Bishop Manuel Aringarosa had packed a small travel bag and dressed in a black cassock. Normally, he would have wrapped a purple cincture around his waist, but tonight he would be traveling among the public, and he preferred not to draw attention to his high office by wearing a belt with his dress. Only those with a keen eye for gaudy jewelry would notice his 14-carat gold bishop’s ring with purple amethyst, large diamonds and hand-tooled mitre-crozier appliqué unless conveniently blinded by the bling.

That’s a nice ring, Aringarosa. Actually, that name has a nice ring: “Aringarosa”. So far, my favourite scene has been when Subtle Silas, the subtly-written villain (which originally meant villager, thanks Dan), yes, when Silas realises he’s killed all the clues and is going to have to… ring Aringarosa with the bad news. I think I’m going to sneeze. Or maybe just fall down, with blood pouring from my ears.

So, I’m now up to, erm. To be honest I don’t really know how to describe my progress. Brown seems to be writing “Chapter” next to all the page numbers. So I guess I’ve just finished Chapter 167 and the story is falling into place. And by place, I mean, ah, literally the space between these covers. And by story, I mean…

I don’t know what I mean any more. Dan Brown clearly felt that the classic Movie Serials of Cinema’s Golden Age didn’t go far enough when it came to cliffhangers, or as some might call them, paragraphs. His chahahaharacters keep discovering things, either saying “This is the most amazing/shocking/relevant discovery of the age/day/minute”, or being described as experiencing the same with wide eyes/mouths/anuses, only for ME to be denied inclusion in this vital news while he instead derails onto some other character for a five minute snippet of backstory while they take a third step towards the bedroom door in real-time. What is this, Lost? Only shallow? –er?

If this cliffhanging happened occasionally, in the “and then a figure emerged from the shadows, oh no” vain, that would be fine. I would presumably want to know, who is this mysterious shadow dweller, is that a gun or penis in his hand, etc. But Brown does this for discovered clues as well.

When Langdon sees what is written in the invisible ink, he knows his life will never be the same again. Iiiiit’sssss


I am indeed being reminded more and more of Monty Python, not for the faith baiting perfection of a quest for a Holy Grail so much as the mind-crushing ridiculousness of every single second of this thing.

So, instead of actually giving me the clues in a doomed attempt to trick me into engaging with the mystery, he saves them up and then dumps clue and solution to clue in their own chapter, at the same time, together, so I can’t even try to figure it out. At least that’s how it feels.

Now, I’ll confess that when I’m reading this approximate type of thing (hard to know what to compare this to – certainly not other books) I will read odd character names backwards, just in case the author is going to try and spring some foolishness on me later. What I won’t do is attempt to de-anagramise sentences for fun, although that may well be more fun that reading this fucking turkey. To do so is clearly not rocket science, but when the Anagrams are the titles of (for me) obscure works of art I’m hardly going to stumble across a Madonna On The Rocks (and believe me, I could use a hard drink right now). His ssssstory is hardly in danger of being prevealed. The only thing DB is protecting here is me from entertainment.

I’m going to end on my new current favourite passage:

“This manuscript claims what?” his editor had choked, setting down his wineglass and staring across his half-eaten power lunch/bar. “You can’t be serious.”

“Serious enough to have spent a year researching it.” says Dan/Robert. Ooo. A Year.

Prominent New York editor Jonas Faulkman tugged nervously at his goatee I’m assuming “his own”. Faulkman no doubt had heard some wild book ideas in his illustrious career, but this one seemed to have left the Faulkman flabbergasted.

“Robert/Dan,” Faulkman finally said, “don’t get me wrong. skip to the end You’re a Harvard historian, for God’s sake, not a pop schlockmeister looking for a quick buck/book. Please, convince me you’re serious by giving us the backstory of your fucking research, you schitzoid prick.

Wow. Best-selling fiction and autobiography in one.


Part Three