Conspiracy theories! Don’t you just love them? Dan Brown does and his latest offering ‘The Lost Symbol’ is bursting at the seams with Masonic myths and intriguing historic curiosities for the hero of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’, Mr Robert Langdon, to waddle through like the dreary old duck he is.

Brown’s latest blockbuster not only once again revolves around the Mickey Mouse watch wearing anti-personality that is the anally obsessive and smug symbolist Langdon, but it is pretty much a rewrite of the Da Vinci Code, with yet another messy stew of pseudo-intellectual codswallop for the readers to munch upon.

The premise behind The Lost Symbol is one which suggests that the Freemasons secretly run America and always have. Brown, as is his want, takes this claim even further as the plot pretty much runs like an over-enthusiastic conspiracy buff towards a secret portal that the founding fathers concealed under Washington where the sensational secrets of the universe are hidden. 

As you can probably guess, it’s Langdon’s job to locate the exact whereabouts of this gateway into divinity through a miniature ‘masonic pyramid’ from antiquity that will reveal the way.

Langdon, who is painted by Brown as a hard-headed pragmatist who deals only in historical fact, doesn’t really believe in the gateway in a literal sense, but sees it more as a masonic symbol pointing the way to greater human understanding.

The trouble is, that a psychopathic occult fiend who goes by the name of Mal’akh believes the secret portal will grant him god-like status and unless Langdon uses his analytical skills to decipher the code presented by the pyramid to find what this tattooed and murderous would be messiah craves, he will brutally butcher one of Langdon’s best buddies, who just so happens to be a top boy in the masonic world.

Along the way, the CIA quite naturally get involved, and the reader is treated to all sorts of tosh by Brown, who often uses his characters to pontificate on the bargain basement philosophies he has picked up from websites you really don’t want to visit. 

As usual, the plot cleverly keeps you turning the pages by promising a jaw dropping revelation, which in reality leaves you sighing in boredom with a profound anti-climax.

But whatever, I doubt if Mr Brown gives a damn as he counts his millions and laughs maniacally at the wicked web he weaves.