I have listened to every book in this series and many more read by Mr. Guidall. I will try the next book from Mr. Berenson, though I wonder if John Wells is used up? I will definitely continue to listen to books read by Mr. Guidall, he is an exceptional talent and easy to listen to. Also, he makes very few mistakes in pronunciation or otherwise (I find these very distracting).
This story dragged along and lacked the importance of the previous books in this series. While before Wells was saving the world or at least major American cities from annihilation, now he is just trying to find a couple of punk kids sight-seeing in East Africa. I'm not speaking to Mr. Berenson's knowledge or reporting on the political or refugee situation in East Africa (I assumed that what was being portrayed was accurate) it just seemed unimportant.
Inferno is a bizarre, unbelievable story built around a faulty logical premise. The basic idea behind Inferno is that humanity has a tendency to reproduce beyond its technological ability to feed and otherwise care for itself, that Europe was seriously overpopulated in the 14th Century, and that the arrival of the Black Death (which eliminated about 1/3 of the population) created the conditions for the Renaissance to occur. Further, the Earth is today seriously overpopulated and will only become more so; thus, we require the elimination of a great many people to create the conditions necessary for humanity to survive at all, let alone progress further. The logical fallacy I used to title this review means, in English: "After it, therefore because of it." Dan Brown appears to believe that the Black Death caused the Renaissance by eliminating much of the European population and he has created several characters who believe humanity must be "culled" again.
The book makes no effort to prove its thesis besides pointing out the chronological sequence of these two events. You will be subjected to the unchallenged assertions by several main characters that doom awaits us all today unless huge numbers (billions) of people are eliminated from existence. Constant references to Malthus and comparisons of humanity to a various groups of mindless creatures abound (algae colonies, bacteria, and rabbits come to mind, as well as references to a "herd" which must be "culled"). The fertility of several female characters is also a recurring theme.
The basic story is that a brilliant geneticist has determined that the human population has become too large for the planet to bear and that the crushing weight of our numbers threatens to create a "hell on Earth," ala the Inferno of Dante, which will end in our extinction. When no one will listen to him, he sets off on a mad quest to create something to solve this problem on his own.
The book uses extensive flashbacks by all of the characters to fill in the back story for what is essentially the two days of action covered by the novel. The book opens with Professor Robert Langdon awakening in an unknown hospital with no recollection how he got there and apparently suffering from amnesia. He quickly learns that he is in Florence and on the run from shadowy people who are trying to kill him (a Harvard professor of art!) for unknown reasons, he quickly recruits an attractive female sidekick whom he knows nothing and sets about using his extensive knowledge of Renaissance-era Italian art, architecture, politics, and religion to elude his pursuers and attempt to solve a puzzle left behind by the madman geneticist to prevent the release of his new "plague."
Beyond the premises themselves, the most unbelievable parts of the Robert Langdon books always come during his timely recall of extremely arcane bits of trivia about some notation in a painting or quirk of an artist's personality that leads him to make some fantastic leap of deduction just in the nick of time. If you like that kind of thing, you will enjoy this book, as there are plenty of such moments. If the whole formula feels stale in this third book, then I would advise you to look elsewhere. At 17+ hours, this book requires a significant time investment and neither the story and ideas behind it, nor the execution thereof warrant that kind of commitment.
More action, present the various stories in the present tense or at least less passive way. How many different times did I have to listen to some actor say something like, "how could we have missed the signs."
The way the story was told was so disjointed that it wasn't really even a story or a usable "history" of the Z war, it felt like a collection of very lame short stories about what certain cultures/political groups might do if confronted with zombies. The treatment of every political group was at maximum cynicism.
No. No more Max Brooks
Deep disappointment. Especially in light of the reporting around the movie where the author was concerned about his vision being maintained. No one could make an interesting movie out of this.
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