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Monday, 10 April 2017

INFERNO

INFERNO - BOOK COVER
Inferno is a 2013 mystery thriller novel by American author Dan Brown and the fourth book in his Robert Langdon series, following Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol. The book was released on May 14, 2013 by Doubleday. It was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction and Combined Print & E-book fiction for the first eleven weeks of its release, and also remained on the list of E-book fiction for the first seventeen weeks of its release. A film adaptation was released in the United States on October 28, 2016.

PLOT

Harvard professor Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital with a head wound and no memory of the last few days. He last remembers walking on the Harvard campus, but he quickly realizes that he is now in Florence, Italy. Dr. Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors tending to him, reveals that he is suffering from amnesia. When Vayentha, a female assassin, shows up in the hospital, Sienna helps Langdon escape, and they flee to her apartment.
After Sienna recounts the details of his admission to the hospital, Robert finds a cylinder with a biohazard sign in his jacket and decides to call the U.S. consulate. He is told that they are searching for him and want his location. Per Sienna's guidance, Robert gives them a location across the street from Sienna's apartment to avoid getting Sienna more involved in his mysterious situation than she already is. Soon, Robert sees Vayentha pull up to the location Robert gave the consulate. At this point, Sienna and Robert believe the U.S. government wants to kill him.
Robert decides to open the container and finds a small medieval bone cylinder fitted with a hi-tech projector that displays a modified version of Botticelli's Map of Hell, which is based on Dante's Inferno.

Robert and Sienna head toward the Old City. However, they find that Florentine police and Carabinieri officers are searching for them. They run into a construction site near the Boboli Gardens where Robert examines the "Map of Hell" again, noticing several subtle changes to the layers. Robert discovers a phrase from the painting The Battle of Marciano by Vasari, located in the Palazzo Vecchio. Robert and Sienna manage to evade the soldiers and get into the Old City using the Vasari Corridor.

At the Palazzo, a custodian sees Robert snooping around and gets the director of the museum, Marta Alvarez. Marta recognizes Robert, having met him and Ignazio Busoni, the director of Il Duomo, the previous night. She leads Robert and Sienna up a set of stairs by The Battle of Marciano, and Robert realizes the top of the stairs is on the same level as the words "cerca trova" in the The Battle of Marciano painting. Marta tells Robert that she showed them Dante's death mask the previous night, which sits in a room down the hall from the Battle of Marciano painting. Robert realizes he is retracing his own steps from the previous night. Finding the mask gone, security footage shows Robert himself and Ignazio stealing the mask. Fleeing the guards, they listen to a message Ignazio left tells Robert where the mask is hidden, referring to "Paradise 25."

Robert and Sienna escape the guards, but the soldiers arrive. They cross the attic over the Apotheosis of Cosimo I, where Sienna pushes Vayentha to her death. Robert 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. Sienna explains that Zobrist was a geneticist who advocated the halting of humanity's growth, due to its out of control population and that he was rumored to be working on a means to do so using an engineered disease. A man named Jonathan Ferris, with a large bruise on his chest which he hides from the two, and a severe rash on his face, claiming to be from the World Health Organization (WHO), comes and helps them escape the soldiers. They follow the riddle to Venice, where Ferris suddenly falls unconscious, with Sienna claiming he is suffering from massive internal bleeding, causing Langdon to suspect Ferris has been infected with Zobrist's plague. Robert is captured by a group of black-clad soldiers while Sienna escapes.

Robert is taken to Elizabeth Sinskey, the director-general of the WHO, and is given an explanation of what is going on: Zobrist, who committed suicide the week before, was a brilliant geneticist and Dante fanatic who had supposedly developed a new biological plague that will kill off a large portion of the world's population in order to quickly solve the problem of the world's impending overpopulation, citing the Doomsday Argument. Elizabeth raided Zobrist's safe deposit box, found the cylinder and flew Robert to Florence to follow the clues. However, Robert stopped communicating with Elizabeth after meeting with Marta and Ignazio and the WHO feared he betrayed them and was working with Zobrist to unleash the plague. The soldiers were the WHO's emergency response team and never meant to kill Robert.

Zobrist had paid a shadowy consulting group called The Consortium to protect the cylinder until a certain date. He also left a disturbing video filled with Dante imagery, which also showed a picture of the plague itself, kept in a hidden underwater location, within a slowly dissolving bag. The video claims that the world will be changed the following morning. When Elizabeth took it away, they abducted Robert and staged every event up to this point so that Robert would be motivated to solve it. The leader of The Consortium, having become aware of the bioterrorism plot, agrees to cooperate with the WHO. Ferris's rash was due to an allergic reaction to the spirit gum he used as part of the disguise as the doctor Vayentha "murdered." His bruises were because the squib used to simulate him being shot in the chest misfired and broke his ribs. He collapsed in Venice because he had been ordered to detain Sienna, as the Provost (Consortium head) had allied with Sinskey, with Sienna realizing and punching him in his damaged ribs.

Sienna goes rogue and The Consortium realizes she was a secret supporter and lover of Zobrist. She learned where the plague was being kept after Robert solved the riddle and acquires a private jet to get to it before everyone else. Robert, the WHO and The Consortium team up to stop her. After watching Zobrist's video, they conclude that the bag containing the plague will be fully dissolved by the date the video specifies and that Zobrist's clues point to its location: the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where Enrico Dandolo is buried. Robert and the others find the plague is in the Cistern but discover that Sienna is already there. The bag that held the plague had already been broken, presumably spreading through the outer world via visiting tourists. Sienna runs out of the Cistern yelling something in Turkish, which causes panic among the tourists who stampede out into the city while Langdon gives chase.

It is discovered Sienna didn't puncture the bag; it was water-soluble and had dissolved one week earlier in the cistern waters, meaning that the whole world has already been infected. The date specified in Zobrist's video was the mathematical calculation of when the entire world would be infected. It is also discovered that Sienna was trying to stop the virus herself, but didn't trust the WHO because samples of the virus would certainly find their way into the hands of governments performing weapons research. The leader of The Consortium tries to escape WHO custody with help from disguised underlings, but is caught later by Turkish police. Sienna receives amnesty in exchange for working with the WHO to address the crisis, since she is a medical doctor and has extensive knowledge of Zobrist's research and work.

The plague that Zobrist created is revealed to be a vector virus that randomly activates to employ DNA modification to cause sterility in one third of humans, thereby reducing population growth to a more stable level. Sienna and Elizabeth decide not to try to reverse Zobrist's actions, Sienna pointing out that doing so would be difficult and hazardous even for someone like Zobrist and Elizabeth acknowledging that Zobrist had a point about the dangers of overpopulation.


Download the book: Inferno.pdf



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