When Robert Langford awakes in a hospital bed, in pain, he has no idea how he got there or what has happened to him to require his hospitalization. The only thing he realizes, because of the view from his window, is that he is in Florence, Italy. When the doctor attending him, Siena Brooks, tells him he had a minor injury from a bullet which grazed his head, and it has left him with a concussion, he is completely surprised and at a loss as to why anyone would shoot at him. However, shortly after this conversation, someone enters the hospital who seems intent on killing him, and he witnesses the murder of another doctor who had attended him. Dr. Brooks, who is a brilliant scientist, as well, helps him escape, and the conspiracy unwinds.
Apparently, there is a world famous scientist, who is concerned about out of control population growth which he believes, if unchecked, will lead to the extinction of the human race. He has hidden a vial of a plague virus, which is set to infect the entire world, on a particular date. No one knows what kind of virus it is or where it has been hidden. Apparently, scientists, the WHO organization, and world leaders are also aware of the population explosion threat, but they have been powerless to come up with a rational solution to the problem.
Loosely based on Dante’s Inferno, the novel will use some of his basic premises as clues as Langdon and Brooks search for Dante’s mask and the message hidden within it. For more than 100 chapters, they flee pursuers, follow these clues, and risk their lives to save the world from the plague due to be released, in only a matter of days.
Is the book too long? Yes, way too long, but is it exciting? Yes, it is a page turner and it will invite you in and hold you fast until you turn the last page. A master of misdirection, Brown leads the reader on a merry chase and the ending will remain elusive.
So, is this story believable? No, not really. While the readers of the audio are absolutely fabulous, the tale feels like it is in the realm of fantasy, rather than the realm of the possible, but if you suspend disbelief, the mystery will envelop you, as the conspiracy evolves, and you will want to solve the riddle of where the plague is hidden, right along with them.
The timeline, too, seems implausible. The story, which supposedly takes place in only a few days, less than a week, seems very unrealistic as it simply does not seem possible for all of the action to have occurred in less than several weeks, let alone less than one. Siena and Langford seem to cover far too much ground in too short a time, especially since Langford has amnesia and is in some pain. There is no way to know when one day ends and another begins. They don't stop to eat or sleep so a real timeline is absent in the several days of the chase.
However, this is a non-stop adventure, as Robert and Siena Brooks race around Italy in search of the hidden weapon. The story twists and turns through unbelievable situations. Betrayed by those he trusts who are pretending to help him, Langdon believes his life is increasingly threatened. The conspiracy will be hard to guess, but you will be compelled to try to solve this very exciting mystery!