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    This is the sixth and latest novel written by Dan Brown, although he does have a new one coming out in September of this year, 2017. It is another starring the famous Professor Robert Langdon, expert in symbology. And, though I really liked The Lost Symbol, I was beginning to grow weary of symbols, ad nauseum.
    But Inferno takes a twist in a different direction, and in many ways is more similar to Deception Point, my favorite Brown novel. It is dealing with a global issue, rather than a more isolated religious one, and symbols play a less important role.
    But it wouldn't be Dan Brown without a good helping of history lessons—in art, architecture, and, in this case, Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet known best for his Divine Comedy, who lived from 1265 to 1321. He was born in Florence, a most beloved city for him, and was banished for life, for political reasons. In addition, he was hopelessly in love with a woman named Beatrice, whom he barely knew, but fell in "love at first sight." Beatrice married another, and died very young. So therefore, Dante suffered a lifetime loss of the two things in life he loved most: Florence and Beatrice.
    The Divine Comedy is not a humorous poem—comedy in that era meant that it was written in the vernacular, or regular Italian language. In fact it was a milestone in that area. According to Wikipedia,

Dante called the poem "Comedy" (the adjective "Divine" was added later in the 16th century) because poems in the ancient world were classified as High ("Tragedy") or Low ("Comedy"). Low poems had happy endings and were written in everyday language, whereas High poems treated more serious matters and were written in an elevated style. Dante was one of the first in the Middle Ages to write of a serious subject, the Redemption of humanity, in the low and "vulgar" Italian language and not the Latin one might expect for such a serious topic.

    Having supplied that bit of background, let me state that Dante and his poem are a background to which is set the main theme, and that is overpopulation. This novel is really quite different from Brown's other five, in that it does not deal with a psychotic deranged killer, but we really don't understand that until the end. As always, I am reluctant to even write much about the plot in Brown's books, because there are so many surprises, and twists and turns and mistaken identities, that one must not give them away. However, the one constant in the story is The Consortium, who are bad guys from the start and end as bad guys.
    But let me tell just a bit about the storyline: The Consortium is a private company whose owner/director lives on a sort of yacht called The Mendacium. He simply goes by the title of the provost. This company provides a valuable service to their clients—they lie for a living and create whatever front that person or group of persons need to fulfill their plans. Normally Brown outright names the organization of which he is speaking, but this time he did not. I suspect he called it The Consortium because in actuality, there are a number of these agencies around the world doing their evil bidding for a hefty price. They create false identities, false situation, fake news, and so on to feed the public in order to satisfy their clients. In the story, and no doubt in real life, the provost asks no questions as to the motives of their clients, but simply create a supportive situation according to the client's requirements. Here, the man who is their client, asks to become invisible to the world so he may do his work in private. He is Bertrand Zobrist, the wealthy and renowned biochemist, Transhumanist, and proponent of the Population Apocalypse Equation. The provost assumes he is working on a project that he doesn't want leaked to the public or other scientists until it is finished. In particular, there is a devil with silver hair who is out to get him. Little does the provost know that he has become involved in a situation that could lead to his own downfall.
    Meanwhile, our hero Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital, having lost two days of his memory. He is shocked that he is in Florence, Italy, has no idea how he got there, or why he is there. He learns from Dr. Sienna Brooks that he has been shot in the head and is suffering from temporary amnesia. He soon learns that someone is trying to kill him, and in addition, there is a problem he must solve. A person who is a huge admirer of Dante, has used his "Inferno," from The Divine Comedy, to provide clues and it is a matter of life and death that they discover their meaning.
    As it turns out, the silver-haired lady from whom the provost is protecting his client, is Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey, who heads WHO, the World Health Organization. Langdon has been seeing her in his dreams since he was shot and discovers that it is she who brought him to Florence.
    But, as I said above, the purpose of The Consortium is to stage a reality which appears in all respects to be an actual situation, and as the story unravels, our blurred perceptions are cleared. And that is all I will say, because to say more would give away the surprises.
    To conclude, here are some quotes from the book to inspire you to read. The first one is Zobrist speaking with Sinskey:

"I have enlightened you about the fact that we are on the brink of a spiritual collapse." He paused and turned directly toward her."And your response? Free condoms in Africa." The man gave a derisive sneer. "This is like swinging a flyswatter at an incoming asteroid. The time bomb is no longer ticking. It has already gone off, and without drastic measures, exponential mathematics will become your new God . . . and 'He' is a vengeful God. He will bring you visions of Dante's hell right outside on Park Avenue . . . huddled masses wallowing in their own excrement. A global culling orchestrated by Nature herself."

    No story about a subject so dire could be complete without mentioning the most severe and potentially fatal mental condition that affects the majority of the population. That condition is called "denial." Here Sienna and Robert are discussing the fact that people refuse to face these truths, so how can we even begin to deal with them.

Langdon recalled a recent Web-tracking study at some Ivy League universities which revealed that even highly intellectual users displayed an instinctual tendency toward denial. According to the study, the vast majority of university students, after clicking on a depressing news article about arctic ice melt or species extinction, would quickly exit that page in favor of something trivial that purged their minds of fear; favorite choices included sports highlights, funny cat videos and celebrity gossip.

    I also want to say a little more about The Consortium. No one yet has been able to figure out what real organization Brown had in mind, or if it is perhaps a conglomeration of numerous ones that do the same thing, but please understand that these are the people whose clients are governments and other people in power, who need fake reasons to start a war, for instance. The people who run these organizations are "paid to lie," and create false scenarios that can be broadcast to the public to sway an opinion. False Flags. Fake News. Yep, people get paid big, big bucks to create global lies.
    You may find more quotes and information in my companion article, Thoughts Like Cancers Spreading. I highly recommend you read both this novel and my article. To end, here is a closing quote, by Dante Alighieri.

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain neutrality in times of moral crisis.

Sandro Botticelli's Map of Hell

    This is the Map of Hell by Sandro Botticelli, based on Dante's Inferno, which is used in the novel. It is astounding that the ignorant masses actually believed it was real, and the Catholic Church enjoyed an upsurge in attendance at the time.

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