“When you’re on a good thing, stick to it !” The sentence used to be the advertising jingle for the Mortein Fly-Catcher : once stuck on the sticky paper, the critter is there to stay. Dan Brown has stuck to his winning formula since the “Da Vinci Code” : Robert Langdon, the Princeton “symbologist” facing another enigma, the girl (with whom he never falls in love) accompanying him on his palpitating mission to find the cryptic meaning of symbols and codes (it never gets more intimate than that), the tidbits we pick up about history, architecture, science, religion, language and especially symbols (readers will discover – at last ! – the origin of that weird “&”), the frantic pace as our two sleuths keep a step ahead of the nasty types out to murder them rather than allow them to break the code and solve the mystery — it’s all there in “Origin”, which like all the others is a bloody good read. Its theme : an I.T. genius has found the answers to our fundamental metaphysical questions : “Where do we come from ?” and “Where are we going ?” But he is assassinated before he can spill the beans, leaving only coded clues to his answers which are a direct threat to the world’s religions.
Brown reveals a more than passing acquaintance with the arguments for and against belief in God. Readers of this Blog will not only enjoy the novel but find food for serious thought about the age-old science vs religion debate, as well as about the current speculations re the threat many see in the inexorable advances made by and promised for Artificial Intelligence. “Origin” is brain-food, before we all turn into cyborgs and computers like the prototype “Winston” (firstname.lastname@example.org – easy to decode) rule the world.