Review: Secrets of Inferno by Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer


Title: Secrets of Inferno
Author: Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 298
Publisher: The Story Plant
Reviewer: Debby

Delving further into the Inferno!

***Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy***

SECRETS OF INFERNO is a reader’s guide to the journey Dan Brown took us all on in INFERNO. The book gives readers the “back story” on particular plot points, Dante references, symbols, historical events, philosophy, art, music, and architectural works that Brown wrapped into his story. It is also an intellectually enriching, intriguing, fresh and fun look at Dante, THE DIVINE COMEDY, the world of ideas circulating in Florence on the cusp of the Renaissance, and the relevance of those ideas to our lives and our world today.

Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer are the world’s leading experts on Dan Brown’s fiction. Beginning with their path-breaking SECRETS OF THE CODE, which spent six months on theNew York Times bestseller list in 2004, and continuing through four other guidebooks to Dan Brown’s fiction (as well as three film documentaries and two special editions of US News), Burstein and de Keijzer have sold more than three million copies of Dan Brown-related commentaries in more than thirty languages. In the wake of each Dan Brown title over the last decade, the media (from the History Channel to CNN to MSNBC to USA Today to the Washington Post) have turned to Burstein and de Keijzer for interpretations of Dan Brown’s books, decoding of the hidden symbols and ciphers, explanations of the controversies, and thoughtful separation of fact from fiction in these supremely popular stories that somehow always manage to fascinate our culture well beyond the bounds of their pop fiction genre.

The ultimate guide for any Dan Brown fan, SECRETS OF INFERNO is entertaining, thought-provoking, and will make the experience of reading INFERNO richer than you ever imagined.

I can definitely vouch for the fact that reading Secrets of Inferno further enriches ones reading of Dan Brown’s pop culture page turner, Inferno. If you have read my review of Inferno by Dan Brown, you already know I was a huge fan of the book and for that reason I was totally engrossed with the information presented by Burstein, De Keijzer and their collaborators.

This format, a collection of opinion essays by various experts, is a great way to explore the layers of themes, ideas and locations that appear in Inferno. Where Brown’s novel speeds through locations and drops huge idea bombs on the reader, Secrets gives fans, and critics for that matter, of Inferno the opportunity to have a deeper think on the issues. It is educational to read accounts on transhumanism from the experts, to get a more in depth understanding of the movement and its origins. It is also a bit of a relief to be able to put to rest some of the overpopulation anxiety one can experience after reading Inferno. Luckily the fictionalized account Brown presents is far from the reality!

I found that reading Secrets gave me a greater appreciation of the effort Brown puts into his novels. Sure some of what he writes is easy to criticize, as some of the contributors in this compilation demonstrate, but for a man who is walking the fine line between fact and fiction the rules can become quite blurred. Reading the varying opinions presented helped me to further consider how I felt about that line myself. I think it’s easy for a reader to overlook some of the minor inconsistencies within Brown’s supposed “fact” because we are just along for the ride. I enjoyed getting lost in the narrative and didn’t focus much on whether the facts Brown presented were accurate.

Reading Secrets and having all of the facts only adds to the list of things I can take away from both books. I love both texts purely for the fact that they stimulate important conversations that we need to be having as a society. The purpose of pop culture is to provide a snap shot of society at the time the work is written. Brown presents issues that are relevant and Secrets provides the explanation as well as a spring board for further, more educated, conversation.

On top of all of this, the reader is learning about Dante, a writer who is, as Burstein puts it, “one of the most towering and inventive forces in the history of the written word” pg. 27. Dante was also a pop culture writer in his time, incorporating his opinions on political, social and religious personalities and attitudes of the day. So while some may gasp at comparing Dan Brown to Dante, both authors were trying to bring important social issues to the foreground and, as Secrets of the Inferno proves, a comparison of the two makes for some very interesting debate!

I wholeheartedly recommend entering into the conversation readers! If you have read Inferno, Secrets of Inferno is a must!

lips grey 4