by Dan Brown
"A DIVERTING THRILLER…Brown stocks his latest book with all the familiar elements: puzzles, a beautiful female companion, and hints of secret conspiratorial agendas"
"FAST, CLEVER, WELL-INFORMED…DAN BROWN IS THE MASTER OF THE INTELLECTUAL CLIFFHANGER."
– The Wall Street Journal
The book begins when Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor, wakes up in a hospital with a head wound, no memory of the last few days and far away from home, in Florence. Sienna Brooks, his doctor, tells him that he has a concussion from being shot.
When a woman from the Consortium organization arrives at the hospital to kill Langdon, Sienna helps him escape and takes him to her apartment. There they discover in Langdon's jacket a capsule and inside was a cylinder that turned into the mini-projector. It projected a picture of Botticelli's "Hell Map", which shows a part of the "Divine Comedy" by Dante.
Langdon notices that the picture has changed, and there appears an inscription on it: “Truth can only be seen through the eyes of death”. Suddenly, soldiers raid the building and Sienna and Langdon narrowly escape.
Langdon decided to go to the Old Town of Florence, where Dante was born and raised. Langdon and Sienna saw that the gates of the Old Town are guarded by police looking for them. The agent who had to kill Langdon, Vayentha, get's informed that the Consortium dismissed her from work. Terrified, she decides to rehabilitate and complete the task and follows Langdon. In the end, she ends up dead.
Langdon and Sienna go to the Boboli Gardens, where he realizes what is encrypted on the projection of the picture. Ten letters have been added to the ten layers of the Malebolge, and the layers have been rearranged. The clues point to a museum in Old Town.
At the museum, the director recognized Langdon, saying that he and Ignazi Busoni, an art critic, had already been there a night before and asked to see Dante's death mask. Now, when they try to see the mask again, it's gone. They look at security footage and see Langdon himself and Ignazio stealing the mask. Also, they found out that Ignazi, had a heart attack and his last words were "Paradise 25."
Langdon connects the phrase "Paradise 25" to the Florence Baptistry, where he and Sienna find the Dante mask along with a riddle from its current owner, a billionaire geneticist named Bertrand Zobrist.
Jonathan Ferris, claiming to be from the World Health Organization, comes and helps them escape from the soldiers and they follow the riddle to Venice, where Jonathan suddenly falls unconscious. Here Langdon learns that is looking for the source of the plague. He gets captured by the soldiers and Sienna escapes.
Langdon is taken to Elizabeth Sinskey, the director-general of the WHO, where she tells him that Zobrist, who committed suicide the week before, was a mad scientist and Dante fanatic, who created a new strain of the Black Death to cleanse the world of overpopulation. When WHO searched Zobrist's safe deposit box, they found the cylinder and called Langdon to Florence to follow the clues. When, Langdon stopped calling in after meeting with Marta and Ignazio, WHO feared he betrayed them and was working with Zobrist to unleash the plague. The soldiers were the WHO's SWAT team and never meant to kill Langdon.
The Consortium was a group paid by Zobrist to protect the cylinder until a specific date. When WHO took it, they were forced to retrieve and protect what it pointed towards, so they kidnapped Langdon. But he was still figuring out the mystery so they erased his memory and created a face head wound. Sienna, Vayentha, and Jonathan are all actors working for The Consortium. When the leader of The Consortium, becomes aware of the bioterrorism plot, he agrees to cooperate with the WHO.
Langdon finds out that Sienna was Zobrist’s lover and believed that she wanted to continue his mission. He discovers that the virus is in a cistern in Istanbul. Before his death, Zobrist had sponsored a symphony orchestra to play the Dante Symphony, a musical rendition of Dante’s Inferno, at that cistern for one week, to draw the maximum number of tourists.
Langdon, the WHO, and The Consortium team up to stop her by going to the riddle's actual location: Istanbul, where Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, is buried. When they arrive, they found out that the virus is in the cistern, and it was already broken, infecting all the tourists inside. Langdon discovers that Sienna is also there and followers her. When Sienna finally stopped running from Langdon, she told him the bag had already burst when she arrived. She said she know what type of virus Zobrist had made and wanted to stop it from being released. Seeing that she was sincere, Langdon told Sienna to work with Sinskey and the WHO to help them understand and deal with the virus Zobrist created.
The virus modified the DNA causing infertility in 1 out of 3 humans, and it didn't have a cure.
Note: Some pieces of information are left out of the book.
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