‘Origin’ by Dan Brown

IMG_20180622_064128432Nothing is invented, for its written in nature first.

Originality consists of returning to the Origin.

By Anthoni Gaudi

Origin is the fifth and latest thriller involving Robert Langdon, the Harvard University professor of Symbology and religious iconology. and a famous art historian. He arrived at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao in Spain to attend an event hosted by his friend and former student , Edmond Kirsch, a forty year old computer wizard and tech magnate,  specialized in game theory and computer modelling. A well known atheist and one of the wealthiest men on earth, his predictions have made him one of the most controversial figure around the world. That evening Kirsch was going to announce a scientific discovery which will shake the very foundation of religions as he claimed , in the presence of a few hundreds of  selected guests. Langdon one among them which  also live streamed to the world.

Before  the programme the guests were given a guided tour in the Guggenheim museum which houses modern art work and installations. Langdon learnt that his British accented docent, Winston, guiding him through the special two way head set ,was actually not human but synthetic intelligence devised by  Edmond Kirsch himself. Even though Langdon had a dislike for the modern art , he enjoyed his tour in the museum as each artefact was well documented to him by Winston. At the end Winston guided him to meet Kirsch who informed him that the presentation is about unveiling of two universal mysteries ,’where do we come from? and Where are we going?’ that is human creation and human destiny. Science and religion , from time immemorial is trying to find the answer to these questions.  Kirsch made a scientific breakthrough which answers the age old mysteries , but will have serious repercussions on religion. Considering Langdon’s earlier advice to consult religious leaders before going public on predictions involving faith and religion ,he had a meeting with religious leaders representing three major religions, Bishop Antonio Valdespino, a deeply conservative and powerful figure in Spanish Catholic church and confidante of King of Spain, Allamah -al- Fadl, a scholar of Islam and Rabbi Yehuda Koves a prominent Jewish philosopher. He had presented before them his discovery which challenges the existence of God. Kirsch now feared for his life as Bishop Valdespino was against going him public with his discovery and had sent him a warning message.

The meticulously choreographed event went berserk before the discovery being announced with the brutal assassination of the futurist Edmond Kirsch in front of the whole world, watching the presentation.  Langdon embarked on a mission to unveil his friend’s discovery along with Ms. Ambra Vidal , the Guggenheim museum director, with whom Kirsch had planned the evening’s  proceedings. Ambra Vidal is the future queen of Spain as she is the fiancée of Prince Julian , the heir to the throne of the ailing king of Spain. Together they fled to Barcelona assisted by Winston on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password by which Kirsch’s discovery can be revealed to the world. The paranoid computer wizard had told Ambra that the password is of 47 letters long and it is his favourite line of poetry which he never forget. Apparently by some people did not want the discovery come to light , Langdon and Ambra had to fight an enemy one step ahead of them at every turn. With Langdon’s knowledge of History, Art and symbols and Winston’s help succeeded  to fulfil Kirsch’s wish. Who was behind Kirsch’s murder? and Why? What is Kirsch’s scientific discovery? To find out answers to these questions read ‘Origin’.

All Dan Brown novels are well researched and give the connection between Science , Art and History.  ‘Origin’ is also no exception and the fight among Science and Religion is also prevalent. Not only the potency of artificial intelligence but its ruthlessness is also important in the matters of  decision making. I doubt that ,if we visit those places , monuments and Cathedrals, for example, The Sagrada familia, can we find this much finer details as given in the book? Even though the suspense factor is not as gripping as in Da Vinci Code or other Dan Brown novels, it is one of a kind. The perfect combination of Science , History and fiction makes this book a must read for everybody.

Reviewed by Valsalakumari M S, PGT(Physics)


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