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Through Inferno and the Gates of Hell

Posted by on 11. June 2013

I’ve read all of Dan Brown’s work from Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol, Digital Fortress and Deception Point.  I’ve had the Inferno book the first day it was released but ended up taking time to read the full book.  Anyway, here’s what I have to say about “Inferno” and yes, this is a spoiler-filled post so if you haven’t read the book, this is your exit point but do revisit once you’re done.  

Inferno is another Robert Langdon story and follows the similar decode the symbols with a female member of her entourage, an unexpected twist going to a surprise ending and of course, a controversial topic that becomes the centerpiece of the story.  (e.g Da Vinci had the lineage of Jesus, Angels and Demons had the ascension to the Papal seat, Lost Symbols had the story of the Masons).

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintains their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

Opening Scene

Robert Langdon awakes from a hospital in Florence without any memory of what happened the last 36 hours because of the wound in his head and is immediately hunted down by his alleged killer.  He escapes through the help of one of the Doctors, Sienna Brooks.  His only known memory of that a silver haired woman saying seek and find which is the starting point of the adventure.  Also, it appears that US government is also against Langdon and is hunted down by the government too.

The Chase

This becomes a hurdle as they piece the puzzle starting with a projection of the Map of Hell inspired from “Dante’s Inferno”  which leads to the next clue, the letters in the image forms Cerca Trova (seek and you shall find) which was in the murals of an artist named Vasari and another clue which is, “the truth can only be glanced through the eyes of death.”  The eyes of death pertained to the death mask of Dante but when they were trying to retrieve the mask it was stolen and the culprit was Langdon himself who gave it to Ignazio Busoni, a renowned figure in Florentine Art, before he lost his memory.  Ignazio was able to safeguard the location before dying from a heart attack with a clue Paradise 25, which meant the clue was found in the text in the book Paradise Canto XXV.  The next clue is about Dante returning to the baptismal font.  This is where they found the mask that gave the last clue which leads to a Lagoon in Turkey.

Shaking things up

It turns up the whole chase was set up by a consortium so Robert Langdon would work in finding the clues and Sienna was guiding her.  The government agents was there to secure him and resume his mission with the World Health Organization.  The silver haired woman in her vision was Elizabeth Sinskey, the head of World Health Organiztion, who was at odds with Bertrand Zobrist over the latter’s means of population control. Zobrist wants to unleash the virus that would solve the population problem which if left unchecked would lead to the world being an actual inferno because of overpopulation and diminished resources.  Zobrist was also the lover of Sienna and though Zobrist committed suicide before the virus would be unleashed, it’s Sienna who’s bound to continue his mission.

Gates of Hell

Manila being referred to as a gates of hell came through the memory of Sienna, where she did missionary works in the Manila and got overwhelmed as there was unlimited number of poor people to feed.  She was almost raped by bystanders but was saved by an old woman with her knife.  There maybe places wherein poverty is overwhelming and cases like this happens.  It may have been literally magnified but I’d leave it at that, the book is fiction and Dan Brown just loves controversy so I’m sure he didn’t mind a lot of people in uproar over his book.

The Finale

Now with the World Health Organization, Robert Langdon raced to Turkey to find the virus before it would be unleashed.  Sienna also makes her way to the Turkey and when they visit the lake there was no more case or evidence of the virus.  It was unleashed several days ago and has already spread worldwide with a musical festival hosted in the said venue.

The Final Twist

The virus was not a virus that would kill people but it would render 1/3 of the world to be infertile thus reducing the fast rise of population before the world turns chaotic because of over population.  Siena was also there trying to stop the virus but was also too late and she is now a valuable resource as they deal with the effects of virus.  Zobrist also just wanted to have dialogues on the population problem which eventually led him to create the virus.

The Centerpiece

The Centerpiece of the inferno was the acceleration of population and it’s long term impact of these trends to the environment and to the world.   There may be some truths on the simple principle that we have limited resources and the population growth has accelerated rapidly and of course, this leads to a lot of debate but this is the focal point on how to see the ending of the story, whether it was a solution to the problem or a problem in itself.

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