Dan Bown's Deception Point

Dan Brown's latest novel is, it has to be said, a little bit of a disappointment. Many of the literary conventions and set-pieces used in either Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code make an appearance, leading to a rather unfair impression that one has "read it all before".

Brown once again takes the notion of the "flawed hero" a little too far, but whereas Robert Landgon suffered from claustrophobia, Rachel Sexton suffers from hydrophobia, and as sure as you knew Langdon was going to end up stuffed into confined spaces, you just know Sexton's going into the water.

Brown weaves a good tale, with suspense and shock along the way. It's an engrossing story about politics, backstabbing and a cloak-and-dagger military unit, but it falls down in some aspects.

Brown repeats a few urban myths as if they are fact, including the utterly debunked theory that the head of the eagle on the US Presidential Seal faces the other way during wartime, and gives the US special forces group known as "Delta Force" a rather rough write-up. Brown sometimes goes to ridiculous lengths to preserve the suspense, leading to some cases of characters acting in ways that are just a touch unbelievable because they're trying not to give the twist away a few chapters early.

Other than those, though, the book is fun, fast, and fascinating. Just, as always, bear in mind that it's fiction.

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