The Lost Symbol \nby Dan Brown \nCorgi, HK$104 There are two sentences towards the end of The Lost Symbol that encapsulate the frankly weird mixture of excitement and comedy that is Dan Brown. Chapter 117 ends with melodrama of the most tremulous variety. Symbologist Robert Langdon has just witnessed the Masonic conspiracy that will UNDO THE ENTIRE WORLD: 'Tonight was a national-security crisis ... of unimaginable proportions.' As those '...' unfurl, one can almost hear a spooky organ playing ominous chords. What happens next? 'Dressed in a loincloth, Mal'akh padded back and forth in front of Peter Solomon's wheelchair.' Hang on: dressed in a what-cloth? It goes without saying that this makes some sense in context (though not much). Mal'akh is yet another of Brown's bonkers baddies, the radical wing of a Masonic group who hold a terrifying secret that might rend the world in twain. Even Brown's most fervent admirers might ask: again? There are puzzles, symbols, red herrings and quite flabbergasting plot holes. The fact that The Lost Symbol is too long, too silly, too wooden and too smug for words won't stop billions buying it.