death. The SRS team of WHO(World Health Organization) could not catch him. The only way to unearth his secret is to decipher the sequence of codes left by Bertrand Zobrist-a crazy for symbolism- a few lines from Inferno by Dante, his favourite poet. To save the human race from its imminent havoc WHO and the Consortium joined together and Robert Langdon to help them to find the hidden place of Zobrist’s Plague.
Set against an extraordinary landscape inspired by one of history’s most ominous literary classics, Inferno is Dan Brown’s most compelling and thought provoking novel yet, a breathless race- against – time thriller that will grab you from the first page and not let you go until you close the book.
Reviewed by Ms Valsalakumari M S, PGT(Physics)