'Origin' by Dan Brown (Bantam Press)

Dan Brown’s latest thriller, Origin, is the fifth book featuring Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. 

In Origin, Brown explores the two existential questions: “Where do we come from” and “Where are we heading to”? 

The story begins with the lead character, maverick scientist and researcher, Edmond Kisrch, a former student of Robert Langdon, announcing that he has an important announcement to make that he believes has the power “to not only shake, but shatter the very foundations of modern day religions”. 

The grand reveal is to happen inside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and just when Kirsch is about to make the major announcement, he is shot and killed. 

It is then up to Langdon and the museum director, Ambra Vidal, who – as in all of Brown’s novels – is the intelligent, beautiful, female sidekick who helps Langdon to complete the pieces of the puzzle and ensure Kirsch’s discovery is presented to the world. 

As the story unfolds, Brown’s historical research enlightens readers about the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum and the spires of architect Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia. 

With his vivid writing he breathes life into the ancient cities of Bilbao and Barcelona. He touches on everyone from poet William Blake, to Gaudi, to illustrate the finer nuances of modern day artificial intelligence. 

The first half of the book was a real page-turner for me, zipping from ancient monasteries to the sleek new world of supercomputers, however towards the end I lost focus and feel that it could easily have been 100 pages shorter.