My Review of “Inferno” by Dan Brown

Unusual Villains and Moral Dilemmas

Dan Brown never fails to weave a suspenseful story. I bought this book, knowing I’d learn something about history, geography, or art, and I certainly did. However, there is a point at which the author’s research gets in the way of the story. I skipped and scanned through many detailed descriptions which had little to do with the plot.

I enjoyed the improbable twists and turns as Robert Langdon believes he must stop a worldwide outbreak of the plague. However, I felt hit over the head with the theme. The author apparently believes that overpopulation will be the world’s undoing. Message received.

Here’s an odd point (spoiler alert) . . . in the end, there are no bad guys; just well-meaning people disagreeing about how to handle the problem. The only possible villain is the Provost, the head of a profitable organization which tried to remain nonjudgmental on all issues. He, too, joined forces with the good guys to stop the virus, but in the end, got arrested. Apparently, the author made the Provost more culpable because he had made money; whereas, another more involved person in the threat was treated like a hero.

The author’s “bad guys” are money-making organizations, church policies, human reproduction, slow moving governments who apply only Band-aids to the problem, and “those who maintain neutrality in the time of moral crisis.”

For me, the author became too preachy and let personal bias show too much for an entertaining fictional suspense story. As pointed out in the story, the only thing that spreads faster than a virus is fear. Perhaps that is his purpose. He raises interesting questions that a book discussion group can sink their teeth into.

Without plausible story resolutions or workable answers to moral dilemmas, the reader is left unsatisfied . . . but thinking.

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