The 7th novel by Dan Brown and his 5th featuring Harvard Art History note Professor Robert Langdon being dragged into an adventure in Europe; published in 2017.
It begins with Langdon going to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, to attend a presentation by Edmund Kirsch, Langdon's ex-student and now friend. Kirsch is both loved for being the most advanced technological innovator on earth, and hated for being a smug and arrogant atheist. Kirsch is very mysterious about what the presentation exactly is about, but tells Langdon beforehand that he will reveal a recent discovery so earth-shattering that it will mean the end of religion, and that the only other people who know of it are a bishop, a rabbi and an imam he consulted three days prior.
But before Kirsch can make his big reveal, he is shot to death on-stage, which also is broadcast by a live stream on the internet. Langdon immediately teams up with Ambra Vidal, the Guggenheim museum director who's also Edmunds friend and Spain's crown prince's fiancee. They decide to not cooperate with the police but flee to Kirsch' house in Barcelona in an effort to find out Kirsch' password to his phone, which would give them access to what Kirsch had discovered. They are assisted by "Winston", an artificial intelligence created by Kirsch and to them taking on the form of (the voice of) an older British man.
Kirsch' killer is quickly identified to be ex-Navy Admiral Avila, who seems to be a religious extremist with connections to bishop Valdespino, who himself is closely tied to the Spanish Royal family AND is the one Kirsch discussed his discovery with days before his death. When the imam and the rabbi who met with Kirsch are quickly also found to be murdered, Valdespino seems to be involved, and worse, also Ambra's own fiance, the prince, seems involved.
As with other Langdon books, Langdon and his attractive female companion spend the rest of the book outrunning both the bad guys and the authorities, trusting no one, trying to solve the murder themselves while proving their own innocence, and, most importantly, solving mysteries and conspiracies.
This work provides examples of:
- Cool Car: (The late) Edmund's car, which Langdon and Ambra get to drive because of Rule of Cool, is a Tesla that was given to Edmund by no one other than Elon Musk himself. It is Elon Musk's most advanced model, sporting the highest technology, and its speed is mentioned to go faster than airplanes.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Prince Julian proposes to Ambra after just a few months of dating. She accepts because she feels obliged to do so because he does it on live national television, but immediately regrets it because she realizes they barely know each other.
- Informed Ability: Ambra Vidal is mentioned to be so stunningly beautiful that every heterosexual man becomes insecure and speechless upon laying eyes on her. But this never happens within the book; in fact the only romantic interaction we see between her and a man, is him (the prince) boldly and self-assuredly approaching her and taking her on dates. And Langdon notes she's beautiful but isn't attracted to her in a romantic/sexual way.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Spain's crown prince gets engaged to Ambra. Being the future king, having children is of utmost importance to him to ensure a heir and continue the bloodline. But Ambra tells him that she's infertile. The look she sees on his face in reaction is so disappointed that she knows he will end the relationship with her over this.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Part of the reason prince Julian proposes so Ambra so soon after meeting her, is that, as the royal heir, he will need to have children, and Ambra's age means there won't be much time left for thatnote .