Robert Langdon nee Tom Hanks, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain to attend a major announcement by Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire computer AI scientist. Kirsch promises a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” Kirsh was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard. Of course Kirsh is murdered before he can make the announcement, which no else knew about, which can’t be opened without solving some very involved clues: modern art and odd symbols. Helping Langdon solve the mystery is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch, and is marrying the future king of Spain. Okay. And there is an all knowing AI named Winston helping them. (It’s a shame they don’t have a talking dog too.)
Origin is a typical Dan Brown book where Langdon races around and points out the history of Spain. I enjoy the thrill of the chase, learning intriguing information along the way, while thinking about the intersection of architecture, science, religion, art, and technology
The book felt rushed. Much information was repeated. It is hard to complain about the religious zealotry, it has become a Dan Brown hallmark, but it’s gotten to the point I would rather see Tom Hanks in a comedy satire of Langdon rather than “Origin” become another Dan Brown movie.
Amazon Book Preview of “Origin”
Excerpts from my Kindle
The figure was not, in fact, the Christian God but rather a deity called Urizen—a god conjured from Blake’s own visionary imagination—depicted here measuring the heavens with a huge geometer’s compass, paying homage to the scientific laws of the universe. The piece was so futuristic in style that, centuries later, the renowned physicist and atheist Stephen Hawking had selected it as the jacket art for his book God Created the Integers. In addition, Blake’s timeless demiurge watched over New York City’s Rockefeller Center, where the ancient geometer gazed down from an Art Deco sculpture titled Wisdom, Light, and Sound.
“I call it ‘Prayer for the Future.’ ” Edmond closed his eyes and spoke slowly, with startling assurance. “May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.”
“That’s a common misunderstanding,” Langdon replied. “In fact, Blake was a deeply spiritual man, morally evolved far beyond the dry, small-minded Christianity of eighteenth-century England. He believed that religions came in two flavors—the dark, dogmatic religions that oppressed creative thinking. And the light, expansive religions that encouraged introspection and creativity.”