Rated 3 stars *** 2013. Soho Press. 282 pp.
Gretchen’s life changes forever when her mother is killed at her 8th grade graduation party. There are no suspects but Gretchen suspects Ariel, her loser arch enemy. In an effort to find out information, she and her best friend Jessica engage in the ancient Plotinus ritual which involves breathing into each other’s mouths to exchange souls. Her mother had been involved in a Secret Society charged with protecting this secret, and they are sure she was murdered because of it. The ritual worked, but their happiness is short lived when they find out Ariel had videotaped them “kissing” for revenge and posted it on YouTube. With their social life in shambles, the girls leave town for two years.
When they return they are more determined than ever to find out who killed Gretchen’s mother and stole the anklet which is supposed to trigger the Plotinus ability. Hiding the secret that they can project without it, they invite Ariel into their inner circle (since Gretchen secretly still suspects her) and begin projecting into each other’s lives. What they find out will leave the town, and their lives, upside down forever.
Green’s premise of being able to project into someone else’s life will be readily accepted by her readers who, I’m sure, have entertained the thought of wishing they could be someone else. Recommended for ages 12-16.
2009. Doubleday. 509 pp.
Once again our hero, Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon, finds himself in a bit of a jam. Lured to Washington D.C. for a speaking gig, he finds himself trapped in a carefully laid plan set by a wily criminal named Mal’akh. This ruthless murderer has kidnapped and tortured Robert’s friend Peter Solomon, and will stop at nothing to reach his goal.
Robert is the only one who can decipher the symbols on an ancient Masonic pyramid which are rumored to show the way to a hidden staircase under a giant stone in Washington. Legend says the answer to a great mystery lies in this hidden place, and Mal’akh plans to claim it as his own. Unless Robert can get him the answers he seeks in a timely manner, Peter will die.
Interestingly, the CIA is also interested in getting their hands on the pyramid and its secrets, but Robert is always one step ahead of them as he evades capture along with Peter’s sister Katherine. Forced to think fast while on the run, Robert comes up with some very interesting theories and clues about religion and symbology on his way to solving the mystery of the pyramid.
Multiple murders, chases, imprisonments and lots of history and art culture are all part of “The Lost Symbol,” as Dan Brown leads his adult readers on another rollercoaster ride of adventure and a trip through time. Fans of Langdon will be pleased to know Brown has just released his latest adventure “Inferno,” which can be found at a public library near you.
2003. Doubleday (Random House). 454 pp.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Dan Brown, once again, leads adult readers on a tour of historical sites and rollercoaster adventures with our favorite symbologist Robert Langdon. This time Robert is in Paris and is supposed to meet with Jacques Sauniere, curator of the Louvre. Unfortunately, Jacques is found dead, and Robert is the primary suspect.
Before he died, however, Sauniere managed to leave numerous clues for Sophie Neveu, his granddaughter which he hoped would lead her to the Holy Grail. As Grandmaster for a secret society known as The Priory of Sion, and knowing that three other top leaders who also knew the secret location had been murdered, Sauniere knew the Grail’s location would die with him unless Sophie could figure out his clues and save it from the murderer.
Relentlessly pursued by the French Police, as well as the murderer and his team who would do anything to get their hands on the Grail, Robert and Sophie wind through the historical bowels of Europe as readers are educated on the ancient Priory of Sion group, and the important secret they guarded for centuries which was rumored to be so important the Catholic Church would kill to keep it secret.
As Sophie and Robert uncover more layers of the Priory’s secrets, much is revealed about Leonardo da Vinci and other historical figures which will leave his readers speechless. This thrilling, action packed mystery is a must read and, when finished, will continue to be the subject of much conversation and debate.
PS – to find out more about the secret society known as The Priory of Sion, read this 60 Minutes report. It’s an eye opener.